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Skidmore Community,

Greetings.   We are transitioning seasons at this time of year and “transitions” is an appropriate theme to describe what IT is both undergoing as well as facilitating across Skidmore.  Let me take a moment to speak to these transitions.

This winter we completed the lengthy process of moving the college from our traditional on-site email and calendar systems to the integrated hosted solution we are referring to at  Moving over ten million email messages as well as hundreds of thousands of calendar items was a significant undertaking by my IT colleagues.  Some schools that moved to cloud based solutions did so without moving a single message leaving their community to fend for themselves with respect to keeping messages from the past.  This was never our intention and we worked hard to migrate everyone as smoothly as possible.  I am sure this migration was a challenge for some of you, but hopefully you believe, like I know, that we are in a MUCH better place with this new technology.

The project of replacing the Oracle Student System with Banner is a huge undertaking by some of my IT colleagues and many functional offices around campus.  A major change in the enterprise student system is something most would like to avoid, and only undertake every couple decades.  Skidmore has had to do this twice in less than a decade.  It’s exhausting and forces many, many process and technology changes.  I am very pleased with the incredible work put forward by so many across campus in making this happen.  We didn’t have a choice in this change, and in Skidmore fashion, our colleagues have stepped up and are doing a great job implementing this.

While our access to Internet2 is not new, this Spring, we are attempting to increase awareness of this opportunity to the Skidmore community.  We held an Internet2 workshop in February that highlighted a musical master class with the Ying String Quartet from the Eastman School of Music as well as some of the remote telescopic capabilities of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory complex in Chile.  Both activities demonstrated some of the opportunities  possible when artists or equipment are not resident on our campus.  We look forward to raising Internet2 awareness with our faculty.

Of course the renovation of the Scribner Library is a high-profile change we are also in the midst of.  Media Services has opened its new doors on the ground floor of the Library.  It is a magnificent space that is well equipped to support the growing number of students working on multimedia projects.  There is work being done below the walkway in front of the Library where IT User Services and IT Technical Services colleagues are located.  They will be moving into this renovated space before the end of March.  The remainder of the work will take place this coming summer.  The Library will not be accessible for much of the summer while contractors complete the project.  Please stop by in the fall semester to see the fabulous new spaces in the Library.

Lastly, I’d like to welcome two new IT colleagues who joined us right before the Spring semester.  Adam Jones and Micheal Grant are two new System Administrators in IT.  They replace two colleagues who left us this past year.  Both Adam and Micheal come with great experience and both have hit the ground running.  They are doing great work for Skidmore and we are delighted to have them on board.

As always, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me about anything technological at Skidmore.
I hope your 2011-2012 academic year comes to a close with great success.

Justin Sipher
Chief Technology Officer