GMU Faculty Senate Minutes - September 9, 2009





Robinson Hall B113;  3:00  - 4:15 p.m.


Senators Present:  Heibatollah Baghi, Sheryl Beach, Jim Bennett, Alok Berry, Rick Coffinberger, Jose Cortina, Betsy DeMulder, Kelly Dunne, Penelope Earley, Karl Fryxell, Frances Harbout, Margret Hjalmarson, Mark Houck, Dimitrios Ioannou , Bruce Johnsen, David Kuebrich, Howard Kurtz, Terrence Lyons, Linda Monson, Jean Moore, Janette Muir, Star Muir, Peter Pober, Earle Reybold, Larry Rockwood, Joe Scimecca, Suzanne Scott, Suzanne Slayden, Peter Stearns, June Tangney, Tojo Thatchenkery, Susan Trencher, Iosif Vaisman, Harry Wechsler, Phil Wiest, Peter Winant, Michael Wolf-Branigin, John Zenelis, Stanley Zoltek.


Senators Absent:  David Anderson, Rei Berroa, Doris Bitler, Phil Buchanan, Jack Censer, Vikas Chandhoke, Lloyd Cohen, Sharon deMonsabert, Yvonne Demory, Rutledge Dennis, Martin Ford, Jack Goldstone, Lloyd Griffiths, Jorge Haddock, Kingsley Haynes, Alan Merten, James Olds, Frank Philpot, Daniel Polsby, William Reeder, Pierre Rodgers, Jim Sanford, Shirley Travis, Nigel Waters.


Visitors Present:  Lorraine Brown, Professor emerita; Rick Davis, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education and Artistic Director, CFA/TFA; Pat Donini, Employee Relations Director/Deputy Director HR, Human Resources/Payroll; Kim Eby, Assoc Provost, Faculty Development and Director, Center for Teaching Excellence;  Esther Elstun, Professor emerita, Modern and Classical Languages; Kathy Gillette, Director, DoIT - Classroom Technologies ; Linda Harber, Associate Vice President, Human Resources/Payroll; Rick Holt, Trainer, Human Resources/Payroll and Vice Chair, Staff Senate; Susan Jones, University Registrar; Jennifer Korjus, Director, Learning Support Services, DoIT; Mark Kraner, Assistant Vice President, University Services;  Dorothy Lockaby, Head, Access Services, Fenwick Library and Vice Chair, Librarians’ Council;  Laura Phelps, Director, Organizational Analysis and Development, ITU; Sharon Pitt, Executive Director, DOIT;  David Robinson, Director, TSD - Client Relations ; Walt Sevon, Executive Director, Technology Systems Division (TSD).


I.          Call to Order:  The meeting was called to order at 3:00 p.m.


II.        Approval of the Minutes of April 15, 2009 and April 29, 2009:  The minutes were approved as distributed.


III.       Announcements

Chair Peter Pober welcomed everyone to the first Faculty Senate meeting of the academic year.  He

expressed his deep indebtedness to former Chair Suzanne Slayden, as well as to her predecessors, Jim Bennett and David Kuebrich.  He also thanked the new Senate officers:  Suzanne Slayden (Chair Pro Tempore), Star Muir (Parliamentarian); and Heibatollah Baghi and Penny Earley, (Sergeants-at-Arms).  Newly elected Senators Kelly Dunne (CHSS), Karl Fryxell (COS), Jack Goldstone (SPP), Margret Hjalmarson (CEHD), Terrence Lyons (ICAR), Earle Reybold (CEHD), and also returning newly elected Senators Dmitrios Ioannou (VSITE) and Bruce Johnson (SOL) were warmly welcomed.  Dean Jorge Haddock (SOM) and Director Jim Olds (Krasnow) are the new ex-officio Senators.  Rick Holt, Vice President of the Staff Senate, will serve as Faculty Senate liaison.  He also thanked Linda Monson for her work on a resolution to honor Mrs. Nancy DeLaski, which will be included in the agenda of the next regular Faculty Senate Meeting (October 7, 2009).  Professor Pober stated two principles he will use in conducting Senate meetings: 1) should discussion devolve into ad hominem attacks, it will be stopped; 2) if repetitive statements occur, we will move on so as to listen to as many voices as possible.


