FUTURE FORWARD

Reflecting. Engaging. Transforming.

Mur Muchane

Dear Colleagues,

2023 was a year marked by extensive campus engagement, rigorous inquiry, and innovative advancements. The 2023 Information Systems (IS) Year in Review showcases a selection of the partnerships and strategic initiatives undertaken by IS to ensure robust University technology services and support for our faculty, students, and staff.

As we journey through 2024, the year is already poised for transformative change. The recent rollout of Workday Student, which streamlines and improves advising, course registration, student billing, University-wide processes, and data standards, exemplifies this momentum. This achievement is the culmination of years of dedication, countless hours of collaboration, university-wide configuration, testing, retesting, and effective partnerships with Workday and Huron Consulting.

As you review the report, I am confident you will recognize IS’s unwavering commitment to our institutional mission through empowerment, technology innovation, campus-wide collaboration, and knowledge sharing. Serving as a central facilitator of teaching, learning, research, creative endeavors, innovation, and effective administration is a privilege, and our dedication to Wake Forest University and the broader community remains resolute.

Thank you, as always, for your ongoing partnership.

Best regards,

Meet Project WakeDay:
Serving Students, Embracing Change

Meet Project WakeDay:
Serving Students, Embracing Change

When Wake Forest University chose Workday Student as the new Student Information System (SIS), the University, in partnership with Information Systems, was eager to reimagine the student technology experience. Implementing Workday Student is deeply anchored in the University’s Strategic Framework in our pursuit of academic excellence. A culmination of years of careful consideration, planning, and effort from students, faculty, and staff and nearly every administrative office across campus, selected a modern, mobile-friendly platform that has an intuitive user interface with scalable technology to help us manage Institutional data and processes related to students’ educational journey. These include admission, enrollment, academic records, academic advising, curriculum management, financial aid, and more.

The previous SIS system had strengths and challenges but increasingly struggled to support Wake Forest’s modern campus needs. Through research and positive findings, it became clear that Workday was the ideal, forward-looking next step, focusing on student satisfaction and data safeguarding. 

Three stakeholder groups were engaged to assist the campus in preparing for the changes involved with a new SIS system. Working alongside the Project WakeDay team, the faculty, staff, and student advisory panels were established for collaborative conversations. 

Guided by the Project WakeDay core team, Wake Forest University intentionally decided to improve how students interact with University systems. Institutional leadership agreed with this decision wholeheartedly.

With 50% of the implementation process complete, Workday Student’s first registration period will be in Spring 2024. Students, faculty, and staff will enjoy a more intuitive course registration process, improved academic advising processes, the ability to better forecast course demand, and alignment of university-wide processes.

We are thrilled with both the progress toward this important transition, as well as the dedication of colleagues across all of Wake Forest who have shared their expertise on this transformational project. It is so important that we evolve as a community to meet the needs and expectations of our students. The promise to expand access to better data and leverage improved technologies will truly help us deliver a stronger learning and working environment for all of us. It is exciting to see an even more collaborative future taking shape at Wake Forest.

Configure, Test, Launch

Thousands of customizations, decisions, and test cases went into preparing the campus for launch. A seemingly minor but successful landmark for testing was foundational registrar functions. This milestone included not only setting up the academic structure, programs of study, and course selections but also added benefits previously unavailable, such as course forecasting and the ability to access this information from a mobile device. 

In addition, the team executed intense end-to-end testing to prepare for launch. This type of testing gives a comprehensive review of every process, task, and activity that will take place in Workday, rather than manually or in the former student information system, to be sure everything is working correctly. End-to-end testing for the project has covered more than 4,000 test cases. Focus and time from numerous students, faculty, and staff have allowed the University to complete this monumental task.

Mock semester served as the last step in formal testing, which allowed Wake Forest to simulate key semester activities, including updating student contact information, waiving prerequisites and viewing waitlists, removing student holds, and more. Select students, faculty, and staff executed these activities as they would in a live system.

Communicate, Engage, Prepare

A monumental technology adoption required close consultation with nearly every department and team on campus. Preparation began early and evolved as spring 2024 drew closer. Quarterly updates were held for faculty and staff, and a weekly e-newsletter. 

