of the

Thursday, February 5, 2009, 1:00-4:00PM CT

Host site: ESU 10, 76 Plaza Boulevard, Kearney, NE
Remote site: NDE V-Tel Room, 6th Floor State Office Building, 301 S. Centennial Mall, Lincoln, NE





Mr. Arnold Bateman, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Dr. Wayne Bell, Alt. for Dr. Bob Uhing
Dr. Michael Chipps, Mid-Plains Community College

Mr. Ron Cone, ESU 10

Dr. Terry Haack, Bennington Public Schools

Mr. Stephen Hamersky, Daniel J. Gross Catholic High School (Lincoln site)

Mr. Ed Hoffman, Alt. for Stan Carpenter, Nebraska State College System

Ms. Yvette Holly, UN Medical Center (via conference call)

Mr. Chuck Lenosky, Creighton University

Mr. Dennis Linster, Wayne State College

Mr. Art Tanderup, Tekamah-Herman Community Schools


LIAISONS/ALTERNATE MEMBERS PRESENT:  Dr. Kathleen Fimple, Alt. for Marshall Hill, Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education; Ms. SuAnn Witt, Alt. for Mike Kozak, Nebraska Dept. of Education.


MEMBERS/LIAISONS ABSENT: Mr. Clark Chandler, Nebraska Wesleyan University; Mr. Craig Pease, Ashland-Greenwood Public Schools; Dr. Eileen Ely, Western Nebraska Community College; Mr. Jeff Johnson, Centennial Public Schools; Ms. Linda Richards, Ralston Public Schools; Ms. Brenda Decker, DAS-CIO; and Mr. Michael Winkle, NET




Dr. Chipps called the meeting to order at 1:05 p.m.  There were ten voting members present at the time of roll call and Ms. Yvette Holly was on the telephone for information sharing purposes.  A quorum was present to conduct official business.  The meeting notice was posted to the NITC website and the Nebraska Public Meeting Calendar 12-11-2008.  The meeting agenda was posted to the NITC website 02-03-2009.




Mr. Tanderup moved to approve the February 5, 2009 agenda as presented.  Mr. Linster seconded.  Roll call vote:  Bateman-Yes, Hoffman-Yes, Chipps-Yes, Cone-Yes, Haack-Yes, Hamersky-Yes, Lenosky-Yes, Linster-Yes, Tanderup-Yes, and Bell-Yes.  Results:  Yes-10, No-0, Abstain-0.  Motion carried.




Mr. Linster moved to approve the December 4, 2008 minutes as presented.  Mr. Bateman seconded.  Roll call vote: Bell-Yes, Tanderup-Yes, Linster-Yes, Lenosky-Yes, Hamersky-Yes, Haack-Yes, Cone-Yes, Chipps-Yes, Hoffman-Yes, and Bateman-Yes.  Results:  Yes-10, No-0, Abstain-0.  Motion carried.




There was no public comment. 




There have been active online discussions among task group members.  The major links and pages are in place.  The Task Group will soon have the website available for viewing.  The Task Group is exploring resources to include on the web site, as well as determining how to organize the resources. 



Tom Rolfes, Education I.T. Manager


Mr. Rolfes informed the council about the following legislative bills currently introduced in the unicameral:

  • LB 393, Senator Adams - Change agenda provisions for meetings of the Educational Service Unit Coordinating Council
  • LB 465, Senator Christensen - Provide for videoconferencing and telephone conferences for educational service unit board meetings
  • LB 546, Senator Adams - Change school organization provisions [Changes Education Funds including Distance Education].  This bill will preserve monies for school reorganization from the lottery fund for two more years to provide schools an opportunity to participate.


Federal H.R. 1 American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) “Stimulus package” funding may make available money to provide infrastructure for broadband and wireless to unserved and underserved areas, and also renovations for computer labs in public libraries and community colleges. The exact amount of funding to states is still uncertain.  In the event that Nebraska would get stimulus monies, it would be good to begin now collecting telecommunications infrastructure data on Nebraska schools and colleges.  Governor Heineman, the Policy Research Office, and the Public Service Commission will be involved in the state’s effort to coordinate funding. Dr. Haack commented that he would like any state aid cuts to be offset with federal funds.



Ed Hoffman, State College System and Rory Weaver, Project Manager


Mr. Weaver informed the council that John Fiene, UNO, is the other Project Director but he was not able to attend the Education Council meeting today.  The following Project Executive Summary was presented to the council.