Faculty are encouraged to attend the Special Called Meeting on Budget Issues:  Sept. 16, 2009 from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. in Harris Theater.  The meeting agenda will be distributed later today.


Provost Peter Stearns presented a list of goals and issues for the 2009-10AY, adding that the list is not in order of priority.

·        Budget Issues:  The budget situation is difficult in FY09 and is expected to become more difficult in 2010.  There are a host of subsidiary issues, including the need to review out-of-state tuition levels, as well as in-state Masters’ degree tuitions.  GMU’s interactions with the Commonwealth of Virginia are both increasing and improving; however, the current budget stringency raises important issues about enrollment and general funding. The Provost also stated that he remains deeply aware of the salary situation. 

·        Enrollment and Growth: It is crucial to plan future enrollment targets carefully. For this academic year, enrollment is better than anticipated.

·        Alternative Income Sources:  Possibilities include private philanthropy, expansion of continuing education, and adding summer programs for high school students.  There are also many issues to consider regarding summer school.

·        Medical Education:  GMU and Georgetown University have just announced the launch of new Joint Bioscience degrees. (The Provost added that this initiative does not signal a GMU commitment to create a medical school.)

·        Global: The Provost will hold a faculty forum on international projects on Tuesday, Sept. 29 at 11:30 a.m. in the Johnson Center Cinema on the Fairfax Campus.  Activities are currently  underway in Korea, Russia, and the Middle East.  Among other possibilities, new consultancies with Vietnam are under discussion. The Provost envisions an increased enrollment of undergraduate and graduate international students, noting that this will provide the University with  both badly needed sources of revenue and enhanced international exposure.  These efforts will sometimes be done in coordination with other institutions.

·        SACS and QEP:  The SACS accreditation visit will take place in 2011; a lot of work on reporting will take place between now and then.  The QEP topic (Fostering a Culture of Student Scholarship) will command much attention. 

·        Other Undergraduate Topics:  The Honors College is off to a strong start, comprising 10% of the in-coming freshman class.  The University is again applying for Phi Beta Kappa membership, and also reviewing Phi Kappa Phi, another honor society. 

·        Inter-unit Degrees – There will be some work to develop new inter-school degree programs.

·        Diversity – On-going attention to increasing diversity: Corey Jackson, Director of Equity and Diversity Services, will oversee these initiatives.

·        Research Clusters:  Roger Stough, VP of Research and Economic Development, will help define and organize large research clusters.

·        Summer School:  To take a new look at summer school, including the possibility of adding a third semester during the summer months.

·        Loudon and Potomac Center:  The University needs to respond to tentative offers of property in Loudoun County.  The Potomac Environmental Research and Education Center is now in operation. This is projected to be a relatively small undertaking.

·        Three Administrator Searches:  for new deans in SPP and CEHD, and a Vice President for Global Affairs.

·        Impact of Capital Projects:  Work continues apace on opening new buildings and refurbishing existing units. The University has plans for enhancing energy efficiency.


Provost Stearns concluded that this list is intended as a helpful basis for discussion, but any such list will necessarily prove widely inaccurate.  At this point he asked for questions.


A Senator noted that the GMU Chapter of the AAUP recently sponsored a lecture on university governance that emphasized the importance of a strong faculty voice in decision-making. However, at GMU it seems that faculty are not included in the early planning stages regarding new initiatives nor do they have a significant role in the budget process.

Provost Stearns:  A Faculty Senate representative meets with the Budget Planning Team monthly, and receives interim briefings every two weeks.  A meeting will take place next week with Sr. Vice President Morrie Scherrens.  Some Senators want more representation in the planning process,

 and the Administration has not been unresponsive to previous requests. The Faculty Senate may decide what issues it wants to become more involved with.


IV.       New Business - Committee Reports

A.  Senate Standing Committees

Executive Committee – Peter Pober, Chair

The Executive Committee met last week.  There was also a meeting to orient new Senators.  Immediately following today’s meeting, members of the Senate Standing Committees need to gather into small groups to elect chairs.  Professor Pober thanked Provost Stearns and Dr. Scherrens for their helpful support for the up-coming special meeting on budget issues.


