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Projects & Initiatives
Highlights of Major ISC Projects & Initiatives for 2013

Learn how ISC works and partners with others at Penn to make the institution work more efficiently and effectively. Listed below are descriptions of and links to some of the projects and initiatives underway at ISC. To read about a project, select a topic to the right or scroll through the page.

Administrative eLearning: Pennís enterprise learning management system provides access to classroom and web-based training for University and Penn Medicine employees, with new tools to help manage training and education for professional development and meet compliance requirements. The University and Health System are collaborating on the launch of new Learning Management System software to replace the system we know today as Knowledge Link. The new LMS is expected to arrive in Fall 2012 and will bring a variety of new features and tools for learners, supervisors, administrators, and training providers. For a preview of some of the changes you can expect, please see the new launch page: or contact Marion Campbell at

Cloud Computing: Information Systems & Computingís Cloud Computing Strategy recognizes a significant opportunity in the availability of Cloud Services whether provided internally or externally. ISCís Strategic direction is to leverage the benefits (scalable, elastic, metered by use, and accessible through the internet) and reduce risk by providing something more attractive to individuals than click-through agreements through the identification of a portfolio of trusted providers. The strategy includes: establishing formality of selection with repeatable processes for interacting with cloud vendors and a team that identifies and negotiates with vendors; and negotiating Penn-specific contracts that guarantee legal data ownership, operational metrics, and security and privacy service level agreements enforceable through negotiated contracts that meet at least existing Penn standards. Guidelines, web presence, training, and forums for knowledge sharing are in place and being refined in FY13 as the portfolio expands. An agreement has been established with Amazon Web Services and Google Apps. ISC will add more trusted providers to the portfolio and conduct a pilot for an internal Penn Cloud (aka Penn Server) during FY13. Implementation of the Enterprise Service Bus will enable interaction and communication between mutually interactive Cloud-based software applications and newer systems, such as the planned Next Generation Systems and the required data flows among systems based on older technologies. The ISC Service Catalog provides detail on ISCís Cloud Consulting, Cloud Service Brokering, Secure Share (file sharing), and Secure Space (collaboration) services at or contact Michel van der List at

Data Center Modernization and Consolidation: Penn is in the midst of an initiative to modernize and consolidate its Data Center capabilities. This next generation University-wide Data Center will support the growing instruction/research/administrative needs of the University and will permit effective use of green opportunities to reduce future power consumption, free up space in academic buildings, and support growth while providing opportunities for economies of scale for licensing, contracts, infrastructure, etc. The initiative is currently in the Planning/Design Phase for a new Data Center facility and will meet the needs of both the University and Health System. A ďBridge SolutionĒ to meet near-term needs is also under consideration. For more information on the Data Center Modernization and Consolidation initiative, please contact Marion Campbell at

Faculty Equal Opportunity Compliance System: Penn has a systematic and planned commitment to recruit, retain, reward, and promote as heterogeneous a mix of employees and faculty as possible, resulting in a highly diverse community. This richness in backgrounds and different points of view adds valuable layers to the educational experience. The University is strongly committed to equal access to employment opportunities. Information Systems & Computing is developing a Faculty Equal Opportunity Compliance online process to facilitate the entry, routing, and approval of Faculty EOC data to improve the quality and accessibility of the data; implementation is expected in early FY13. For more information, please contact Rosey Nissley at

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Global Initiatives: Pennís commitment to global engagement is a critical part of the Penn Compact, the vision that guides the University. Penn offers study abroad opportunities in more than 50 countries and has academic partnerships that extend to Africa, China, India, Latin America, and beyond. Information Systems & Computing facilitates Pennís global activities. ISC is collaborating on the Global Reporting Initiative which will provide new data collections and tracking capabilities for incoming students and Penn travelers and operations abroad to be used in strategic planning. The Global Activities Registry, the Universityís repository for Pennís international programs and travel, provides both the big picture of what Penn is achieving globally and a wealth of useful information to Penn travelers, and makes pre-travel planning, scholarly collaboration, tracking, and emergency notification easier to manage. The Global Activities Registry was a 2012 Models of Excellence Award winner. For more information, please contact Amy Miller at