Regularly engaging partners was paramount to ensure that each department’s unique processes, which they’ve developed and refined, are upheld and improved. While customizing Workday Student for Wake Forest, key steps were taken to keep partners informed so that once launched, it would enhance their day-to-day work instead of being a burden.

Encourage, Recognize, Appreciate

With such a build-up to launch, with testing, roundtable discussions, and a mock semester, it was evident that the campus community from all corners had worked in sync to take the project to the finish line. 

“I feel immense gratitude and pride when I think of the talent, hard work, and tenacity of our campus community for the launch of Workday Student,” said Vice President of Information Technology and CIO Mur Muchane. “It took every student, faculty, and staff member at Wake Forest to move this vision into fruition. Their resilience amongst significant change is admirable, and it’s exciting to know how Workday Student will support their goals toward academic excellence.”

President Wente and Provost Gillespie back
$1 million dollar classroom technology refresh

Well-designed academic spaces are essential for excellence in teaching and learning. In 2023, the University embarked on an ambitious renovation project to reimagine classroom instruction at Wake Forest. President Susan R. Wente and Provost Michele Gillespie spearheaded an ambitious $1 million project to refresh six major academic buildings. The scope of the project was vast, touching 17 classrooms and teaching labs, including highly used classrooms in Carswell, Greene, and Winston. The renewal of physical learning spaces and integrating cutting-edge technology, particularly in audio-visual (A/V) equipment, was at the project’s forefront.

The Information Systems Network and Infrastructure team, along with The Learning Spaces Committee (LSC), laid the groundwork over numerous planning sessions. Their combined mission sought to align classrooms with modern educational needs. The strategic approach prioritized aging buildings, where a walkthrough of 145 classrooms pinpointed spaces ripe for renewal. Over twenty classrooms and labs received a technology revitalization, thanks this funding commitment by President Wente and Provost Gillespie.

In Scales 208, for instance, a projector and screen were replaced by a large monitor, supporting both wired and wireless connections. In updating this A/V equipment, we  emphasized simplicity, stability, and better user experience. In Kirby Hall B03, wall-to-wall writing surfaces, projectors, and movable furniture elevated the room’s functionality and accessibility. Brighter, more accessible systems were mounted on the walls, eliminating bulky racks and creating spacious, collaborative environments.

This fusion of physical and technological innovation echoes the University’s commitment to excellence, highlighting the tangible effect on teaching, learning, and faculty support. The A/V equipment’s strategic development improved functionality, supporting an equitable and future-forward learning environment focused on the Teacher-Scholar ideal.

Students sitting in on a lecture at a Kirby classroom

President Wente and Provost Gillespie back $1 million dollar classroom technology refresh

Well-designed academic spaces are essential for excellence in teaching and learning. In 2023, the University embarked on an ambitious renovation project to reimagine classroom instruction at Wake Forest. President Susan R. Wente and Provost Michele Gillespie spearheaded an ambitious $1 million project to refresh six major academic buildings. The scope of the project was vast, touching 17 classrooms and teaching labs, including highly used classrooms in Carswell, Greene, and Winston. The renewal of physical learning spaces and integrating cutting-edge technology, particularly in audio-visual (A/V) equipment, was at the project’s forefront. 

The Information Systems Network and Infrastructure team, along with The Learning Spaces Committee (LSC), laid the groundwork over numerous planning sessions. Their combined mission sought to align classrooms with modern educational needs. The strategic approach prioritized aging buildings, where a walkthrough of 145 classrooms pinpointed spaces ripe for renewal. Over twenty classrooms and labs received a technology revitalization, thanks this funding commitment by President Wente and Provost Gillespie. 

In Scales 208, for instance, a projector and screen were replaced by a large monitor, supporting both wired and wireless connections. In updating this A/V equipment, we  emphasized simplicity, stability, and better user experience. In Kirby Hall B03, wall-to-wall writing surfaces, projectors, and movable furniture elevated the room’s functionality and accessibility. Brighter, more accessible systems were mounted on the walls, eliminating bulky racks and creating spacious, collaborative environments.

This fusion of physical and technological innovation echoes the University’s commitment to excellence, highlighting the tangible effect on teaching, learning, and faculty support. The A/V equipment’s strategic development improved functionality, supporting an equitable and future-forward learning environment focused on the Teacher-Scholar ideal.

