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June 18, 1998
Energy Square Board Room
1111 "O"Street, Suite 111
Lincoln, Nebraska

Members Present: Bill Berndt, Chancellor, University of Nebraska - Medical Center, Omaha; Jay Jacobsen (for Dr. Robert Burns), Peru State College, Peru; Richard Gilliland, Metro Community College, Omaha; Uma Gupta, Creighton University, Omaha; Dennis Linster (permanent replacement for Don Mash), Wayne State College, Wayne; Kent Hendrickson (permanent replacement for James Moeser), University of Nebraska, Lincoln; John Muller, Bellevue University, Bellevue; Keith Bartels, Board Member, Lincoln; Susan Fees, Teacher, Christ the King Catholic School, Omaha; Terry Miller, Administrator, ESU #13, Scottsbluff; Art Tanderup, Teacher, Tekamah-Herman Schools; Alan Wibbels, Technology Director, ESU #10, Kearney; Kristine Wolzen, Superintendent, Arlington Public Schools

Members not Present: Jack Huck, President, Southeast Community College, Lincoln; Janice Dodge, Principal, Adams Elementary School, Omaha; Jeff Johnson, Teacher, Centennial School, Utica

Ex-officio Members Present: Dean Bergman, Administrator, Technology Center, NDE; David Powers, Executive Director, Post Secondary Coordinating Commission, Lincoln; Betty Schneider, Secretary, Technology Center, NDE

Others Present: Mike Winkle, Nebraska Educational Telecommunications, Lincoln; William Miller, Director, Division of Communications, Lincoln; David Wagaman, State Fiscal Analysts; David Clark, Academic Systems.

The fourth meeting of the Education Council of the Nebraska Information Technology Commission started at approximately 9:00 a.m. Alan Wibbels opened the meeting by having everyone introduce themselves and tell whom they represented. The minutes of the May 14th meeting were reviewed. It was noted that we should have an Executive Summary of the minutes, plus a complete set of the minutes on the Web. Art Tanderup moved that the minutes be approved, with the addition of the Executive Summary and a whole set of minutes on the Web. This was seconded by Sue Fees. There were some additions to the agenda. They consisted of adding a break and the resignation of Jan Dodge. The group needs to determine who replaces a member when there is a resignation. Do we appoint or do we go back to the NITC for the process?

At this point in the meeting Alan Wibbels gave his report on the NITC meeting held June 16, 1998. He informed the group that after a lot of discussion we really donít know much more than we did before. They see our role as one of facilitation and aggregation with hardware and software. Proposals for new state dollars will come to us first than to the NITC. This should be a simple process; not to hinder the progress. We need to get information required to evaluate the process. We are not to control but to leverage; keep things simple, facilitate rather than hinder. We need to evaluate all requests based on need. They must be supported by a Technology Plan; should be compatible with those of post secondary.

Dean stated that part of the charge is to identify needs for K-12 and Higher Education in technology. The funding proposals need to compliment those needs and reinforce that the needs are out there. Dean confessed that he was a little confused when he left the meeting.

At this time Mike Winkle and Bill Miller gave a report on the NITC positions that have been staffed. It was reported that Mike has been appointed the executive director of NITC. There are three positions that have been advertised and plans are to hold interviews shortly. There are two IT managers; one for this group and one for government group. Chris Hoy has been appointed as the manager for the community group. Bill Miller was appointed CIO for the state agencies. Mike will work with the education group. They have received 112 applications and interviews will be the first week of July with the hope of filling them by the end of July.

Next on the agenda was the approval of the form for submitting applications to the NITC Council. A draft was set up by a sub committee of the Ed Council. Dean informed the group that they took the NEB*SAT form and keyed off of it. The questions were similar to the NEB*SAT form and were aligned with the assessment document. The budget form is from the IRC/state government model; using a combination of the two. Some modifications on the form came from recommendations from the fiscal analysts office.

The form was exposed to the NITC last Tuesday. They thought it was a bit lengthy. They are looking for simplicity. Mike stated that the NITC took no formal action on this form at their meeting. The University of Nebraska expressed some concerns; stating they are already taking part in a budgetary process, why should we fill out additional forms. There were a lot of general comments that it might be too lengthy.

