Information Technology Services at The University of Iowa

Archive for the ‘General news’ Category

A platinum record: Information Technology Facility is UI’s first building with top LEED certification

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

The front of the ITF building.The new University of Iowa Information Technology Facility (ITF) has become the first building on campus to earn LEED Platinum certification—the ultimate standard for green design.

The LEED Platinum-certified Information Technology Facility will house and protect computing and network equipment that is vital to the operations of the university and its hospitals and clinics.

Completed in December 2011 after three years of construction and seven years of planning, the 43,000-square-foot, $30 million facility will house and protect computing and network equipment that is vital to the operations of the university and its hospitals and clinics.The facility provides a secure and reliable home for the university’s IT systems. Its “hardened” outer shell is built to withstand severe weather, and backup electrical and cooling systems are designed to keep essential technology up and running if the primary utility systems supporting them were to fail. Two 7,200-square-foot data halls meet the ventilation and air conditioning requirements for servers and provide space for high-performance research computing.

“Data centers are among the most energy-intensive facilities you’ll find on a campus. To build ours to LEED Platinum standards speaks volumes about the UI’s commitment to energy conservation and sustainability,” says UI President Sally Mason. “Our goals for a sustainable university are stated in our strategic plan and 2020 Vision sustainability targets, and this major accomplishment significantly helps to bring those aspirations to reality.”

Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) system measures sustainability in site selection, water efficiency, energy sources and consumption, materials and resources, air quality, and other environmental considerations. The ITF is believed to be the first educational institution data center certified as LEED Platinum. In 2011, only 20 higher education buildings in the country achieved LEED Platinum status, according to a report in Scientific American.

Full story in Iowa Now:

Mac attack Flashback illustrates that Macs are not impervious to viruses

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Get out the iKleenexes; contrary to popular belief, Macs are not virus-free. Photo illustration by Tim Schoon.


As Macs become more popular with computer users, they also attract more attention from cyber-criminals. Don’t buy into the myth that Macs can’t get viruses; do buy into security measures offered by Information Technology Services.

Debunking the Myth: Macs Don’t Get Viruses

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

An iMac with an image of a virus onscreen.

For the second time in the past year, the Mac operating system has been the target of widespread malware attack.  (See Debunking the Myth Part 1 from May 2011.)  A recent article from the Sophos Security Blog asks and answers the question “Are Macs safer than PCs?“, in light of the recent “Flashback” malware outbreak.

Read more in the Help Desk pages…

ITS staffer provides clues in ‘herdbook mystery’

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Cow with with a Hawkeye tag in its ear.Most UI faculty and staff members have heard of “the Herdbook” (AKA the university directory), but no one seems to know how it came to be known as the Herdbook.

As it turns out, ITS staff member Jason Wolcott has done some research on the topic and was able to provide a few clues in this unsolved university mystery. Read the full story in fyi.

Students: Top prize in security awareness contest is $1,500

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Students have a chance to win cash, gain experience and earn recognition by creating a poster or a short video that focuses attention on information security issues and how best to handle them.

Posters and videos must explain information security problems and specific actions students can take to safeguard their computers, mobile devices or personal information. Two categories of videos are being sought: videos of two minutes or less for use in training or instruction, and 30-second public service announcements (PSAs). Posters should be submitted separately.

Cash prizes of $1,500, $1,000 and $500 will be awarded in each of the video categories and in the poster category. Honorable mention prizes also will be awarded.

The EDUCAUSE/Internet2 Higher Education Information Security Council (HEISC) is conducting its fourth contest in search of security awareness media developed by college students, for college students. The contest is sponsored by CyberWatch, the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and Chapman University.

The posters and videos will be featured on the EDUCAUSE website, as well as the contest’s YouTube channel and Facebook page, and may be used in campus security awareness campaigns.

The deadline for all submissions is March 11, 2011.

For more information, including official rules, visit the contest website.

You can view previous winning videos on the contest’s YouTube site.

Still have questions? Contact the HEISC staff at 202-872-4200, or via e-mail at

Iowa City seeks citizen input as it vies for high-profile Google experiment

Friday, March 19th, 2010

Google fiber broadband logo

Municipalities across the country are vying to become the site of an experiment by Google to test ultra high-speed broadband networks.

The Google Fiber for Communities experiment is seeking a city with a population of up to 500,000 to test what the project’s website describes as “Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today, over 1 gigabit per second.”

Iowa City (along with the communities of North Liberty, University Heights and Coralville) wants to be the test site and is planning to make a Request for Information (RFI) submission to Google in time to meet the March 26 deadline.

You can help. Go to the Iowa City Area Broadband Coalition (ICABC) website and complete an online form in support of ICABC’s application.

Google says it will announce where the experiment will take place later this year.

