The recently completed Division of Information Technology Strategic Plan contains the following goals and initiatives related to research:

GOAL 1.3: Be proactive in supporting the research endeavors of the WCU community.

RATIONALE: The Division of IT wishes to partner with faculty, staff and students in their research endeavors. It is important for the Division of IT to understand the research needs of faculty, staff and students to know how best to be of assistance. It is also important for IT to understand the legal and policy issues surrounding the storage of research data.

INITIATIVE 1.3.1: Evaluate the research computing needs of faculty, staff and students at WCU including but not limited to data storage, applications, connectivity to national and global research centers, and support.

INITIATIVE 1.3.2: Provide processes, technologies, and mechanisms for research collaboration within the university and with colleagues in the UNC system and around the world.

Toward these ends, the Division recently asked Deans and department heads to identify faculty with research needs in the areas of storage, speed, and large data sets. These faculty met with IT leadership on April 22 and 23 to discuss their needs in those areas:

  • A faster way to run programs (One faculty member is using a program on her home machine because it is faster. She saves the results on an external hard drive.)
  • Something like a Citrix client connection that is secure and accessible from many places.
  • A secure platform to share documents and large data sets. Mercury has too many limits.
  • Digital media storage
  • Parallel processing for Chemistry- the need for students to be able to login and use parallel processing solutions.
  • Chemistry computer management is an issue.
  • Network capacity and speed.
  • Need to be able to speak directly to ESRI- GIS faculty
  • There is no systemwide remote sensing software. GIS faculty would like to weigh in on extensions purchased when licensing decisions are made.
  • Super computer time
  • Linux based server to download and run analysis for Chemistry.
  • Windows is not scientific friendly
  • MatLab for Chemistry. Faculty are purchasing it themselves.
  • Software support for science needs.
  • Ability to mirror folders of research data
  • Backup of research data.
  • Email space too small
  • Equipment maintenance issues.
  • Using university computers on the WCU Domain- Chemistry software will not install unless the PC is on the WCU domain. Inability to access or connect to the instrumentation. One can view the data but cannot collect data without being an administrator on the PC. Faculty do not want students to be the administrators. Software will simply not run on a WCU image. The vendor had to send a clean image for it to work.
  • Chemistry needs Linux Red Hat support.
  • Storage of digital projects with personalized access to small groups or individuals
  • Cherokee language program wants long term archiving through Hunter Library
  • PC back up. Some faculty are paying for Carbonite.
  • IT support over the weekend.
  • Ability to view attachments on a smart phone
  • More bandwidth for large digital video and audio files
  • Refresh for Coulter 374 music lab
  • Classroom and recital hall refreshes, need for Smartboards in music
  • Old apple server in the 374 that needs to be replaced. Similar server issues with the Center for Applied Technology Studio refresh,
  • An alternative to USB thumb licensing devices that have been lost or stolen
  • Computers with SPSS access needed in Health and Human Sciences Building (HHSB). Faculty members have to schedule e-classrooms on main campus which can conflict given HHSB staggered class time schedule. Students and faculty must drive back and forth in between making it difficult to make it to the next class for faculty and students.
  • Research consulting support (with SPSS, statistics) needed for undergraduate students, especially given the tremendous amount that our university does.
  • Increase email mailbox size limit so that huge SPSS files can be exchanged smoothly (or maybe there is a better way that IT knows of that can make it easier to Exchange.)

We invite faculty who have other IT research needs not listed here to send those to Anna McFadden. The list is being shared with IT Directors to review as they develop their 2013-2014 goals.