We talked to the Lt. Governor. We need to look at the actions of the other two councils. They put together forms of documentation they want to use and adopted it. The NITC had nothing to do with this. The point worth making is that no matter what goes before the NITC they will discuss it but they will not give any specific guidance on how the form should look, etc. If we had the appropriate staff in place, they would define the process and take it to the NITC. We are not going to get direct instructions from the NITC. We will get general outlines and deadlines when they have to be met.

We can do technical evaluations and risk assessment from the Universityís other forms. K-12 schools must file Technology Plans with the Department of Education which can also be used to do the risk assessment . We need to take this draft document and cut it down to make it shorter. There has to be some mechanism to file the documentation.

It was stated that there are no real concerns with the risk assessment document. We urge the group to read this. We need a draft that is made more for education; not the same as used by government. Keith commented that we knew other agencies that were using the risk assessment and so we modified it and then put together the other form so we could answer those questions. That is the reason for the length of this form. It was stated that we shouldn't make too much substitive changes; but cut it down to six to seven pages.

It was stated that we have to have a budget and that this is the simplest form seen in a long time.
David Powers stated that the budget page is the same Dave Wagaman and DAS are using for postsecondary. It appears to meet the legislative fiscal issues. This is the standard form that everyone will fill out; state budget form. We should leave it as it is; very pleased with it.

Terry asked that in terms of the questions what would prevent the K-12 schools in using their Technology Plans and summarizing their answers. Dean replied, Nothingî. They need to correlate these requests with their Technology Plans. Terry stated that it would be very easy for them to go through their Technology Plan and answer the questions. It would also help them with the risk assessment

Dean stated that you would not have to answer all the questions if they are not all applicable. It is designed for those institutions or entities that can't be interrupted for risk assessment; maybe this should be for those agencies that this can`t be done. It was suggested that this should be posted on to the third sheet.

Richard remarked that maybe we should use technology in providing and submitting these reports. We should be able to access this on the screen, respond, fill it in and send. There may be some who won't have the capability but most should.

The question was asked as to what qualifies for proposals in terms of the amount? What needs to be submitted as far as content and amount? We didn't get a good read for this at the NITC meeting. It was stated that we can make that determination.

Alan reminded the group that this document is for our use; it does not go on to the NITC. We compile a summary with a request to them with some recommendations from us. We may want everyone to write their own progress. On the K-12 side, if they are using the risk assessment we may need to give them a means by which they can answer the questions. Terry stated that it would be much easier to go through and have them give us a summary. It was suggested that we could make it web based and they can paste and cut, etc.

The question was asked ìWhere do we go nextî? A suggestion was made to send it back to the Sub-committee and have them revise it. The subcommittee agreed to take it back one more time and do some work in revising it. Mike will set the time and place for the meeting.

Dean asked how do we deal with marketing the need for educational entities to utilize our process and forms. We won't meet for another month. Do we need to meet again for the final approval or do we run with it? David stated that it is close enough to what we want; you guys simplify it and send it out.

The question was asked who evaluates the programs on the Risk Assessment document. It was stated that Bill Miller does this. The question was asked what do you do with the things that arenít' covered in the Risk Assessment. Bill stated that they are working on this. The government group will use the Risk Assessment document. It was stated that there is a tight window from September l5th to October 15th to score the applications and to add comments. We will probably learn a lot. The Statute is very clear in this.

It was stated that the applications will come to us; do we defer them to Mr. Miller. It was announced that Bill Miller, Director of Communications, will, as of July 1, be the Chief Information Officer. He stated that this is primarily for non-educational planning and policy. The IRTC group identified a timetable. I don't feel that I have any control or input on the Education group. He stated that we should look to Mike for guidance on this.

Mike stated that the time lines were set up by state budgetary process. They will be returned to this Council after the budgetary review and then on to NITC. They then come back to this group. The actual score on the Risk Assessment is not the final score. The question was asked who will conduct the risk assessment. Mike informed the group that a review group and the NITC staff will do this. This process has been put in place; we can put together a group here if you want. If we want to take a different process, that becomes a part of the discussion.

Kristine asked where does this Council fit in this process. Where are the dollars and how does the process work? It was stated that UNL is coming with a budget request. Does it go through this Council or is there a pot of money that is all technology and all proposals go through here. Where is the money coming from? What sources, etc.?