The 5625 O Street Facility in Lincoln has been acquired and equipped with:

  • 60 seat training room with full compliment of Audio/Visual equipment
  • High-speed internet and wireless access for project participants
  • Twelve ‘break-out session’ rooms with large screen monitors and conference call capabilities
  • On-site Technical and Administrative support and adequate free parking

CedarCrestone has provided 11 on-site consultants with additional off-site support

On-line Project Communication Center has been established and is actively being used for collaboration, documentation, communications, and participant interaction.

NeSIS Project Manager has been hired and is working directly with the NSCS and NU Project Co-directors and the CedarCrestone Project Manager. These four individuals, with supporting staff, constitute the ‘Project Management Office’

Each of the seven campuses have been visited by the CedarCrestone Project Manager to determine Campus Critical Dates for the project – project master plan being created.

Nine weeks of Interactive Design Prototyping (IDP) have been completed at the ‘O’ Street facility. IDP is the process whereby approximately 50 university and state college functional and technical leaders from all campuses learn the functionality of the PeopleSoft Campus Solution product then configure a prototype system for testing and deployment. IDPs require working through several hundred pages of workbooks and individual campus homework assignments.  

Academic Structure IDP’s have been completed, resulting in common definitions for Institutions, Student Records, Term Codes, etc.

Campus Community IDP’s have been completed. Among other things, these IDP’s define biographic and demographic elements of the new system; student self-service, residency, honors, athletics, etc.

Eleven Oracle/PeopleSoft Technical training sessions have been attended by NSCS and NU technical support teams (165 people). An additional three classes are scheduled.

Executive Steering committee is reviewing the final draft of the Project Charter.

ImageNow project implementation team and project plan under development (image processing, document scanning and electronic signature workflow capabilities).

Project leaders from all seven campuses attend Interactive Design Prototyping sessions


One risk to the project that has been identified is Network Nebraska connectivity.  Network Nebraska WAN and backbone circuits lack redundancy.  If the system goes down, institutions will not be able to conduct business.


Mr. Weaver and Mr. Hoffman entertained questions from the council.



Stephen Hamersky and SuAnn Witt


At the last Education Council meeting, the work group reported that after visiting with the Department of Education legal council and the Policy Research Office, it was determined not to pursue Erate eligibility for the Nebraska Pre-K population.  It would cost the state more to implement the changes than the Erate reimbursement would bring into the state. The Funding task group wanted to wait until the Network Nebraska marketing survey results were made public (as well as to find out what other task groups are doing) before determining next steps, but would like council members’ suggestions.  It has been almost a year since the task groups were formulated.




Ron Cone and Gordon Roethemeyer


The task group has been waiting on the Network Nebraska survey results to determine next tasks or steps of the task group.  Mr. Roethemeyer reported that the Distance Education Council has been addressing the video standard. The council met last week and they are pleased with revisions made to the standard.  It has been revised and is up for the 30-day public comment review.  The discussions regarding a statewide Learning Management System are still occurring.  The Distance Education Council has formed a committee to explore this issue and will be providing a white paper on the use of learning management systems.



Yvette Holly


The task group has held telephone conference meetings and has also been waiting on the Network Nebraska marketing survey.  Since Network Nebraska provides services to a large and varied group of customers representing government, education and health care, the Governance Task Group came to the conclusion that Network Nebraska should establish customer focused interest groups.  In addition, the Task Group recommends that the state CIO convene a higher education advisory group to provide customer input to Network Nebraska, especially from out-state Nebraska.  The CIO should convene the group.  The most immediate need would be higher education.  The task group requested a motion on behalf of the Council to the CIO.


Discussions followed regarding the issues and questions below:

§    Should the group be an Ad Hoc or a permanent group?  It was recommended that the CIO make that determination.

§   Should the group be higher ed, K-12 or a combination? It was recommended that the group be inclusive of K-20 education.

§  Timeliness for convening the group especially with the current I.T. projects and the potential for stimulus monies.  It was suggested to meet a minimum of six times per year.

§  Mr. Linster had presented approximately 75 questions and issues to the CIO.  It was suggested that these be addressed with the new higher education advisory group.

§  Mr. Cone stated that the LB 1208 project is developing a project charter for technical support and operations and there seems to be some duplication of efforts.