Academic Policies – Janette Muir, Chair

The Committee anticipates a busy year ahead, but it has no action items for today.  The Committee has been in contact with Provost Stearns about international initiatives.


Budget and Resources – no report.


Faculty Matters – Larry Rockwood, Chair

The Faculty Evaluation of Administrators survey is now posted on the Senate website.  Please contact us if you wish to receive a hard copy.


Nominations Committee – see V.  Other New Business


Organization and Operations – Susan Trencher, Chair

Some items pending from last year will be handled during the coming year. 


B. Other Committees 

General Education  - Rick Davis, Chair

Motion:  To append the following report on English Exemption Exam Results to the annual report of the General Education Committee AY 08-09.


English Exemption Exam Results, 2008-09 – May 28, 2009





Passed Portfolio

Passed Exam

Percent Passing

Attempted 07-08

Passes 07-08

English 101






34 (23%)

English 302







* There are 14 portfolios not yet reviewed and six exams yet to be taken. 


Discussion:  Professor Davis noted that this is a regular reporting requirement, nothing surprising is contained in it.


The motion was approved.


V.        Other New Business

A.  Elections

Election of the Secretary of the Senate:  David Kuebrich was elected unanimously.                        

Election of Members of Senate Standing Committees

 September 2009 Report of the Faculty Senate Nominations Committee


The Faculty Senate has charged the Nominations Committee to “provide, unless otherwise specified, a slate of at least as many nominees as the number of positions to be filled for each election conducted by the Senate.” In carrying out this charge, calls for volunteers are issued in June and August of each year to ascertain interest among faculty in serving on the various Senate and University Standing Committees. The slates developed by the Nominations Committee are subject to restrictions imposed when the Senate creates committees and specifies their charges. For example, only tenured faculty may serve on the University Grievance Committee and the Minority and Diversity Issues Committee; moreover, only Senators may serve on Senate Standing Committees, and each University Standing Committee must have at least one Senator as a member. Beyond membership mandates from the Senate, the Nominations Committee considers several factors in selecting nominees:  interest (volunteers who want to serve are given preference over people who must be dragooned ‑‑ but some dragooning can occur when no one volunteers); experience, i.e., length of service at Mason; unit ‑‑ one college or institute shouldn't have all the members of a committee; and  continuity ‑‑ especially this year when various initiatives are underway for SACS accreditation, especially those involving the General Education Committee; furthermore, the Athletic Council is undergoing an NCAA review. With these preliminaries in mind, the Nominations Committee offers the following slates:






Continuing Members:  Jose Cortina (CHSS), Frances Harbour (CHSS), Harry Wechsler (VSITE)

Nominees:  Sheryl Beach (COS), Janette Muir (NCC)



Continuing Members:  Yvonne Demory (SOM), June Tangney (CHSS), Tojo Thatchenkery (SPP)

Nominees:  Alok Berry (VSITE), Rick Coffinberger (SOM)



Continuing Members:  Doris Bitler (CHSS), Jim Sanford (CHSS)

Nominees:  Larry Rockwood (COS), Joe Scimecca (CHSS), Michael Wolf-Branigin (CHHS)



Continuing Members:  Mark Houck (VSITE), Jean Moore (CHHS), Star Muir (CHSS), Susan Trencher (CHSS)

Nominee:  Jack Goldstone (SPP)



Continuing Members:  Rutledge Dennis (CHSS), Linda Monson (CVPA), Pierre Rodgers (CEHD)

Note: Nominations must come from the floor – two vacancies.  Jim Bennett (CHSS) and Dimitrios Ioannou (VSITE) were nominated and seconded. 


Nominations were closed and a unanimous ballot cast to elect nominees to the Senate Standing Committees.


