The Senate Source

May 2015

Assembly Approves Revamped Charge for Computing Committee

Senate leaders hope a new bylaw and charge for a moribund systemwide Senate committee will help increase the faculty’s role in technology policy discussions.

In February, the Assembly of the Academic Senate approved a substantial revision to Senate Bylaw 155 for the former University Committee on Computing and Communications (UCCC)—now known as the University Committee on Academic Computing and Communications (UCACC).

The new charge is a major reversal for a committee that only two years ago had been recommended for disbandment by the Academic Council, based on poor functioning. The Assembly pushed back on Council’s recommendation and instead asked the University Committee on Committees (UCOC) to update the UCCC bylaws to revitalize the committee and render it more directly useful to the Senate and the University. The new bylaw broadens the committee’s mission to include issues arising at the interface of computing technology, education, and research – including online education, intellectual property, accessibility, security, and privacy.

Academic Senate Chair Mary Gilly says the UCACC will be expected to bring technology concerns forward from the campuses, share best practices, and advise President Napolitano and Chief Information Officer Tom Andriola about emerging issues.

“Council felt the old bylaw was out of sync with the technology issues the University is dealing with today,” Chair Gilly said. “But it is clear that there are issues to be discussed and that UCCC can be a place for productive, ongoing discussion about issues that are important to all faculty.”

Chair Gilly says she will encourage the new committee to collaborate with the administration on identifying best practices for software and hardware purchasing priorities, addressing aging IT infrastructure on the campuses, the online education hub, and facilitating the confidential transfer of big files across campuses.

CIO Tom Andriola says he is also eager to begin engaging with the committee. “Information Technology touches every aspect of the University and its work,” he said. “I welcome the chance to collaborate with the UCACC in discussions about where technology investments will have the biggest impact on the core academic mission of the university and the extent to which technology resources are appropriately geared to achieving and enhancing them.”

UCOC is now working to identify a chair and vice chair for the committee, which will not be fully constituted until the 2015-16 academic year. The chairs of the Coordinating Committee on Graduate Affairs (CCGA) and University Committee on Educational Policy (UCEP) will serve as ex-officio members, in part to help ensure that discussions about academic quality in UC online education at UCEP and CCGA integrate with UCAAC’s considerations of technological quality in online education.