Students sitting in on a lecture at a Kirby classroom

High Performance Computing Expands

High Performance Computing Expands

Information Systems continued focusing on the Wake Forest High Performance Computing (HPC) cluster, prioritizing equity, economy, and innovation with big processing power for students and faculty in all departments. The HPC continues to drive innovation for various research and instructional pursuits, providing a centralized alternative for the often staggering processing needs for data analysis and modeling. The “cluster” saw an increase in utilization over the year, processing over four times the “jobs” from the year prior. Taking advantage of these centralized, powerful processing resources, teams used the cluster for big data analysis, sophisticated modeling, and research to empower their researchers, nurture innovation, and shape future research directions in various disciplines. In 2023, with programming and management from the High Performance Computing (HPC) Team, the Wake Forest supercomputer processed 1.3 million jobs on the cluster, a substantial increase from 2022’s 300,000 jobs. The cluster is open to all faculty and student researchers whose diverse research interests range from humanities research, to modeling, and to analytics. 

New hardware updates enhanced the cluster to keep pace with utilization and processing increases. A new refresh strategy, DEAC 3.0, will enable more agile and less costly upgrades on the cluster over the coming years. In addition, the new hardware positions our researchers to take advantage of machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities. An example can illustrate this newfound power for students and faculty: One test on the new “DEAC 3.0” platform involved recompiling molecular dynamics software, VASP, to run on DEAC 3.0, which yielded a 15X performance improvement over the older CPU-based build.

Teaching and student discovery continue to be a part of the HPC mission. With support and partnership from the Department of Computer Science, the team again offered a special topics course on high performance computing and welcomed students across a myriad of interests and majors. Offered as a way for students to learn about the potential of HPC, consider new applications in their studies, and get involved outside of class in these technologies, the course continues to be a popular option and will be offered annually.

Extending student learning beyond the classroom, the HPC team coached Deacs at the IndySCC student cluster competition, which took place over the summer and fall. During the competition, students solve real HPC scientific calculations and build their own “mini cluster” while up against rigid power constraints and limitations. Five students competed, utilizing DEAC Cluster and Chameleon Cloud resources for competition, resulting in a 4th place overall finish and finishing first among US-based teams.

88 dedicated servers are configured as compute nodes on the DEAC Cluster, containing ~4000 cores and 16.5TB of total memory, available for Wake Forest researchers. A single core can be dedicated per process. Some jobs use one, others over 100, depending on the research and software used, and size of the dataset.

0 M+
research jobs ran on the cluster
0 X
speed increase from 2022
0
new compute nodes (80GB GPU each)
0
students enrolled in courses with more on the waitlist
0
WFU students competition in IndySCC

(Re) Introducing eduroam:
Wake Forest's global campus network

(Re) Introducing eduroam:
Wake Forest's global campus network

While Wake Forest has been an eduroam consortium partner site since 2019, the option was not previously a highly utilized option on campus, and by extension, while visiting one of the thousands of eduroam partner sites across the globe. To simplify the experience and extend the Wake Forest network globally for all Deacs, IS shepherded the transition to eduroam as the new preferred campus wireless network for Wake Forest students, faculty and staff. While awareness and communication efforts were significant, the successful transition could not have been possible without partnerships across campus departments and the good spirits and participation from our students, faculty and staff during the shift. All in all, over 14,000 devices shifted to the new preferred network by the end of the effort, six months later. Technical and communication teams in IS remain grateful for the significant campus effort.

The shift to eduroam has its benefits for the on-site experience, and securely connecting campus to fast speeds and protected campus resources. Yet additional benefits extend well beyond Wake Forest borders. During times of travel and exploration across the state, country and globe, the campus community may now enjoy seamless and secure wireless connections while visiting other eduroam partner sites. The consortium includes most universities as well as some libraries, grade schools, museums, conferences, hotels, zoos and state parks.

Campus Migration to eduroam

Slide the indicator left and right to see the number of devices connected to the former preferred network (gray) switch to eduroam (gold) as the year progressed.

 

this gold chart shows the rapid adoption of eduroam across 2023
this gray chart shows how the previous preferred network quickly gave way to the new preferred network, eduroam, as eduroam was rapidly adopted

As the year progressed, devices were quickly changed over to eduroam.