Election of Members of University Committees     

(Nominees in Bold Type are Faculty Senators)



Continuing Member:  Kristine Bell (VSITE)

Nominees:   Betsy DeMulder (CEHD), Marty De Nys (CHSS), Miriam Raskin (CHHS), Carmen Rioux-Bailey (CEHD)



Continuing Members:  Marion Deshmukh (CHSS), Bob Ehrlich (COS)

Nominees:  Suzanne Slayden (COS), Nicole Sealey (VSITE), Eddie Tallent (Admissions appointee), Jason Warren (CHSS)



Continuing Members:  Linda Miller (Faculty Athletic Representative – Chair), Sheryl Beach (COS)

Nominees:  Robert Baker (CEHD), Steve Klein (CHSS), Phil Wiest (CHSS)



Continuing Member:  Suzanne Scott (CHSS)

Nominees:  Suzanne Smith (CHSS), Cliff Sutton (VSITE), Mary Williams (CEHD), Roger Smith (CHSS)



Continuing Members:  Rick Davis (Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education – Chair), Kamaljeet Sanghera (VSITE), Carol Urban (CHHS), Peter Winant (CVPA)

Nominees:   Don Boileau (CHSS), Rick Diecchio (COS – Provost appointee), Kim Eby (CHSS/Associate Provost – Provost appointee), Doug Eyman (CHSS), Frank Philpot (SOM – Provost appointee), Hugh Sockett (CHSS), Claire Snyder (CHSS), Karen Studd (CVPA), Cliff Sutton (VSITE – Provost appointee)



Continuing Members:  Robert Johnston (SOM), James Maddux (CHSS), Walter Morris (COS), Elavie Ndura (CEHD)

Nominee:  Lloyd Cohen (SOL)




Continuing Members:  Michael Naor (SOM), Halaevalu Vakalahi (CHHS)

Nominees:  David Anderson (CEHD), Flavia Colonna (COS),  Jeng-Eng Lin (COS)




Continuing Members:  Rachel Bergman (CVPA), Prosenjit Mazumdar (SOM)

Nominees:  Amelia Rutledge (CHSS), Reeshad Dalal (CHSS), Earle Reybold (CEHD)




Continuing Members:  John Crockett (SOM), Susan Denham (CHSS), Karen Hallows (SOM – Provost appointee)

Nominee:  Margret Hjalmarson (CEHD)




Continuing Members:  Melissa Martin (SOM), Kamaljeet Sanghera (VSITE), Lynne Schrum (CEHD), Stanley Zoltek (COS)

Nominees:  Phil Buchanan (SOM), Star Muir (CHSS)




Continuing Members:  Ben Carton (CHSS), Sue Durham (CHSS), Aimee Flannery (VSITE), Anne Magro (SOM), Terry Zawacki (Director, WAC Program –Ex-Officio), Stanley Zoltek (COS)

Nominees:  Tom Owen (CVPA), Ellen Rodgers (CEHD), Daniel Rothbart (ICAR)


Nominations were closed and a unanimous ballot cast to elect nominees to the University Standing Committees.


Election of other Faculty Representatives                                           


Continuing Members:  Jim Bennett, David Kuebrich

Nominee:  Peter Pober was elected unanimously.


Faculty Senate Representative to PARKING APPEALS COMMITTEE

David Anderson (CEHD) was elected unanimously.


Faculty Senate Representative to the STUDENT SPACE AND SERVICES COMMITTEE

Bob Pasnak (CHSS) was elected unanimously.




Blackboard Usage and Faculty Issues:   Sharon Pitt, Executive Director, DOIT and

  Mark Kraner, Assistant Vice President for University Services. 

Last fall many challenges occurred at GMU as explained using the following power-point presentation:

Recap of December Incident:

Thank you for your feedback!!

What we heard:

What we’ve done:


Members of the Academic Technology Advisory Council (ATAC) are:  Nada Dabbagh (CEHD), Chair; Mark Addleson (SPP), Charlene Douglas (CHHS), Rebecca Ericson (COS), Jesse Guessford (CVPA), Chi-Hyon Lee (SOM), Glenda Morgan (Technology across the Curriculum), Brenda Mueller (CEHD), Kammy Sanghera (VISTE and Faculty Senate Information Technology Policy Committee), Scott Watkins (Libraries), Alok Yadav (CHSS), Jennifer Flagel (Office of the Provost), Laura Phelps (ITU, ATAC Co-Chair), and Jennifer Korjus (ITU).  Professor Dabbagh encouraged faculty to provide feedback and relay their concerns to their representatives.  Representatives have been asked to collect data at regular faculty meetings.  The Council is looking at many other technologies in addition to Blackboard .  Sharon Pitt has participated in the Blackboard Client Strategy Council, a world-wide group to get feedback, since 2005.  It provides a unique opportunity to discuss issues. 