It was stated that these are new state dollars. We haven't really defined clearly what that is and where it comes into play. Your state aid could be considered new state dollars. The Lottery still needs to go through this process even though they are previously funded. Dean commented that this group accepts proposals for new funding. This group would then pass them on to the NITC and, they in turn, would pass on to the Legislature. It has to be technology related. They would request all new state money through this group. Keith stated that the original reason for setting this up was to make sure that the money was well spent. Mike stated that there is no distinction in Statute about education or any technology request related to state moneys. We have no way or the skills to evaluate the efficiencies. This sets up a process by which we can do some evaluation. It was stated that the activity of this group has a marketing spin. If you want new money for technology, you should go to the Legislature for the funding. There is a distinct advantage in going through this process even if it isnít necessary.

David commented that he supports Mikeís position. If the Legislature says you have no plan, how do we know if it was a right investment if you don't go through this review process? We need to get this going so it is appropriate. The question was asked if they can appropriate money without this process. The answer was, ìYesî.

Bill stated that the state agencies will submit budget plans and IT plans. Alan asked how do we get these back to us. Mike stated that they will get back to us if we decide we want them. It was stated that the first deadline is September 15th to have into the budget office. David stated that this keeps moving along very nice. We want a review process that they can trust. These go to the state budget office by September 15th and we get them back in time to make recommendations before the October 15th deadline.

Keith asked how does K-12 fit into the time line . Mike stated that if we are not meeting the time line, we are not going to be included. Keith remarked that we need to participate along with the established time lines.

It was stated that if the 15th of September is the deadline, the Board of Regents acts on their budget at their July meeting. So from this meeting, they have to submit it to this group and we give their proposal to the NITC, with our recommendations. It is then given back to this group to do prioritization and then back by September. This group is going to be very busy with UNL projects from August till September 15th. Mike remarked that this is not accurate. Bill stated that this time line is for the state agencies.

Bill then posted for the group the IRC model, which is as follows:

September 15th -- Budgets and IT plans due

September 16-October 15th -- NITC and CIO staff and Technology review
folks review and use for state group risk assessment model. Get core
and make comments

October 15th -- IT plans go back to work group or IRC and Commission
Council to be ranked

October 30th -- Work group prioritizes

November 1st -- Submit to NITC their recommendations and priorities

November 15th -- NITC must submit priority list to Governor and
20 working days - September 15th-October 15th (IRC Model)

Mike stated that there is an important point to be made; this is not a technology approval body. There is no information required here that any agency wouldn't fill out themselves if they were doing a technology process. They would be really assessing the project as they would anyway. This process, because of the timing of the legislation is getting a lot of attention right now. The opportunities down the road, are for this council to evaluate the needs in education and make new technology recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature. I would like to set up a review process to fit with those. We can do the same thing.

Kristine remarked that there is no cultural base for this at all for K-12. We don't do our business this way. Basically, we will be left in the dust for at least one year. Postsecondary must feel very comfortable with this. Burns stated that this is not true. If it comes out with a negative recommendation, it will not get funded. Kristine stated that K-12 folks are not going to the Legislature for additional funds. We set back and wait for grants to apply for; post secondary folks sound like they go to the Legislature for additional dollars.

Keith stated that we do our work between October 15th and November 15th. The Risk Assessment is not done before October 15th. Dean stated that it is not our role to prioritize. Alan commented if we don't do anything, just let NITC meet and we don't have to. David stated that it is not exactly prioritization; it lets the position of the Council be known

Dean stated that they use this group if the need is there. I don't think we are to prioritize. Mike commented are they going to prioritize? If you choose, as a body not to prioritize, NITC will.
Bill commented that IRTC fully intends to deliver a prioritized list to the NITC . NITC is supposed to take the input from the three councils and prioritize it and then move them forward. If we don't have them prioritized, they will be put at the bottom of the pile. Bill stated that it is up to the work groups to prioritize.

Dean commented that the purpose of NITC in the Statute and also the mission and vision lends itself to what we should be doing as a group. Bill stated that it is in the Statute, however. Dean then asked what is the purpose of the NITC and these work groups? How does it relate to prioritized funding? Initially, NITC was supposed to try and make efficient use of the technology infrastructure. They will look at proposals coming in and make sure they are sound in terms of need. How can we look at infrastructure and prioritize? Mike stated that the Risk Assessment document reflects this. Dean asked if this group comes up with recommendations for the NITC, what do we base them on. A proposal may come in for several million dollars and it may win out even if not correlated with the infrastructure as opposed to coming from K-12. Mike asked how is that different from right now. If we get rid of all this, everyone is back to the Legislature lobbying.