Network and Infrastructure Refresh Cycles Continue

Network and Infrastructure Refresh Cycles Continue

Progressing with the annual six-year refresh cycle, the Information Systems Network and Infrastructure Team completed extensive network refreshes over the summer. The team implements a six-year refresh cycle for equipment supporting the University network. Through this strategic refresh cycle, a different aspect or area is refreshed every year.

Among the network systems updated were the wireless controllers, the “brains,” that help IS manage nearly 6,000 wireless access points installed throughout the campus. These access points provide network coverage within our buildings and to most outdoor locations on the Reynolda campus. In addition to the equipment refresh, the team also made several architectural changes to improve service resiliency should one more of the components fail.

This summer network enhancements extended to additional Wake Forest campus extensions such as Wake Washington and Wake Forest Charlotte. International campuses network hardware, software, and wiring, such as that at Flow House in Austria, were also refreshed.

We’ve built a network ecosystem which enables all the other connectivity across campuses, across programs, including our study abroad houses. We invest in this ecosystem to support the delivery of cloud solutions, allowing campus functions to continue and support learning. Most systems have a six year renewal schedule.

What will you make at the WakerSpace?

What will you make at the WakerSpace?

The WakerSpace welcomed over 7,000 student, faculty, and staff visitors in 2023. With the addition of the fully formed Mobile WakerSpace, the space expanded its inter-departmental collaborations across campus with groups such as CLASS, TAP, the Women’s Center, and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. The Mobile WakerSpace promoted real time marketing while offering accessible, pop-up workshops in dorms, lobbies, community buildings, quads, and dining halls. 

Additionally, Summer Immersion programs took place at the WakerSpace, welcoming high school students from across the world. 13 Wake Forest academic classes met within the WakerSpace including the inaugural group of WakerSpace Faculty fellows who consist of University faculty members involved in a project that links new or existing WakerSpace technologies to the enhancement of one of their courses. 

162 workshops met in the WakerSpace including special events sponsored by the Technology Accessibility Program, as well as repeating workshops in the space such as Commit2Knit, Laser Cutting, Woodworking, Button Making, and more.

2023 at the WakerSpace

13 Classes met at WakerSpace
162 Workshops
0 +
check-ins
People gather to watch a presentation at the WakerSpace

Academic Technology

Academic Technology

As the higher education landscape continues to evolve, student needs have become increasingly complex, challenging, and multilayered. Preparing our Deacs with a competitive edge for an advancing world requires robust, innovative instruction. In continued partnership with University faculty, over 2023 the Academic Technology (AT) team continued their pursuit of dynamic, service-forward teaching by way of cutting edge research around technological tools, software, hardware, instructional design, and digital pedagogy.

Digital literacy & the power of storytelling 

Marked by expansion, AT navigated the year with storytelling taking charge, leveraging the necessity of stories and their multi-genre power. ​​Members of Academic Technology taught their second year of Digital Literacy in the 21-century course, instilling the importance of digital fluency and 21-century communication skills through cutting edge Adobe digital project, supporting students as they transitioned from passive consumers of media messages to active producers of media content. Students created podcasts, digital stories, and digital portfolios during the class, which supplemented their ​​resumes and offered them a competitive advantage. Additionally, guest lecturers touched on diverse 21-century literacies.

Optimized creativity for all

The One Button Studio, Wake Forest’s automated video recording facility, continued to support creativity by removing technical barriers for audio and video production. The Academic Technology podcast recorded its 2023 season in the One Button Studio. For faculty interested in experimenting and exploring technology for teaching and learning, the Academic Technology program sponsored T-Cart grants. Faculty grant winners were Meredith Farmer, Ziyi Geng, and Terry Brock.

Real world expertise

The AT team continued to stay up-to-date with transforming needs of campus, continuing high-level integrations of institution-wide platforms such as Kaltura, Wake Forest’s captioned-video platform and Canvas, our supported Learning Management System. Numerous virtual and in-person workshops allowed Wake Forest community members to stay current with best practices.

Kaltura, Canvas, Adobe, and One Button Studio accompanied by their logos.