Protect yourself against phishing scams

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

phishingRecently, the University of Iowa e‑mail system has been inundated with fraud attempts, which are known as “phishing” scams, against members of the UI Community.

These fraudulent attempts use e‑mails designed to lure users into giving access to their Hawkmail accounts, as well as other personal information.

“Be suspicious of any unsolicited e-mail you receive, unless it’s from someone you know, or it’s an official ‘’ message,” says Jane Drews, University IT Security Officer. “Just clicking on the link – even if you don’t enter any personal information – can infect your computer.”

Your HawkID is used to access Hawkmail and other University systems and resources that can potentially impact research and service for thousands of our users. It is very important that you exercise caution when using your e-mail account to prevent malicious users from using your mailbox as a launching pad for further attacks.

Drews wants all members of the University Community to be aware of the following:

  • There is NEVER a legitimate need for anyone to ask for your password in an e-mail
  • Websites that legitimately ask for your HawkID will always end in “”

Compromised accounts lead to targeted scams involving your University credentials. With your help and vigilance we can continue to maintain a higher level of service for all University users.

For more information regarding phishing scams and how to identify them, please contact the ITS Help Desk at or call 384-4357 (4-HELP). For general information, visit the ITS Help Desk website at

Proposals being taken for Innovations in Teaching with Technology Awards

Monday, September 29th, 2008

The Academic Technologies Advisory Council is calling for proposals for the Innovations in Teaching with Technology Awards.

The goal of the Innovations in Teaching with Technology Awards program is to raise the level of instructional computing at The University of Iowa by supporting significant and innovative instructional computing projects that have the potential to improve the education provided to students throughout the University. These projects should be considered as “proof-of-concept” projects that are new to The University of Iowa and should be similar in caliber to those that have received the President’s Instructional Technology Innovation Award.

Priorities: In the spirit of innovation, all new ideas are welcome, but the focus must be on instruction. Priority will be given to projects that, if proven successful, can be replicated throughout the University. Cross-disciplinary projects are encouraged, but not required.

Audience: Projects that primarily improve the instruction of undergraduates are encouraged. However, this program is not limited solely to undergraduate education.

Awards: A total of $100,000 is available for awards. The number of awards will be determined by the quality of the applications. A single award or multiple awards may be made. Applications can be made to support the costs of hardware, software and personnel. Funding is not available to support faculty salaries.

Process: During the preparation of proposals, applicants are encouraged to contact Maggie Jesse (335-6335, for assistance in determining whether your project is suitable for the funding program.

The steps for the 2008 Innovations in Teaching with Technology Awards are as follows:

  • Attend the Innovations Award Pre-Application Workshop (Friday, Oct. 3, 10 a.m., UCC 2520D). Register for the workshop.
  • Oct. 20, 2008: Applications due in the Office of the Provost
  • Nov. 10-11, 2008: Interview selected applicants
  • Early December 2008: Award winners notified and funds made available

For more information on the Innovations in Teaching with Technology Awards program and to register for the workshop, point your browser to

Nominations being accepted for President’s Instructional Technology Innovation Award

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

Nominations are now being accepted for the President’s Instructional Technology Innovation Award. This award recognizes creative uses of technology in teaching at the University of Iowa. The award is presented at a ceremony in the fall semester and includes a $5,000 cash prize.

Nominees for this award may be any University of Iowa faculty or staff member who has used technology in innovative ways to prepare or present materials in an instructional setting. Teams may also be nominated (students may be part of teams led by faculty or staff). The technology should be “in place and operational” and have been used in a University instructional setting. Nominations may be made by any University of Iowa faculty member, staff member, or student, and self-nominations are encouraged.

Nominations are due Friday, May 2, 2008, at 5 p.m.

More information about the President’s Instructional Technology Innovation Award and the nomination process – including an online submission form – is available at

Welcome back students … need some help?

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

helpdesk_story.jpgThe spring 2008 semester is under way, and the Information Technology Services Help Desk is available to answer your technology questions.

Did you get a new computer over the holidays? Are you having trouble with your current computer? We’re ready to help.

ITS Help Desk staff can assist you with keeping your computer secure and troubleshooting problems you may be having with your software programs. We also can install Microsoft Office on your computer or upgrade your operating system for free under the University’s Microsoft Campus Agreement.

The Help Desk offers two locations for walk-in service. Visit us on the second floor of the University Capitol Centre (Old Capitol Town Center), at the top of the staircase near Taco Bell and Quizno’s. Or stop in on the second floor of the Main Library, within the ITC.

You also can call the Help Desk at 319-384-HELP (4357) until 10 p.m. most evenings, e-mail us at, or chat with us using Help Desk Live. Visit our website for support information, to download free software, or for information about purchasing a new computer.

The ITS Help Desk has answers to your tech questions – come see us today!