Mr. Linster moved to recommend to the Chief Information Officer to convene an ad hoc education advisory group for Network Nebraska-Education, with a minimum of six meetings per year, to represent all participating education entities statewide. Mr. Hoffman seconded. Roll call voted:  Cone-Yes, Haack-Yes, Hamersky-Yes, Lenosky-Yes, Linster-Yes, Tanderup-Yes, Bell-Yes, Bateman-Yes, Hoffman-Yes, and Chipps-Yes.  Results:  Yes-10, No-0, Abstain-0.  Motion carried.



(Members: Arnold Bateman, Chair University of Nebraska; Chuck Lenosky, Creighton University; Ed Hoffman, Nebraska State Colleges; Mike Kozak, Nebraska Department of Education; Rick Golden, University of Nebraska; Steven Stortz, Lutheran Schools of Nebraska; SuAnn Witt, Nebraska Department of Education)


Below are excerpts taken from the Executive Summary of the survey report:


The survey results indicate that users of Network Nebraska value the network services and cost savings and that there are potential opportunities to add new partnerships. As K-12 and higher education institutions become more reliant on Network Nebraska as the vehicle for delivering internet and educational courses, the reliability of the system has become critical. The low level of awareness among potential Network Nebraska partners is a major limiting factor in current network growth.


Following are additional key findings from Existing Network Nebraska Partners:

§         Among current partners of Network Nebraska, lower cost is identified as the number one strength followed by statewide access and collaboration.

§         Statewide connectivity provided by Network Nebraska increases access to synchronous video courses across the state.

§         Survey responders identified governance/leadership as the most limiting organizational factor in growing Network Nebraska partnerships, and it affects expansion of current services.

§         Consistent communication of accurate and current information on available services and support issues (provided by Network Nebraska) is lacking.

§         Reliability is perceived as strength by some Network Nebraska partners.

§         The single most compelling competitive advantage that makes Network Nebraska’s services distinctive and motivates Educational Service Units, public and private K -12 schools and public and private colleges to partner in Network Nebraska is lower cost, followed by shared resources, and statewide access.

§         Current partners responding to the survey identified shared resources, advanced technology/bandwidth, equity and opportunities as guiding principles or slogans that they believe Network Nebraska’s services should stand for in the hearts and minds of its partners.

§         Current partners responding to the survey identified help desk/support, faster internet and leadership/governance as priority areas where modifications to existing services or added services are most needed.

§         Some current partners that responded to the survey are recommending that redundancy be built into the network to insure minimal down time of the system.

§         Current users of the network want to have a better understanding of the network, infrastructure and more information related to Renovo scheduling.


Following are additional key findings from Potential Network Nebraska Partners:

§         Potential users responding to the survey indentified learning opportunities through increased collaboration and sharing of distance education resources as the greatest strengths.

§         The perception of potential Network Nebraska users is that high cost is an issue of concern.

§         Potential users responding to the survey said that cost and shared resources should be the most compelling competitive advantage making Network Nebraska’s services distinctive and motivating educational entities to become partners with Network Nebraska.

§         Access was defined as the most important service that would benefit potential partners of Network Nebraska.


Conclusions:  The survey highlights several areas of challenge and opportunity for Network Nebraska if it seeks to grow its partners and services.


1.       The survey indicates that Network Nebraska would benefit from improved communications to current partners and that potential partners lack relevant information about Network Nebraska in order to make informed decisions about becoming members of the network.

2.       The perception that the governance structure does not represent the stakeholders and that leadership and support services are inadequate to support future growth is a critical concern. Addressing these three issues is essential prior to implementation of strategies directed at adding new partners and services.

3.       Building a marketing campaign to increase awareness among potential partners should center on lower costs, shared resources, statewide access, and increased educational opportunities. Marketing campaigns need to be customized for individual target audiences.

4.       The prevailing perception is that the network continues to mature. Partners continue to expect additional advanced services and reliability. Further research is required to define what services should be offered and the willingness of partners to pay for these services.




1.       NITC Education Council Marketing, Governance, Funding, and Services task groups utilize the data to advance their groups’ objectives.

2.       Establish a steering committee of key stakeholders representing sub-sections with vested interests to guide development of network Nebraska leadership, services, and support.

3.       Marketing Task Group to take findings from the Marketing Survey Report and develop a marketing plan to be presented at the June 2009 meeting of the Education Council.

4.       Annually reissue the survey (with minimal changes) to evaluate the success of the recommended Action Plan(s) and ensure the future of Network Nebraska values.


The SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) will provide key information for strategic planning.