Information Security

Information Security

IS empowers Wake Forest students, faculty, and staff to advocate for digital safety and wellbeing. Through equal parts instruction and prevention, the Cybersecurity team continued their commitment to principles of confidentiality, integrity, and responsiveness, equipping the University with the tools needed to stay safe, while anticipating the next generation of Cyber Safety preventative measures.

"do you guys ever think about getting hacked?" Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2023
A young woman holds out a Barbie themed cybersecurity awareness sticker

Inspired by Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, Information Systems shared the “weird barbie wisdom” students need to protect themselves and their data during Cybersecurity Month 2023. At an annual tabling event, over 200 students participated in a prize wheel, winning hats, Barbie t-shirts, mouse pads, and pocket sized, “need to know” infographics. Approximately 100 community members entered into our Barbie Bundle drawing which featured Mattel sponsored t-shirts and limited-edition Barbie figurines. The month ended with the premier of “Barbie in Hackerland” a stop motion recap video featuring a recap of the week’s Internet security lessons.

Adventures in Barbieland Text Version

[Ambient music plays]

Text fills the screen:
Dear Reader: Our final take is one of redemption. In the ever-evolving digital landscape of Barbie Land, an unexpected twist of fate was about to unfold. As the sun cast a golden glow on the Barbie House, a digital storm unlike any other was brewing on the horizon.

[Ominous music plays as birds chirp in the distance around Barbie homes]

[A dark storm full of lightning strikes begins to form above the Barbie houses]

[Laughing and thunder sound in the distance]

“Wake up, Barbie… Wake up!”

“It’s just a dream, Barbie.”

“It’s just a dream.”

“Wake up!”

[Barbie quickly inhales as she opens her eyes]

[Birds chirp in the distance]

Barbie Tips: Week 1 in Barbie Land – Stay Safe with Secure Wireless

[Barbie types on her laptop as upbeat music begins to play]

[Faint sinister laughing as Barbie attempts to connect to Edro@m]

[Static]

Text fills the screen:
Don’t be fooled Barbie! Choose Eduroam NOT Edro@m

[Ambient music plays]

Text fills the screen:
Dear Reader: The Dark Forces Squad tried to deceive Barbie with a fake Wi-fi network called “Edro@m” aiming to steal her sensitive information. Barbie’s tech-saviness and Weird Barbie’s vigilance saved the day by spotting the fake network. Warning: Always verify Wi-Fi connections

[Birds chirp in the distance]

Text fills the screen:
Barbie Tips: Week 2 in Barbie Land – Use 2-factor Authentification for Double the Safety

[Upbeat music plays as the Barbie checks her phone]

[Faint sinister laughing can be heard as Barbie receives a suspicious looking message with an even more suspicious looking link]

[Barbie gasps as a record scratch plays suddenly]

[Barbie isn’t falling for this obvious scam]

[Clapping and cheering]

[Upbeat music returns]

Text fills the screen:
Dear Reader: The Dark Forces sent malicious links to Super Deac squad through Instagram, attempting to trick them into revealing sensitive information. President Barbie’s cybersecurity training saved the day by recognizing the phishing attempt. Warning: Don’t click on suspicious links; enable two-factor authentication to protect your online accounts.

[Birds chirp in the distance]

Text fills the screen:
Barbie Tips: Week 3 in Barbie Land – Antivirus Software for All Devices

[Ominous music plays as birds continue chirp in the distance around Barbie’s house]

[Faint sinister laughing rings out as from within the suspicious van outside of Barbie’s home, a phishing website is made to tempt Barbie]

“Ooh!”

[Static]

Text fills the screen:
Don’t be fooled Barbie! Download Avast Anti-virus software!

[Anti-virus detects a problem, blocking the suspicious site]

“Alright!”

“Whoopie!”

[Ominous music plays]

Text fills the screen:
Dear Reader: The Dark Forces attempted to infect Barbie’s Apple Computer with “Adload Malware” through a fake shopping site. Super Deac’s advice led to the quick installation of antivirus software, thwarting the cyberattack. Warning: All devices, including Macs, are vulnerable to malware. Install antivirus software and keep it updated.

[Birds chirp]

Text fills the screen:
Barbie Tips: Week 4 in Barbie Land – Stay Cautious While Clicking

[Ominous music plays as birds chirp in the distance]

[Barbie receives a message.]

