ITS Update from VC Williams

To: UCSC Staff

From: Vice Chancellor of Information Technology, Van Williams

Dear Staff,

Happy 2020! The start of a new quarter provides an ideal time to reflect and share news about Information Technology Services - what we’ve been up to and where we’re heading. 

What We’ve Been Up To

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) - Complete Oct. 21, 2019

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), also known as “two-step” or “2-factor” authentication, was a huge undertaking and is now mandatory for all faculty, staff, and students when accessing Gold password systems. The project involved everyone on campus and was completed on-time and below budget with minimal disruption to business. Thanks to multi-factor, the campus systems that make use of the Gold password are much safer than before.

Google to Gold - Complete Aug. 26, 2019

As part of the continued UC systemwide effort to provide increased security against cybercrime, the UCSC Google Suite of services (campus email, calendar, drive, groups, etc.) switched from Blue to Gold password on Aug. 26, 2019. As a result, multi-factor authentication is now part of the Google login process. Adoption of the Google Suite of services, also known as Google Apps, continues to be active since its rollout in 2011, and new functionalities are continually being added by Google to enhance your experience. 

Slug G Suite - Email for Life for Students and Alumni - Launched Nov. 14, 2019

Slug G Suite allows UCSC students to keep their UCSC Google Apps services after they leave our campus. The service includes access to their email account, Google drive, calendar, groups, sites, and more. As of Nov. 14, 2019,  the completed deployment restored over 85,000 UCSC Google accounts for some prior students and alumni. The expansion of UCSC Google Apps services improves our campus’s ability to engage with prior students regardless of their graduation status, streamlines our communication and outreach efforts to alumni and those wishing to return to UCSC, and offers an enhanced user experience by simplifying access to these frequently-requested services. 

Susan Howells, Director of Strategic Engagement in University Relations, describes the impact of Slug G Suite for UCSC:

Alumni are grateful to have their @UCSC email addresses for life. We've received comments of surprise, delight, and some sentimental reflections as they look back over emails from their student years. For our work in Alumni Engagement and University Relations, email for life vastly improves our ability to maintain our relationships with our largest constituency. I expect we will feel the benefits of this program in expanded connection to, and support for, the university. 

DocuSign - Eco-Friendly Technology Has Time Savings Benefits

DocuSign, a campus project co-sponsored by VC Latham and VCIT Williams, empowers staff and faculty to design secure, fully digital workflows and enables students and other university affiliates to sign official university forms with legally binding signatures. Departments using DocuSign include Physical Planning Development & Operations, Office of Research, Office of Sponsored Projects, Capital Planning and Space Management, Risk Services, Registrar’s Office, Chemistry, Physics, Real Estate, and Financial Affairs. This past November, the estimated time saved was 692.5 hours, and the estimated value of this time is between $15,235.00 to $86,562.50. In addition to dramatic increases in time savings, the campus can also expect environmental benefits: In November, DocuSign’s green calculators estimated the following savings,  

  • 712 million pounds of wood

  • 1.9 billion gallons of water

  • 1.6 billion pounds of CO2

  • 105 million pounds of waste 

Kevin Hagedorn, an analyst in the Office of Sponsored Projects, recently wrote up a case study on his experience using DocuSign. After his pilot project, the time span to complete the subaward process went from three weeks in duration to three days. It's an exciting read, so be sure to check it out. 

UCPath - Launched Jan. 2, 2020

On Jan. 2, 2020, UCSC joined the systemwide payroll system that will modernize the technology and standardize practices used and designed for managing and processing payroll, benefits, and human resources. ITS collaborated with many campus business partners to ensure a smooth transition. Leading up to the UCPath go live, ITS spent the last few months transitioning from the UCPath testing systems to the production setup. The first production data "burst" from Office of the President was on Dec. 9, the first in ongoing regular daily burst of data from OP. The cutover involved many ITS groups, from programmers to infrastructure, networking and on-prem system builds to extensive modifications for CruzPay, HR systems and Financial systems.