Dean stated that the prioritization list bothers him. We need to talk this through. If it is based on the Risk Assessment document and has nothing to do with cost, I may be more comfortable with that. If it is based on needs, I am highly supportive of that. We always have more need than dollars; we need to look at cost effective way to fulfill the needs.

Terry commented that we need to have technology advisory groups to assist us. We would look at the educational needs and then pass on to those technology advisory council people for them to identify the best way to support the need. This group is to look at the education needs and say we support; then pass on to others to give us advice on the cost effectiveness, etc. Dean stated that this is quite accurate. Alan commented that the time line seems very stringent. What is the scope of what we are to deal with? What is infrastructure? We ought to combine resources and spend dollars once instead of two or three times.

The question was asked why would K-12 and Higher Education need different infrastructure? Dave asked if Mike could brief us on what is the definition of infrastructure at our next meeting. I have never been sure as to what we are doing statewide on infrastructure; leases, etc. Mike stated he would be happy to do this. Dave commented that he might be able to inform us what to ask for. Mike stated that there are already groups involved in doing this. The question was asked when will these things mature? Mike stated that we have a contract in place. We are working to put elements in place for the Legislature on how to deal with state band width issues. He also stated that technologies are constantly changing. There are very few groups that say I want to buy this specific equipment. Dave commented that our assessment of each of the proposals could be according to what the state infrastructure plan is to be.

Kristine commented that she has attended all but one meeting; letís take a step back to the first meeting. Lieutenant Governor Robak talked to us about what do we want to see happen for the students of Nebraska. I have not heard too much about that. What do we want to see happen? What technology do we need to have that happen? We want to access information but also participate in projects and research; visually and voice. How do I go about doing that? It is the technology peopleís job to tell us how to do that. I wanted to place this on the table so we can talk about what we want our kids, K-12 and learners in Postsecondary, to be able to do. I think if we look first to what we are trying to promote and the method, we would be in much better shape. We are going at this the wrong way.

What is the scope of what we are doing and what is the process? Look to see if it is clearly defined in the proposal; what is going to happen for the students, etc. How will it be evaluated? Research is very critical. How clearly does it support the goals of the institution? We need to talk a little about the learner.

Alan asked what is our scope? Our infrastructure? Richard stated we basically want coordination among all the sectors; approval process. We need to think in light of opposition to the government bodies spending money. We have to have our act together; make some agreements, prioritize. If we don't do this, who will? The whole purpose is to have a multifaceted group of people. NEB*Sat does prioritize. They had requests coming in that were duplicative. We are in the same boat here but we are dealing with a different kind of technology. We have more freedom here in Nebraska. I think we need to get on with the process; how far are we willing to go. We are representing all different segments; we need to get together and set priorities. Bill stated that NEB*SAT has made some decisions that were not liked by all but decisions have to be made. Everyone does the same thing. Mike stated that this is NET's perspective. When the study is done, it is our intention as an agency to take the recommendations through this process; through education. Those type of expenditure issues are going through the education process very much like the NEB*SAT model. The recommendations are based on what the needs are for the institution.

Alan stated that we need to look at whether we want to adopt the modified Risk Assessment model for our group. Uma asked what our evaluation process is after funded? Is there any review in place after they receive the money? Alan stated ìYes, we would want to make sure they use the funded money properly.î Keith stated that the question is in the Risk Assessment document. Uma asked if we would ask what technology skills they have. The answer was, ìYesî. The comment was made that it seems strange that we review after the decision has been made.

Terry stated that they took their proposal through the Risk document and since it had been reviewed by Excellence in Education Council we used the Risk document to rank it. There were no problems. Distance Learning installation is digital; no problems. We represent 70 school districts and their concern is to do things right and whatever is done that there is quality and clarity in transmission. What is the cost? Can they afford it? I feel caught between the analog and digital conversation. At this point, we don't care as long as we get good service. Hopefully, NITC will make some decisions for us and help us in terms of competitive aspect of cost. We do not want to restrict Distance Learning capabilities. We want true K-16 seamless system where all students can benefit from Higher Education as well as K-12. If we take a narrow focus in our jobs as to education, we will be left behind. We need to look into the future and see what is best for K-16. I hope we can maintain that focus; adopt some stuff and get going.

