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Meeting Minutes

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Meeting Minutes for January 13, 2003

A meeting of the University Information Technology Advisory Committee was called to order at 3:10 p.m. on January 13, 2003, in the 4th floor conference room of Cabell Library. Dr. Robert Mattauch, co-chair, presided. Members present were Ms. Fran Smith, Dr. James Shultz, Dr. Phyllis Self, Mr. John Ulmschneider, and Mr. Mark Willis. Dr. Timothy Broderick, Dr. Lynn Nelson, Dr. David Sarrett, Ms. Veronica Shuford and Mr. Carl Gattuso were absent.


Minutes were approved as prepared.


This item will be discussed at the next UITAC meeting.


Mr. Ulmschneider distributed a handout entitled VCU Libraries – Goals & Objectives 2002-2003 listing six major IT initiatives for the Libraries. He discussed each initiative briefly and stated that when the enhancements are implemented, users will see a significant increase in access to library resources via the web.

Mr. Ulmschneider also said that the library will be tripling the amount of books in electronic format and stated that some journals would no longer be available in print form but ONLY in electronic format.

Overall, the Library is focusing on increasing the availability of its resources in digital form.


Dr. Mattauch asked if we should enlarge the committee or leave it in its current structure. Mr. Willis said that Mr. Timmreck believes a smaller group would work better, although he did like the suggestion of adding two ex-officio members.

Discussion followed on the pros and cons of enlarging the committee, and the conclusion was reached that the solution was NOT more members, but more participation.

Since committee meetings are “open,” it was suggested that additional individuals could be invited based on what is on the agenda. In the future, the co-chairs of UITAC will be notified in advance if there is an item on the agenda that requires inviting someone to attend the meeting so that an invitation can be extended to the proper person or group.

The final decision was that membership should stay as it is. Mr. Willis will advise Mr. Timmreck of this decision.


Ms. Fran Smith delivered a presentation on accessible media in higher education. She distributed two handouts from the University of Washington (DO-IT publications), one entitled World Wide Access - Accessible Web Design and the other Real Connections: Making Distance Learning Accessible to Everyone. Both handouts are available on the following website (

The two articles that were distributed deal with electronic media and making it accessible to all users. The types of people that would be affected if a web site were not accessible include those who have learning disabilities, those who are color blind, and those who have visual or hearing impairments. Text and visual should be provided on all web sites as well as Alternate Text (ALT).

Video clips should have “signed” clips or onscreen narratives attached which would aid the hearing impaired, and contrast should be provided for someone with color blindness. Tables that transform gracefully should be created, and documents should be kept clear and simple. PowerPoint and PDF documents need to be made accessible as well. Implementing this will be very expensive.

UITAC should probably make recommendations about how to do this. Ms. Smith stated that WebAim (Web Accessibility in Mind) would be happy to come and give a presentation on the subject if we want them to. It is an important enough issue to at least make a statement about it.

Dr. Mattauch asked Ms. Smith to address his faculty groups on the subject, and suggested that the web person from every school should be in attendance.


-State Agency IT Consolidation
Mr. Willis stated that legislation is being considered by the General Assembly to create VITA (Virginia Information Technology Agency). If approved, all the technology operations and staff in the state agencies would be contracted into this new agency with the exception of higher education and VHDA (Virginia Housing and Development Authority). There is also a proposal to create an Information Technology Investment Board that would make decisions regarding IT projects.

On the procurement front, all agencies (including higher education) are required to use eVA, an electronic purchasing system. The colleges and universities have resisted using eVA because it is redundant with institutional purchasing systems. However, higher ed is now getting pressure to participate.

-Draft Higher Education IT Strategic Plan
Higher education is exempt from a lot of the proposed state changes. However, the Secretary of Technology has asked that a higher education IT strategic plan be prepared among institutions. It will be modeled after the state plan. The main focus is on collaboration. The key components are:
1. Consolidate IT infrastructure and provide centralized services
2. Increase federal research and development funding
3. Use rigorous cost/benefit analysis for IT investments
4. Utilize effective resource management practices

The Council of Presidents will review the plan at the end of January. Mr. Willis will brief Mr. Timmreck and the President on the proposal.


Dr. Self stated that Academic Technology is hosting its third annual Emerging Technologies Day on Thursday, April 24, 2003, and she asked that everyone get the word out – deadline for submitting proposals is February 14, 2003. She distributed a hand-out with information.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 4:55 pm


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Last Modified February 14, 2003
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