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News and Updates

Congratulations are in Order

The CUCCIO Awards program is designed to honour individuals, groups or institutions whose work exemplifies CUCCIO’s efforts to build and support Canada’s higher ed IT community. The awards will be presented for the first time on June 18, as part of CANHEIT 2015.

Here’s what the 2015 CUCCIO Awards finalists had to say about their nominations.

2015 CUCCIO Collaboration Award

Recognizing initiatives that promote collaboration within the higher education IT, the finalists for the 2015 CUCCIO Collaboration Award are the NB/PEI ECN Shared Services Project, Wilfrid Laurier University’s Active Learning Classroom Initiative and the Ontario PeopleSoft Shared Responsibility Initiative.

“The NB/PEI ECN (Education Computing Network) has been operating for 45 years, and has a well-developed governance and financial model and framework. We have long-since learned how to work together effectively, with the common goal of deploying leading-edge technology across the group – whose members range in size from a few hundred to many thousand full-time students – while reducing overall IT costs for all. I am impressed that it has done so for a long time, meeting the diverse IT needs of its institutions efficiently and without much conflict or debate. We are all committed to doing a great job for all.”

“The CUCCIO Awards have been a long time coming, and the fact that they are now a reality reflects the increasing maturity of CUCCIO as the leading proponent and champion for higher ed IT services in Canada.”

- Terry Nikkel, Associate Vice President, Information Technology Services, University of New Brunswick

“Our Active Learning Classroom project is a strong example of team collaboration because it responds to the changing needs of students and advances in technology. In September 2014, we launched our second purposefully designed Active Learning Classroom, the success of which was dependent on the collaboration of several academic and administrative units who might not normally work together, such as the Faculty of Arts, our VP Academic, Physical Resources, Teaching Support Services, the Registrar’s Office and ICT. By working together we created a social working environment.”

“As far as I am aware, the CUCCIO Awards program is the only way individuals who work in IT can be recognized for their contribution in higher education in Canada.”

- Gary Wagner, Manager, ICT Technical Support Waterloo, Information and Communication Technologies, Wilfrid Laurier University.

“The Ontario PeopleSoft Shared Responsibility Initiative (OPSRI) was formed by over a dozen colleges and universities as an outcome of the Productivity and Innovation Fund (PIF) study to identify potential collaboration opportunities. Active participants are already experiencing the measurable impact and planned benefits as they share and collaborate with various types of knowledge content. The recognition we’ve received by being selected as a finalist will help significantly increase the visibility and awareness of the collaboration initiative project and provide future rewards and benefits.”

“The three categories of Collaboration, Innovation and Community for CUCCIO Awards is an excellent and visible way to recognize and celebrate significant efforts in these areas. CUCCIO is to be commended for the establishment of this program as a means of both encouraging and recognizing advances that benefit higher education in Canada.”

- James W. Carse, Director, Project Portfolio Office, Queen's University ITServices

2015 CUCCIO Innovation Award

Recognizing innovative work that has led to significant technological advances in support of teaching, learning, research or administration, finalists for the 2015 CUCCIO Innovation Award include University of Saskatchewan’s University Cloud Hosted Storage Initiative, University of Waterloo’s Student Portal and University of Toronto’s Online Proctoring Pilot Project.

“Cloud storage in and of itself is not particularly novel in 2015. Our challenge was to find a way to provide cloud storage that meets the needs of a diverse community, while remaining mindful of issues of data control and sovereignty. At a time when an entire IT industry is promoting cheap, ready-to-use cloud services, our innovation was in finding a way to provide those same types of services while retaining control of our institutional data. In addition, we were able to layer our in-house cloud storage solution atop an existing local file storage service, avoiding the challenge of giving our community yet another place to store (and thus have to look for) their files.”

“Any opportunity to showcase success at our institutions and in our industry is valuable. We all face similar challenges, and highlighting some of our community’s best work in meeting those challenges contributes to the optimism and sense of community that is an important distinguishing characteristic of higher ed IT.”

- Chad Coller, Director, ICT Platform Services, University of Saskatchewan

“The Student Portal is all about simplifying and enhancing the student experience by delivering just-enough, just-in-time information in a one-stop shop. It aggregates existing academic and campus information to deliver time-sensitive content such as exam times and locations, real-time study space and computer lab availability, campus food outlet specials, real-time bus schedules and approaching academic deadlines. The Portal is a strong example of innovation because it provides choice – allowing students to have a tailored, personalized experience based on their preferences – in a clean and responsive design they can access on any device.”

“The CUCCIO Awards are an exciting opportunity to share and learn from colleagues across Canada. It’s also a great way to recognize the outstanding work happening in the Canadian higher ed IT community.”

- Andrew McAlorum, Manager, Web Development and Support, Information Systems & Technology, University of Waterloo

Online proctoring was (and still is) so new in Canada that many hadn’t even heard of the concept. As such, it was vital that we took a systematic approach in researching, implementing and evaluating the use of this service in high-stakes online exams – we had no best practices to refer to. Through this pilot, we have been able to develop and share our own best practices, highlight nuanced issues and serve as a case study for other’s wishing to tackle the issue of academic integrity in online test taking.”

“Recognizing outstanding contributions through the CUCCIO Awards provides an opportunity to raise the profile of IT in higher education. IT is a huge support to reaching institutional and departmental goals, and this national acknowledgement sheds light on the brilliant work being done by IT professionals in higher education.”

- Fareed Teja, Academic Information and Communication Technology Supervisor, University of Toronto

In addition to being celebrated at the June 18 CUCCIO Awards gala, each of these six finalists will present their initiatives as part of the CANHEIT 2015 program.