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Preparedness

In the pursuit of quality services and programs for its students, North Shore has become a leader in the community college system regarding the use and management of information technology. This is a direct result of the College's commitment to building the infrastructure and knowledge base within the College through technology acquisition, restructured IT management services, and intensive planning. This process began with the implementation of SCT Banner, an integrated relational database system, acquired through a federal Title III grant (1993-1998). Subsequently, a thorough analysis of IT capacity at North Shore pointed to additional areas of need including network development and support, helpdesk, reporting, training, academic computing, infrastructure, and instructional design to support curriculum. To respond to these needs as well as improve the total organizational effectiveness of IT at the College, North Shore entered into a partnership with Collegis, Inc. in 1998 for a five-year contract to manage IT services.

During FY 1999, emphasis was placed on improving the technical infrastructure, including a complete assessment and upgrade of the College network, implementation of a faculty/staff Helpdesk, technology implementation to maximize resources and cost savings, and the development of a Five-Year Strategic Technology plan. Significant follow-up accomplishments in these areas occurred during FY2000. Additionally, a new shared governance structure at North Shore created an IT standing committee with an academic sub-committee to oversee and advise on matters of technology development as well as its academic potential at the College. The new governance structure in tandem with a new culture change initiative were foundations that enabled the necessary changes taking place in order for this project to succeed. Again, gaining early support of cross-component members of the IT Standing Committee (which included key faculty and administrative sponsors) for going forward with the portal was important to the success of internal constituent marketing and roll-out of Pipeline and Web functional teams.

Other indicators that NSCC had the necessary infrastructure, willingness and knowledgebase to move forward with this project are:

  1. The IS department conducted a computer usage survey in January 2000 to our students. This survey clearly indicated that the vast majority of our students did in fact own computers and had access to the Internet. This was a shock to the many of managers and Deans at NSCC, who were under the belief that this percentage was between 30 and 40 percent. Furthermore, the results indicated that over 84% would be willing to register via the Web.
  2. The successful implementation of GroupWise for the entire NSCC population in August 1999. Without a serious advertising campaign, more than 1200 students made use of this system. A huge increase in email access from home by faculty and staff took place shortly after this installation mainly due to the fact that this new email system had a web interface requiring no configuration.
  3. The network was upgraded at all campuses with a gigabit backbone and 100MB to the desktop.
  4. A serious desktop replacement plan was started in 1998 that has led to every full-time faculty and staff member having his or her own viable computer system.
  5. The IS department hired a full time Web Administrator in November 1999.
  6. A Robust Web presence and notably increased utilization of the NSCC home page was accomplished. Many communications, the college phone directory, weekly bulletin, catalog, and news articles are now entirely online.
  7. The CIO, Director of Administrative Technology, DBA and systems analyst had the necessary skills to implement this initiative.
  8. The IS department had successfully achieved moving the training component of the college to be under its jurisdiction.
  9. The formation of a Governance structure/team base.
  10. We had achieved substantial growth in our online distance education offerings utilizing Blackboard and Eduprise.
  11. Furthermore, the CFO fully believed and supported this initiative and did everything in her power to ensure a successful implementation