Green IT: Penn is one of the countryís ďGreen Universities.Ē It champions many programs to reduce energy consumption across campus and promotes sustainability, including a 17% reduction in energy consumption by 2014. The Environmental Protection Agency recognizes Penn as the leading purchaser of green power among U.S. universities. Information Systems & Computing provides leadership in green computing initiatives by encouraging adoption of energy consumption reduction strategies. From developing innovative reporting systems that allow the elimination of 4 million printed pages annually to providing tools that remotely manage desktops/laptops/ mobile devices to launching a Green IT Website that provides sustainability tips and facts to providing greener classrooms that include LED lighting and energy-efficient technology equipment, ISC supports Pennís ďgreenĒ goals. In FY13, ISC will complete elimination of mainframe printing in support of Pennís ongoing sustainability efforts through the use of online reporting tools and decentralized/local print capabilities. The ISC Service Catalog provides information about ISC Green It initiatives or contact Mark Aseltine at

IT Orientation: Pennís goal is to recruit, retain, develop, and manage a highly talented and diverse workforce. It is committed to creating cross-functional learning and professional development and training opportunities and it is committed to developing employee capabilities to perform work effectively and in compliance with good practices, appropriate policies, and regulatory requirements. One of Information Systems & Computingís primary missions within Pennís distributed computing model is to provide services for Pennís IT community. ISC offers general orientation sessions open to all IT employees at the University. The orientation program ensures new IT employees have a basic understanding of computing at Penn and know where to turn for help. The sessions cover ISC-provided core IT services, such as networking and technology support services, as well as important policies, Pennís decision-making process, and information on groups employees can join to network with other IT professionals. Monthly follow-up sessions cover a range of topics of interest. The ISC Service Catalog provides information on IT Orientation and other training opportunities at To reserve your seat for any of the IT Orientation sessions, please go to

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Mobile Culture: Information Systems and Computing was a groundbreaker in the mobile technologies and BYOD culture that are swiftly redefining traditional IT. ISC first began exploring mobile apps in 2005 and developed a mobile directory in 2006. ISCís mobile technical architecture is browser-based, not device-specific, which allows one application to be accessed by any device. Available today in mobile apps: Pennís news, directory, libraries, athletics and cultural events, PennInTouch (class schedule, grades, course search, advisor contact information, financial aid information, etc.), Course Evaluation, and alumni and donor apps. As ďusersĒ become ďchoosersĒ - resulting in more and more people bringing their own devices to work, from Android to iOS or something else run on vastly different mobile devices from a wide range of providers - ISC continues to lead ďmobileĒ innovation at Penn: expanding the capabilities of Mobile Data Terminals so Pennís Public Safety officers can access important information from wherever they are; developing a mobile app for the School of Arts & Sciences that will pull content from various sources and host streams from the Schoolís Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter accounts; and developing mobile apps for the administrative Travel & Expense system and the Student Housing system. ISCís mobile technology initiative is a 2012 CIO 100 Award winner. For more information on ISCís mobile initiatives, please contact Jim Choate at

Next Generation Student Systems: Information Systems & Computing plays a major role in the multi-year effort that will actualize Pennís long term student systems strategy. Penn will replace its aging core Student Billing/Financial Aid and Registration/Student Records systems with the most innovative systems available. The initiative is refining a futuristic vision of what an ideal Next Generation Student Systems could enable. Forward-looking trends include: dynamic self-service options that keep pace with increasing expectations for immediacy, mobility, and accessibility; real-time integration of student processes and information, as events trigger coordinated changes to registration, billing, and financial aid records; expanded access for a broader constituency, such as parents, mentors, employers, and others as authorized by students; lowering barriers to the flow of student data with synchronization across campus; support for the ongoing challenges of student identity management, security, and privacy controls; and support for innovative online learning initiatives, and flexible classroom and schedule formats. In FY13, Penn will evaluate RFP responses and will recommend a resource plan, timeline, benefits and costs, and begin implementation (either jointly or separately) of the Student Billing and Financial Services components. For more information on Next Generation Student Systems, please contact Michael Kearney at

