Penn State Intercom......January 18 , 2001

Reorganization of CAC
looks to the future

By Heather Herzog
Computer and Information Systems

The Center for Academic Computing (CAC), a unit that provides computer-related services such as access accounts, student labs and research tools for the University community, has recently been reorganized into two new centers that have been designed to better accommodate the University's expanding use of technology.

The change marks the beginning of the first phase in the overall restructuring of the Office of Computer and Information Systems (C&IS), a University-wide division that includes the CAC; the Office of Telecommunications; Library Computing Services; the Office of Administrative Systems; and Computer, Network and Information Security.

In the more than 15 years since the Center for Academic Computing was first formed, the University's information technology needs have expanded dramatically. To meet these needs, the CAC's services have increased from mostly addressing research computing needs to providing a broad range of technology services to students, faculty and staff throughout the University.

The center now processes more than 2 million e-mail messages per day and answers around 100,000 questions per year. Support for specialized instruction and research tools for a wide-range of scholarly interests also has increased significantly.

According to J. Gary Augustson, vice provost for information technology, while the CAC has been successful in bringing about changes to accommodate these needs, it has grown in size and scope to the point where the diverse demands placed upon it can be better met by dividing it into two centers, each with a more focused mission. To accomplish this, he announced a reorganization of the center effective Jan. 2.

Under the reorganization, Russell S. Vaught, formerly senior director of the CAC, has assumed the new position of associate vice provost for information technology. In this position, he will assist Augustson in the day-to-day operations of the Office of Computer and Information Systems and will continue to oversee the two units that formerly comprised the Center for Academic Computing.

These two new centers remain in the Computer Building. John T. Harwood has been appointed senior director of the first new unit. Named the Center for Education Technology Services (CETS), this organization will focus on the support of educational systems and will encompass Education Technology Services (ETS) -- a group formerly directed by Harwood -- which supports teaching and learning with technology in both residential education and at the World Campus. CETS will also include the Distributed Systems group, which designs and manages the computer labs and technology classrooms at University Park; the Training Group, which coordinates Web-based training and technology seminars; and Educational Outreach Services, which serves as a liaison with faculty, student and campus groups.

Kevin M. Morooney has been appointed senior director of the second unit. This unit will retain the original name, Center for Academic Computing, and will be more narrowly focused on end-user service of a general nature. The revised CAC's divisions include Central Systems (e-mail, Web, directory and backup services); Research Computing (high-performance computing and high performance visualization); User Services and Consulting (help desk and consulting services); Account Services (management of accounts for CAC services); and the Microcomputer Order Center (MOC).

According to Rodney Erickson, executive vice president and provost, the creation of the two new centers will help the Office of Computer and Information Systems improve service to customers as well as enabling the organization to more easily accommodate the University's evolving use of technology.