An email on Barbie’s phone reads:
Need Your Help! From Kenough at 3:17pm to Barbie

Barbie, I am stranded and need your help. What I need is a Google Play gift card of $500 face value. I need 2 of these accounting to $1000. I need you to buy the phisical card and scratch the back off take a picture showing the pin and send to me. Besst, Ken

[Birds continue to chirp as Barbie worries about her friend]

[Static]

Text fills the screen:
Think twice Barbie! Feels like a scam.

[Ominous music plays]

Text fills the screen:
Dear Reader: The Dark Forces impersonated Ken and sent Barbie deceitful emails, trying to trick her into buying gift cards and revealing bank information. Weird Barbie’s sharp observation exposed the deception and saved the day. Warning: Be cautious of urgent requests and phishing emails, and always verify the sender’s authenticity. 

[Dramatic music begins]

Text fills the screen:
In the end, the heroes and former villains had found common ground, proving that even the darkest path can be illuminated by the light of redemption. Together, they ensured that Barbie Land remained a beacon of digital safety, a testament to the extraordinary power of change and collaboration in the ever-evolving world of cybersecurity.

[Dramatic music fades out]

University-wide Cybersecurity security training

The Information Security team successfully launched the Information Security Policy in 2023. The new policy seeks to establish Wake Forest University’s commitment to protect the security and privacy of its information assets, including, but not limited to, confidential information about faculty, staff and students, from accidental or intentional unauthorized access or damage, while also preserving the open information sharing requirements of the University’s academic culture. Faculty and staff completed annual basic cybersecurity training via KnowBe4, a leading cybersecurity awareness organization that provides training materials and practice phishing simulations. Later in the year, the security team created the Information Security Glossary, offering an accessible, central location for common information security compliance terms.

Learning, Inquiry, and Partnerships:
Client Services & Community Engagement

Learning, Inquiry, and Partnerships:
Client Services & Community Engagement

Community and Student Engagement continued to be a priority in 2023. Information Systems expanded signature events while pursuing fresh partnerships for continued community service. The anticipated return of Technology Do’s and Donuts, in partnership with the Center for Learning, Access, and Student Success (CLASS), during Academic Resources Awareness Week was met with enthusiasm. Hosted in Tribble Courtyard, the Wake Forest community received “tech up” tech check ups, highlighting the myriad of technology resources the University offers. 

IS subject experts shared information around eduroam/wifi support, High Performance Computing (HPC) resources, cybersecurity safeguards, and user-friendly mobile expansions. Tabling events like Cybersecuriy Month, the student resource fair, and the involvement fair, brought face-to-face, high-touch service and real-time resources to students, families, and the broader University community. 

Donut logo for Dos and Donuts, with the words Peace, Love, and Sweet Technology since 1974 by WFU Information Systems.
Group photo of members of IS at Do and Donut's, posing with the Deac

The Bridge:
A one stop for friendly technology support, repairs and consultation

The Bridge, Wake Forest’s technology service desk located in ZSR library, received a modern rebranding. In collaboration with ZSR and Communications and External Relations, IS launched the new Bridge logo, Designed by Emily Gregg – Digital Strategy Manager, symbolizing the collaborative and future minded priorities of the space. The Bridge, staffed by technology professionals and Wake Forest student workers, offers information technology services from a Help Desk setting to create a central place for assistance with a variety of technologies.

The Bridge - Information Systems new logo designed by Emily Gregg
New logo for The Bridge
The Bridge birthday at the ZSR, which had cake, balloons, and a visit from the Deac

The Bridge:
A one stop for friendly technology support, repairs and consultation

The Bridge birthday at the ZSR, which had cake, balloons, and a visit from the Deac

The Bridge, Wake Forest’s technology service desk located in ZSR library, received a modern rebranding. In collaboration with ZSR and Communications and External Relations, IS launched the new Bridge logo, Designed by Emily Gregg – Digital Strategy Manager, symbolizing the collaborative and future minded priorities of the space. The Bridge, staffed by technology professionals and Wake Forest student workers, offers information technology services from a Help Desk setting to create a central place for assistance with a variety of technologies.