Payroll/Personnel System Replacement: The University of Pennsylvania is one of the regionís leading employers, winning a variety of workplace awards, including placing consistently in the top 12 of Computerworldís 100 Best Places to Work in IT for the past 8 years. Information Systems & Computing is collaborating in a multi-year effort to replace Pennís aging Payroll/Personnel System to better support the Universityís compliance needs and current and future payroll needs including those associated with globalization. In FY13, a ďnear term solutionĒ recommendation will be made. For more information, please contact Rosey Nissley at

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PennCard/Contactless Card: Information Systems & Computing is committed to meeting the needs of Pennís highly diverse community comprised of faculty, researchers, students, alumni, employees, and other friends and patrons from all four corners of the globe. PennCard, the universityís identification card is used for many services, from building access to PennCash purchases. Information Systems & Computing, Business Services, and Public Safety are currently exploring the advantages of contactless card readers and systems. These cards will provide faster, more efficient use and save time. For more information, please contact Jim Johnson at

PennNet Collaboration Services: As part of a multi-year effort to significantly reduce Pennís telephony operating costs and enhance functionality, Information Systems & Computing is converting Pennís legacy telecommunications system to IP-based platforms. With more than 10,000 installations and corresponding telephone audits completed, ISCís VoIP program has reduced Pennís telephony costs by $2M annually during the past four years. ISC will deploy another 2,500 installations in FY13 and anticipates completing the upgrade from traditional phone to PennNet Phone by June 2014. PennNet Phone also provides services that support faculty and staff who travel, occupy multiple offices, or have a need to listen to voice mail messages from email or PDAs. ISC provides an IM service, which facilitates collaboration among co-workers both on-site and off-site, for free to its more than 16,000 VoIP and email clients. PennNet Collaboration Services supports the campus-wide goal of creating incremental resources through effective, collaborative, and innovative approaches. For more information on PennNet Collaboration Services, please contact Dawn Augustino at

Research Services: PennERA is the Universityís Electronic Research Administration system which streamlines processes and provides more efficient tools for handling pre- and post-award administrative tasks related to the sponsored projects of Pennís academic research community. Sponsored by the Office of Research Services, the Office of Regulatory Affairs, and Information Systems & Computing, Research Services provides a cradle-to-grave web-based system for research project development, support, and management. Key components include Proposal Development, used for electronic submissions; Profiler, used for safety and compliance training needs identification; Conflict of Interest, used to centrally store disclosure information; Center for Technology Transfer, used to manage patents, copyrights, and trademarks; Electronic Human Subject Protocol Submission, used to streamline protocol reporting efforts; ARIES, used to assure the safety, maintenance, and care of animals; and Research Inventory, used to request and manage the process of material transfer and other non-monetary agreements. This year two new projects for sponsored research are underway: BRIM, a billing and receivables system to meet the ever changing requirements of federal, sponsor, and regulatory compliance and the expanding role of non-government funding sources, is anticipated to be implemented in FY13; and High Bandwidth for Research Networks, which will move from 1gig to 10gig at building entrances to allow for Big Data service models. For more information on Research Services, please contact Rosey Nissley at

Security Initiatives: Protecting the privacy of Penn constituents and reducing compliance and reputational risk to Penn have long been critical goals for Information Systems & Computing. Growing internet fraud and identity theft intensify these concerns. In FY13 ISC will add strong Intrusion Detection tools to readily identify compromised machines and network attacks. The ISC Service Catalog provides detailed information about ISCís Access, Security, and Privacy Services or contact Information Security at