Central Software Licensing - Campuswide site license

The Central Software Licensing pilot is taking shape.  We now have campuswide site licenses available (at no charge) to all faculty and staff for Microsoft Office 365, Qualtrics survey (limited pilot) tool, and MATLAB. This pilot is providing real savings to campus while creating significant value for our faculty, staff, and students. The central software licensing product team coordinates monitoring and vendor management to obtain the best value for the campus community as well as provide assistance in distribution.

Lux Cluster

The Lux high performance computing cluster (HPC) has been installed in the campus Data Center. ITS is working with Professor Brant Robertson, Astronomy & Astrophysics Department, to configure this new, more energy efficient cluster to use standard campus security services for authentication and authorization. This provides greater security for the campus and enables self-service management to enhance collaboration for the faculty researchers working on the NSF grant project. High-performance computing in the physical sciences has been instrumental in making UCSC one of the world's leading centers for astrophysical research. 

Technical revisions to the Electronic Information Security Policy

The UC Office of the President has issued a revised BFB-IS-3 Electronic Information Security Policy. The revised IS-3 went through technical review to correct small technical errors and consistent use/clarification of terms. No requirements were added or deleted, and the scope was not changed. For questions about the implementation of this policy on the UCSC campus, email

Telecommunications Infrastructure Upgrade (TIU) 

UCSC developed a ten-year telecommunications master plan in 2011 to upgrade the campus communications infrastructure to provide greater reliability and less down time, higher networking speeds, more extensive wireless coverage, and converge voice and data telephone systems into a voice over Internet protocol (VoIP). Phase A, B and C are complete. ITS has moved into the final Phase D with a targeted completion of September 2021.

Where We’re Heading

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in ITS

I am leading an effort to reignite the ITS Division’s efforts to advance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Building on a strong foundation in this area and a history of solid progress, ITS is redoubling its efforts to improve our recruitment processes, increase opportunities to raise divisional awareness, and ensure that the operational support that ITS provides to the entire campus has a positive impact on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (including the support provided to individuals with disabilities). ITS has recently reinstated an advisory group of ITS staff called the Diversity Interest Group in IT (DIG-IT). The group will advise the VCIT on how to support building a diverse and inclusive culture, measure and monitor divisional climate, and tell the story of our efforts. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is a top priority for our division, and we would like to work with other campus groups to confront the ongoing challenges before us.

IT Governance

Effective IT Governance is key to moving the campus forward on its strategic objectives. In the past, the process to prioritize and the decision to fund projects and initiatives were conjoined. A new IT Governance model for the campus will split out the effort to prioritize from the decision to fund. For the first time, the campus will have specific definitions on which groups can influence these governance decisions and which groups have the ultimate responsibility to make the final decisions. The process itself and the decisions emanating from the new IT Governance model will be made transparent to the campus. Expect more information on this topic in spring 2020. 

Becoming Agile

ITS is dedicated to elevating the importance of the user experience through a strong customer focus. By incorporating lean thinking and agile processes into our daily work, ITS staff can focus on the things that matter most to you and move through work more quickly. The Agile framework is used by many organizations today to confront a chaotic and complex world. Founded on transparency, inspection and adaptation, Agile practices help people visualize the work before them and require teams to communicate daily to prioritize the work at hand. To date, just about all ITS staff have attended Agile training, and staff from other divisions on campus have attended as well. 

ITS Reorganization Efforts

The ITS Division has embarked on a major reorganization to strengthen customer focus, promote lean thinking, and develop a governance model where the consumers of the technology become participants in institutional decisions. This reorganization centers on developing a product mindset that more closely aligns with customer requests, improves the user experience, builds technical skill depth, and adapts more quickly to the dynamic needs of the campus. If you would like to speak with us directly regarding the reorganization or if you would like a presentation for your department, please contact

Please reach out to me with any questions, concerns or just to say hi by emailing

With my best wishes for a very happy new year,

Van Williams

Vice Chancellor of Information Technology

Cyber Risk Responsible Executive