SWOT Analysis from Survey Data


Characteristics important to the execution and ultimate success of the project


Internal factors that could prevent the achievement of a successful project result

·         Reduced/shared costs

·         Bandwidth / Speed / Capacity / I-2

·         Statewide Connectivity

·         Technical experience & support

·         Leadership / Governance

·         Membership

·         Communication

·         Help Desk / Support


External elements helpful in achieving the goals of the project


External factors that threaten project success

  • IVC / Distance Learning & Collaboration
  • Shared Resources
  • Advanced Services
  • Training / Professional Development
  • Cost / Funding
  • Loss of control at local level
  • Redundancy / Reliability
  • Equity


At the last meeting, Mr. Linster suggested that the Education Council receive reports from the Technical Panel and CAP (Collaborative Aggregation Partnership).  Mr. Bateman stated that the survey indicated that there are customers in outstate Nebraska that have issues or concerns who feel they are not being heard.  All Task Groups were asked to use the survey as they develop and work on their action items. It was suggested to include a copy of the survey with the Educations Council motion regarding the advisory committee.


The Task Group asked for a motion to present the survey findings to the CAP, CIO and the Technical Panel.  Rick Golden stated that Network Nebraska has always wanted to get feedback from its customers.  He also reminded the Council that Network Nebraska has only a couple technical staff and has been operating through current University of Nebraska and State employees.


Mr. Linster moved to forward the Network Nebraska Marketing Survey Report, Conclusions and Recommendation to the NITC Technical Panel, the Chief Information Officer, and the CAP (Collaborative Aggregation Partnership) group. Mr. Tanderup seconded, Roll call vote: Bell-Yes, Tanderup-Yes, Linster-Yes, Lenosky-Yes, Hamersky-Yes, Haack-Yes, Cone-Yes, Chipps-Yes, Hoffman-Yes, and Bateman-Yes.  Results:  Yes-10, No-0, Abstain-0.  Motion carried.


Ms. Witt thanked Mr. Bateman for his leadership.  Mr. Bateman also thanked the committee members for their work.



It was suggested that all task groups re-evaluate their purpose and tasks as it pertains to the NITC’s Statewide Technology Plan Action Items and be prepared to discuss the following at the next meeting:

§         Has each action item been accomplished or not

§         Provide new ideas for action items, and

§         Provide input to other task groups




Tom Rolfes, Education I.T. Manager


The Erate application for the Network Nebraska Interregional Transport was approved by USAC on January 22, 2009.  Reimbursements on the backbone should start showing up on the monthly Qwest invoices.  Phase III will include the following school districts:

§         Hastings ESU 9 (17 sites) and Scottsbluff/Sidney ESU 13 (25 sites)

§         Lincoln Public Schools and Omaha Public Schools will also be joining.

§         ESU 3 office only

§         Grand Island Public Library (tentative)

§         Metro, Southeast and Western Nebraska Community Colleges

§         Peru Sate College

§         In addition, two non-fiber high school districts will be getting fiber for the first time (i.e. Sidney Public Schools, Giltner Public Schools)


It is anticipated that there will be a total of two hundred and twenty-two (222) sites on the network at the start of school, August 2009.  Lindsay Holy Family parochial school has no high bandwidth infrastructure but has requested to connect to, and join, Network Nebraska.  The Office of the CIO included Lindsay Holy Family in the Phase III RFP but there were no bids.  As a short-term solution, LHF will install two T-1’s into Newman-Grove High school so that they could receive a foreign language class.


The Office of the CIO has been working with UNL regarding Network Nebraska rates.  The internet usage across the State has doubled in one year.  The community and state colleges are finishing the year with 300 Mbps.  Nebraska’s usage is many times higher than states with similar K-20 populations.


Tom Rolfes


Phase IV will include the Southeast Nebraska school districts served by Educational Service Units 3, 4, 6 and 7.  In addition any interested non-public schools and/or independent colleges that are not already part of Phase III will be invited to participate in Phase IV.  A new map will be available at the next meeting.




There were no other announcements.



The next meeting of the NITC Education Council will be held on Thursday, April 16th, 1:00 p.m. The location will be determined at a later time.  Mr. Linster offered to host the next meeting at Wayne State College. For the next meeting, task groups were reminded to review the survey and be prepared to discuss the following: has the action item been accomplished or not, provide input for and to other task groups, and provide new ideas for action items.


Mr. Linster moved to adjourn.  Dr. Bell seconded.  All were in favor.  Motion carried.


The meeting was adjourned at 3:46 p.m.



Meeting minutes were taken by Lori Lopez Urdiales and reviewed by Tom Rolfes of the Office of the CIO/NITC.