U of M opened up nice new feature in Google Calendar

The University of Minnesota controls which of the zillions of features in the Google Apps suite are made available to the U of M community. They started out quite conservatively, and have been gradually adding features over time. (So definitely let folks know if there are features you’d like to see turned on for us!)

Some of these changes are “big”, like the fact that we now can use Google Reader (a very nice RSS reader – I definitely recommend it). Others are more subtle. One of these hard-to-spot changes that happened in the last few weeks is the addition of some new visibility options in Google Calendar. When they first set things up, you could share a calendar, but you couldn’t share any of the details outside of UMM. So local folks could see the details (if you wanted them to), but everyone else (even people on the TC campus) saw everything marked as “Busy”. Recently they quietly changed things so you can open up your calendars to be fully visible if you are so inclined.

Whee! I’ve been waiting for this for a while, and it’s nice that it’s finally happened. Now I can embed my calendar in places like my university web page and folks can see more than lots of little blue blocks marked “busy”. I’ll have to be a little more careful to mark certain events as private, but it’s definitely worth it.

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What should a new UMM Director of Information Technology person do?

This is essentially a re-posting from the UMM CSci blog.

UMM has recently opened a position for a new Director of Information Technology. The full job description is attached, and the description and application page are on-line.

Some highlights from the “Purpose of the Position” section:

General priorities for the position include:

  • promoting a 21st century learning and teaching environment for an undergraduate focused residential campus;
  • supporting through technology and information resources the research endeavors of a highly qualified and active faculty; and
  • advancing the use of technology to engage a growing base of prospective students, donors, and alumni.

Specifically, the Director of Information Technology will:

  • Provide IT leadership to the Morris campus and in the broader University community.
  • Serve as a key member of the Morris campus and University of Minnesota technology leadership team, which formulates and implements local and institutional goals and initiatives.
  • Partner with the academic and administrative leadership across the Morris campus and university-wide to participate in the creation and implementation of strategic goals and IT initiatives.

I’m a member of the search committee, and I want to share this information here for two reasons.

First, if anyone reading this is interested, please consider applying!

Second, the search committee is gathering feedback from various stakeholders about what we want this person to be and do. Before we begin to look at applications, the committee would like to try to clarify as best we can what the campus wants and needs from someone in this position.

So, what do you think are the priorities for UMM’s Director of Information Technology? What do they need to do to support the teaching, research, and service missions of campus? Looking ahead 5 years, what issues do you feel that this person will need to address/get ahead of? On of my concerns in recent years has been that the campus has been far too reactive to technological change, and instead of being ahead of the ball we’re constantly scrambling to respond to events and put out fires. What skills and background does this person need to help us turn that around?

I’d be happy to discuss this at UMM CSci tea tomorrow afternoon (4-6ish in the lab), or hear from anyone by whatever other means work for you. If you have ideas or thoughts, however, please share promptly; we want to wrap up this fact finding process in the next two weeks (by the morning of Tuesday, 20 Apr).

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