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Technology in Support of Teaching and Learning: 21st-century students crave diverse learning techniques and participatory activities, prompt feedback, and reciprocity and cooperation among peers. Instructors are finding ways to encourage students to engage through use of new technologies, mobile devices, and social media in classrooms. Pennís 198 Central Pool Classrooms have baseline technologies that support new ways of learning and teaching, including microphone and sound systems, document cameras, annotation systems, and assistive listening capabilities. Forty more classrooms will get a high tech refresh of technology during FY13. In addition, some classrooms are equipped with Lecture Capture systems to reinforce learning outside class for students enrolled in the course through Blackboard. An additional 25 classrooms will have high density wireless installed during FY13 to ensure concurrent access using tablets by all class members, bringing total HD classrooms to 125. Penn is an original member of Coursera, an on-line university (also known as a MOOC or massive open online course) that makes higher education free to anyone in the world. Information Systems & Computing provides video capabilities for faculty on request (in either a classroom or video studio) and has already produced 84 videos for Coursera. For more information on Classroom Technology, please go to the ISC Service Catalog at or contact

Travel and Expense Management: Pennís faculty, researchers, and employees travel extensively for both research and knowledge sharing. They are frequent speakers at conventions. Information Systems & Computing is collaborating with the divisions of Finance and Business Services on a Travel and Expense system that will provide an end-to-end solution for transforming the travel experience from booking travel through receiving travel reimbursement. System configuration, process design, process documentation, and testing are well underway; a pilot in early FY13 will be followed by full rollout later in the year. This cost-effective, comprehensive, and flexible solution will collapse reimbursement cycle time, increase compliance with policies, provide better control of University expenditures, and contain costs. For more information, please contact Rosey Nissley at

Video Technologies: Cutting edge video technologies allow campus programs to be distributed via broadband streaming, DVD, cable, and satellite to an international audience. Information Systems & Computing will produce 18 new video programs in 2013 for distribution through these media and also will complete 36 new productions via podcast and streaming on iTunesU and YouTube. ISC is increasingly using new platforms such as Science 360, KnowledgeLink, Vimeo, and Knowledge Network. Pennís HD broadcast studio transmits faculty presentations to more than 300 national and international news outlets. The newly-constructed ReadyCam studio broadcasts commentary by Penn experts to media outlets worldwide, including CNBC, Bloomberg, and Reuters. The studio features a high-definition camera, studio lighting, microphones, sound proofing, and a teleprompter. For more information, please contact Gates Rhodes at

Wireless: Information Systems & Computing is leading a multi-year effort to provide wireless infrastructure to meet the rapidly rising demand for mobile applications and consumer devices. Much of the Penn community now uses multiple devices Ė laptops, tablets, and (not ďorĒ) smartphones, which places increased demands on wireless. This initiative includes increasing Pennís High Density wireless to accommodate high concentrations of mobile devices in areas where large numbers of people congregate and need simultaneous and uninterrupted wireless access. In FY13 ISC will increase the number of HD classrooms by 25% (from 100 to 125) and will increase campus wireless coverage by 10% (from 3000 to 3300 APs). ISC now offers three special wireless networks. AirPennNet uses 802.11N wireless technology, is encrypted using 802.1x technology, and provides robust and secure networking for members of the Penn Community. AirPennNet-Guest offers several options allowing University guests to connect to the Internet. A new private wireless network, called AirPennNet-Help, runs a self-service wizard that provides the configuration necessary to connect to AirPennNet. It provides an improved end-user experience through Cloudpathís XpressConnect which also improves network security and connectivity. The wizard helps users configure and then securely connect their tablets and smart phones to AirPennNet. ISCís innovation around mobile devices and wireless technology is featured as one of CIO Magazineís 2012 CIO 100 technology award winners. The ISC Service Catalog has information about Connecting to the Internet or contact Mark Wehrle at

Projects & Initiatives
Administrative eLearning
Cloud Computing
Data Center Modernization
Faculty EOC System
Global Initiatives


IT Orientation
Mobile Culture
Next Generation Systems
Payroll/Personnel System
Penncard/Contactless Card
PennNet Collaboration
Research Services
Security Initiatives
Teaching and Learning
Travel and Expense
Video Technologies

Information Systems and Computing
University of Pennsylvania
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