The Bridge - Information Systems new logo designed by Emily Gregg
New logo for The Bridge

Recognize. Inspire. Celebrate.
TechX 2023 Marks a Decade of "Techsploration"

Recognize. Inspire. Celebrate.
TechX 2023 Marks a Decade of "Techsploration"

TechX 2023 marked a decade of the technology exploration showcase at Wake Forest. In March, the conference featured 16 live presentations and 12 pre-recorded presentations around innovative technology themes. Meredith Mulhearn, contemporary artist and Wake Forest alumna and industry expert, offered a poignant keynote about the endless possibilities between tech, nature, and fine art, challenging attendees to consider how they might contribute to environmentalism. Following the conference, a Meet and Greet offered an opportunity for TechX presenters and attendees to mingle and exchange ideas. Later in the year, TechX earned a “Champion of Change” sustainability award, noting the program’s commitment to green leadership.

STAC:
Deac-facing, Deac-Led

STAC, the Student Technology Advisory Committee, focuses on improving the student technology experience. Students meet with IS staff monthly during the academic year, and share perspectives and guidance for the direction of various IS tools, services and initiatives. In 2023, STAC welcomed new undergraduate, graduate, and professional-studies members to the cohort along with the adoption of a new logo. Student experience centered the focus of the group, and STAC members offered integral student user feedback on Workday Student, prompting the creation of a mobile optimized app for the platform.

STAC members offered thoughtful perspectives on student technology needs, security training, social media, and community eventsorganizing the inaugural “Can’t Spell Tech without Tea” event which happened on March 31, 2023. In collaboration with the World Tea Association, Wake Forest students and campus professionals casually shared tech tips, questions, and concerns with one another over traditional tea and scones.

STAC students experienced mentorship through monthly meetings with IS staff, where they received insight about career potentials in technology, cybersecurity, and higher education. Research collaborations blossomed within STAC over 2023, with members performing academic research on the High Performance Computing supercluster. 

A STAC event poster beside a photo of people attending the STAC event

STAC:
Deac-facing, Deac-Led

STAC, the Student Technology Advisory Committee, focuses on improving the student technology experience. Students meet with IS staff monthly during the academic year, and share perspectives and guidance for the direction of various IS tools, services and initiatives. In 2023, STAC welcomed new undergraduate, graduate, and professional-studies members to the cohort along with the adoption of a new logo. Student experience centered the focus of the group, and STAC members offered integral student user feedback on Workday Student, prompting the creation of a mobile optimized app for the platform.

STAC members offered thoughtful perspectives on student technology needs, security training, social media, and community eventsorganizing the inaugural “Can’t Spell Tech without Tea” event which happened on March 31, 2023. In collaboration with the World Tea Association, Wake Forest students and campus professionals casually shared tech tips, questions, and concerns with one another over traditional tea and scones.

STAC students experienced mentorship through monthly meetings with IS staff, where they received insight about career potentials in technology, cybersecurity, and higher education. Research collaborations blossomed within STAC over 2023, with members performing academic research on the High Performance Computing supercluster. 

The Data of Belonging: Transforming the
Data Experience at Wake Forest

The Data of Belonging: Transforming the
Data Experience at Wake Forest

Modernizing our approach to data is essential as we place increased demands on it to support data-informed decision-making and use in new technologies such as generative AI. In 2023, the Data Analytics and Enterprise teams embarked on a journey to expand data capabilities with a specific focus on accessibility and literacy. A journey of many steps, this transition included the beginnings the Workday Student (SIS) implementation and construction of a new cloud-based platform to improve data availability and use.

Modernizing Data Platforms

Data across Wake Forest is currently decentralized and managed locally to support institutional workflows specific departmental needs. While decentralization benefits local needs, it makes gathering broader institutional data difficult and time-consuming. The demand for data is accelerating and will continue as Information Systems continues focusing on a more meaningful student experience and optimizing our institutional processes. Throughout this past year, the Data Analytics team worked as part of the SIS Implementation team to expand SIS analytical capabilities in Workday and the University institutional data platform. Over future periods, new data services and capabilities will be introduced to increase data availability and access while protecting data confidentiality. 

