Mississippi Public Universities
2008 Technology Winners
First Place: University of Mississippi
"An Automated Solution for Processed Transfer Work"
The University of Mississippi (UM) has taken a campus-wide approach to implement Equivalency Determination and Transfer Articulation in SAP. About 53 percent of undergraduate UM students have completed academic courses elsewhere. These courses must be recognized and equated to UM academic work to support the automated enforcement of academic rules such as prerequisite checking and degree audit. The project formally began in spring 2005 with an audit of external institutions, external courses, and transfer regulations. These were then entered into SAP in summer and fall of 2005, and are now updated on a continuous basis. SAP provides an equivalency determination transaction that automatically "equates" external academic work to UM academic work based on the transfer regulations that are active in the system. In fall 2005, the UM Registrar's Office entered transfer details for currently enrolled students, and the UM Admissions Office began entering transfer details for admitted students. By December 2005, equivalency determination had been run for the majority of UM students, and automated pre-requisite checking was enabled. Students, advisors, and dean's offices have access to a dynamically generated PDF Transfer Equivalency Report that lists transfer work for a given student and how it maps to UM work. Also, a publicly available Web interface lets anyone see how a given course from another institution maps to UM courses. This was an enormous project involving the academic community and IT, which paved the way for subsequent projects such as automated prerequisite checking (December 2005) and degree audit (May 2008).
Second Place: University of Southern Mississippi
"Sustainable Data Center"
The purpose of the ESX VMWare Virtual Farm project was to support The University of Southern Mississippi's vision to become a model of sustainable thought and practice within our state and region. The project allowed Southern Miss to consolidate servers and optimize its infrastructure through virtualization. Virtualization makes it possible to achieve significantly higher resource utilization by pooling common infrastructure resources and breaking the legacy "one application to one server" model. The project also allowed the university to reduce its physical infrastructure costs and operational costs. With virtualization, the university is able to reduce the number of servers and related IT hardware in the Data Center, which leads to reductions in real estate, power and cooling requirements, resulting in significantly lower IT costs. The project has resulted in improved operational flexibility and responsiveness. Virtualization offers a new way of managing IT infrastructure and can help USM iTech administrators spend less time on repetitive tasks such as provisioning, configuration, monitoring, and maintenance. The project has increased application availability and improved business continuity by eliminating planned downtime and enabling quick recovery from unplanned outages with the ability to securely backup and migrate entire virtual environments with no interruption in service. Finally, the project has improved desktop manageability and security. IT can deploy, manage, and monitor secure desktop environments that end users can access locally or remotely, with or without a network connection, on almost any standard desktop, laptop, or tablet PC.