Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Computer Security

For the past several weeks, the Faculty Senate and Information Services have been working on an issue related to computer security. As many of you are aware, maintaining a secure, but flexible computing environment for students, faculty and staff is challenging. Security threats flow through email, software applications, and the web. There are no silver bullets that will protect university systems, and as a campus we must maintain multiple layers of security. It is incumbent upon all of us to work together and keep university information secure.

One of the ways that university information is kept secure is through the timely application of software updates and security patches. Unfortunately, these are taking long periods of time to deploy because computers are left logged in and running for multiple days (sometimes weeks), which prevents software updates/patches from being installed.

Currently, when software updates/patches are deployed timing of installation typically is:

· In 30 days – 54% of campus computers are updated
· In 60 days – 60% of campus computers are updated
· In 90 days – 65% of campus computers are updated

In order to reduce impact to end users yet streamline the installation of software updates and keep systems secure, a campus-wide PC maintenance window for software deployments is being proposed. This will allow updates to be deployed overnight when most computers are not in use. It is recognized that not all computers – especially research lab computers – can have updates/patches installed this way but the vast majority of computers on the campus can.

Faculty Senate and Information Services are asking faculty and staff for their feedback on the proposed options, time and implementation timeline as outlined below. Please view the proposal and let us know your thoughts. To provide feedback on this proposal, please email Carole McArthur (McArthurC@umkc.edu) or myself, Mary Lou Hines Fritts (HinesML@umkc.edu), by Monday, October 6th, 2008.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Welcome and Hello

I am very pleased to announce the beginning of a new vehicle to enhance our internal university communication: the Provost’s Blog: Weekly Updates. The purpose of the blog is to inform everyone about what is happening as well as to explain any current issues or events in or related to Academic Affairs about which people may have questions. Our goal is to give you a better idea about what is going on.

Our hope is that you will use this tool to stay informed, and in return, you will give us feedback. You can make comments on the posts and you can also place suggestions for the Academic Affairs Office in the Suggestion Box below. You may leave your email address for us to respond or we can place your comments anonymously. In either case we look forward to hearing from you!

To begin our online conversation, I would like to point out that during the first week of September, UMKC hosted the University of Missouri Curators meeting on our campus. Our Interim Chancellor, Leo Morton, presented some information about our current enrollment figures (see the Chancellor’s presentation here), our campus master plan, and we also gave the Curators a tour of both of our campuses and some of our facilities.

The UMKC Faculty Senate also hosted President Forsee and the Curators at a breakfast during the Curators meeting and several of our faculty made presentations showing us in a very favorable light. Burton Dunbar, Chair of Art and Art History, spoke about partnerships we have with various organizations in Kansas City; we saw a film clip of a collaboration between Conservatory Music and Dance faculty, Jane Solose and Paula Weber, and Conservatory Dance students; and Department of Geosciences faculty members, Jimmy O. Adegoke and Caroline Davies, made a presentation about their research (see it here).

At Convocation on Monday September 15, Leo Morton and I extended a welcome to all faculty, staff and students to the new academic year, and three of our Theatre students, Samra Teferra, Mark Thomas, and Grant Prewitt performed monologues (see the video and the slide show).

Please join Leo Morton and me for a UMKC Town Hall Meeting. We want to listen to your concerns and answer your questions. We will be on the Hospital Hill Campus this Thursday, September, 25th, from 10 to 11 a.m. in the School of Medicine, Theatre A. Then this Friday, September 26th, from 10 to 11 a.m. we will be on the Volker Campus at the University Center, Pierson Auditorium.

Again, I look forward to hearing your comments and suggestions and I hope that you will use the Weekly Updates blog to keep in touch with what we’re doing in the Academic Affairs Office.