Meaningful connections

Workday SIS provided a unique opportunity to begin reevaluating how we approach providing operational student enrollment and records content to our analyst community.  Previously, we relied on third-party tools like Cognos and to a lesser extent PowerBI; however, the analytical content was directly available in our legacy SIS Banner.  Also, limits on the number of Cognos licenses available created an environment of codependency to obtain reports or data.  Workday provides reporting tools directly embedded in their application thus enabling authorized users to acquire the data they may need in a secure and easy-to-use method.  In addition, Workday has the capability to include non-workday reports, greatly expanding access to related data directly in Workday reports.

Enterprise Systems and Future of AI

2023 was a year like no other. Seeing that Workday is an Enterprise System, over 90% of the Enterprise Systems and Cloud Platforms team worked around the clock for the anticipated 2024 launch of Workday Student. Additionally, the team devoted significant effort to preparing the deployment of a critical behind-the-scenes tool called COmanage. This tool automates the assignment of Wake Forest IDs and the generation of email addresses for students. In the future, this functionality will be extended to faculty and staff.

Wake Forest University is in the process of building a new data platform that support student enrollment and record data as well as data from all across the institution that is relevant to data-informed decision-making. The new data platform uses the latest cloud-based technologies to capture, store, and publish data to the Wake Forest analyst community in a secure and accessible format. Transitioning to this new platform provides the ability to combine related data and make available to conduct advanced statistical analysis using our analyst’s tool of choice.  Wake Forest data is an institutional asset; and Information Systems is working towards building the capability to support both the current and future needs, including Generative AI and Language Processing.

Technology Accessibility:
Making Space for Every Deac

Technology Accessibility:
Making Space for Every Deac

In 2023, the Technology Accessibility team continued their work with digital accessibility as partnerships expanded and advocacy programs continued to mature. The Technology Accessibility Program’s (TAP) A11Y audio series launched in March of 2023 with five audio interviews showcasing inspiring faculty, staff, students, and short audio segments delivering quick info on accessibility concepts to our community. 

In January, TAP and the Accessible Content Working Group introduced the Technology Accessibility Glossary, a digital resource designed as a quick introduction to basic technology accessibility concepts. These definitions and examples are written in a clear, readable style, to welcome those new to accessibility or those with expertise, to join in the accessibility conversation.

In the spirit of advancing inclusivity, the TAP team worked in collaboration with the LGBTQ+ Center, CER, and Procurement Services to create braille and personal pronoun options for Wake Forest business cards. The Technology Accessibility team also expanded University-wide accessibility training and resources in several areas. In partnership with HR, CLASS, and Client Services, assistive technology quick guides were built to share essentials and to help emphasize the importance of accessible content for those who use assistive tech. Training for faculty on best practices was created in collaboration with the Office of Institutional Equity, and CLASS, and was offered in synchronous and asynchronous modes.

IS Introduces Workday Centered Procurement Process

Over the Summer, Procurement Services and Information Systems announced a transition to a new departmental technology purchase process. This process includes departmental devices needed outside of the typical four- year refresh period. In July, computer and tablet needs were purchased for the first time through the new IS Technology Internal Service Delivery Provider in Workday. Streamlined through this centralized, helpful location, the updated process is now used for new hire requests, secondary computing/tablet requests, work study computers, or other computing needs.

Computer Exchange

In its second year, eligible faculty and staff completed their computer exchange process at the WakerSpace. Through a streamlined, four year refresh process, Wake Forest employees can rest assured that all devices across University enterprise are up to date, modern, and secure.

Over 300 devices were refreshed.

a photo of employees at the computer exchange event at the WakerSpace

Techbytes:
An Information Systems Newsletter

Techbytes, the Information Systems inaugural newsletter, continued to share relevant, helpful, and timely tech resources, tools, and tips with our Wake Forest community in 2023. In addition to faculty and staff, Techbytes now reaches all students, both undergraduate and graduate. Visit our newsletter repository to learn more and consider subscribing in 2024.

a hand holding a phone showing the Wake Forest Eduroam logo within a TechBytes email

Visit our IT Strategic Plan

Future Minded. Future Focused. Please visit our IT Strategic Plan to learn more about our initiatives. We reimagined the plan to ensure our multi-year priorities position the University for a future in which data, digital content, and technologies play an integral role in research and teaching support.

Group photo of the IS team at the holiday party