Terry moved to accept the Risk Assessment document . Seconded by John Stoll.

Dean stated that if we are going to modify the form we have to make sure it is compatible to the Risk document. Terry moved to adopt both, with modifications. Seconded. Motion carried.

Alan commented that K-12 will have to make a big adjustment and look at the projects in a broader sense than we have. Dean needs to inform K-12 groups about this. Dean stated that K-12 is different in budget processes and timing then higher education. Terry mentioned innovation grants and lottery grants in the spring before this group set up. We don't want to set up a system that inhibits progress. The budgeting process at the K-12 level is out of sync with this.

Keith stated that we have a time line that fits with Higher Education but not with K-12. If a school board wants to put something before the Legislature for technology , they won't be ready to do this until the end of November. Mike stated that November 15th is when the NITC makes their recommendations. You may be able to modify after that date. The significance of the November 15th date is that it is in line with the budget recommendations for the Governor. It was thought to include in the State of State budget request in January. We are talking about new state dollars that are due November 15th. It was stated that we don't know what mechanism was used by education for the K-12 proposals that came to the NEB*SAT Council by November 15th. Mike stated that this came from Senator Hillman. Dean stated that K-12 will have to work around it; conform to the deadline as much as we can. We can review them later but they may have to go into the next year to be funded.

The decisions as to which grants are issued is under a different time line. Do we need to bring them through this body to prioritize the funding? Ken stated that he hoped this wouldnít be necessary. Alan stated that they are not new state dollars; we wouldnít have to deal with those. We will have to work closely with NDE.

Dean commented that if we conform to this time line we need to set our meeting dates around these time lines. Alan commented that would be correct. The following dates and places were set for the next meetings.

July 16, 1998--- 9:00 a.m.-12:00 Noon, Thursday

Dean stated that we might want to go to Uma's shop for the meeting; she has extended an invitation. She will send details and maps for the meeting at Creighton.

August 13, 1998--- 9:00-12:00 Noon, Thursday
Southeast Community College, Energy Square Office

September 16, 1998---9:00 a.m.-12:00 Noon, Wednesday
Elkhorn Campus, Metro Community College (Richard Gilliland)

At this point in the meeting discussion was held on the replacement of Jan Dodge. This is our responsibility. Dean will seek an appropriate replacement for her from the western end of the state.

The question was asked are we going to discuss the kinds of things we are to bring here. 98% of the discussion is distance learning. That is something that really comes forward from NEB*SAT and we feel strongly that they don't have to come here. I would like to see guidelines in that regard; don't agree with philosophy that we bring everything here. We need to be more specific in what we are going to take forward. Alan suggested that a smaller group come back to our next meeting with what should be considered and the dollar figures. Dean stated that if you are looking at proposals this might not be a good time. The philosophy of the legislation that passed states that new state general funds involving technology are supposed to come to this group. Whether we review everyone is another matter. We may want to set a dollar limit. It doesn't matter if it is Universal Service Funds, general funds, or whatever; doesn't have to be submitted here, but if you buy an uplink or downlink and want to plug into the state backbone the state will not pay for the connection if not brought through here first. This could lead to excessive costs and ineffective decisions. If you never want to hook up to the state, we don't care but if you ask to hook up and have bought technology that is incompatible with the state backbone, we will not pay for this.

David reported on the Western Governorís University. There is an information site up on the Web. The Smart catalog will be available July 1st. There are three pilots standing by to be listed as official providers of the Western Governorís University. They are University of Nebraska-Omaha, Metro Community College, and Central Community College. We are sending this information to all public and private institutions. Metro, Central, UNO and Chadron will be the local points of contact for the citizens in their regions. We want to have each state designate centers. The local centers might have very little traffic or a lot. There are a lot of new WGU programs being developed. Some have been sent to UNO and UNL. This is unfolding very rapidly.

At this point in the meeting David Clark, from Academic Systems, made his presentation on the Math and English courses offered by Academic Systems. The 9 MHEC states are negotiating with them for reduced rates on these courses.

The meeting was adjourned after David Clarkís presentation. The next meeting is set for July 16, 1998 from 9:00 A.M. to 12:00 Noon at Creighton University. Uma will get details of the meeting and maps to the members.


Meeting Minutes