How Blackboard has responded:


Your feedback is needed this year:  send ideas to  Also complete the Faculty Senate Technology Policy Committee’s Fall 2009 survey.

Professor Zoltek (Chair of the Technology Policy Committee) also urged faculty to provide feedback, and he noted that research is underway to look at alternatives to Blackboard.  Professor Pober noted that Joy Hughes supports research into other alternatives, and he encouraged faculty to contact the ATAC and Technology Policy Committees. The power-point presentation is also posted on the Senate website,(INSERT LINK)  and contains additional statistics about the number of Course Folder Requests per FY,the  number of Support Contacts per FY, and SCHEV-defined Peer Use of LMS.


Professor Pober then introduced Mark Kraner to discuss problems with the Onecard system, purchased from AT&T.  Last week (Monday night), something happened on the system.  Cash registers and copy readers could not talk to the server, causing a traffic jam.  The BB support team could not see what was happening from Phoenix, Arizona.  Therefore, the staff decided to shut down credit-card transactions for fear of duplication of charges.  Problems continued to occur all week, but on Monday night the system turned itself back on. The source of the problem is still unclear.  GMU has three credit-card point-of-sale systems:  two of these, ALOHA and MICROS, were not affected by this breakdown. The staff is continuing to explore what may have happened so it does not happen again. This software is at the end of its lifecycle. GMU must make sure that its cash registers meet PCI compliance (that is, credit card industry standards) by July, 2010.  Among PCI compliance requirements are the removal of any social security numbers on servers, as well as credit card numbers.  Currently staff are also sorting out data on student meal plans to make sure no double-billing occurred. 


Professor Trencher pointed out that the copy machines were recently down for at least a week. This system failure also affected “e-reserves.”  Another concern is that it costs more for faculty members to make copies at a machine without using the department copy card. This policy is costing departments money better spent elsewhere. It would be helpful if the Administration would review how departments pay for contract items.


On a different issue: Speaking as a member of the Food Committee, Professor Trencher noted that in the past faculty have received communications informing them of discounts.  Last year such discounts allowed faculty to have a $5 lunch. This year, the cost of lunch is $7-- with less food.  And (another issue) parking rates have increased.  Mark responded that he would be happy to provide more information about copy servers electronically, and will meet with dining services about the latter question. 


Voice Mail and Telephone Issues:  Walt Sevon, Executive Director, Technology Systems Division

Mr. Sevon provided a written report which includes detailed information about Network and Telecom Outages since January 1st (Attachment A).  Problems with the campus phone system began in May, affected by the new voice-mail system.  Nor were the Blackboard maintenance contractors network-savvy.  Many problems occurred in August, as “Symposium” (a new product) did not interact well with Call-Express, the campus call-switching system.  Right now most things are working, but there have been some very strange problems with calls originating off-campus.  Mr. Sevon is arranging for out-side experts to review our Symposium system and how it relates to Call-Express.  It takes time to refine new systems, but if the problems with Symposium cannot soon be corrected, GMU will find a new system to replace it. 


A Senator noted that there have been a lot of problems with phones at the School of Law.  Mr. Sevon suggested that faculty and staff call or email him ( about specific problems.


VI.  Remarks for the Good of the General Faculty

Esther Elstun thanked Professor Pober for the distribution of the announcement about the death of Professor Jeffrey Chamberlain, University Marshal and Chair of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages. 


A Faculty Showcase Concert will take place this Friday, September 11th, at 8:00 p.m. in the Harris Theater.


VII.  Adjournment:  The meeting adjourned at 4:17 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,
David Kuebrich















Information Technology Unit/Technology Systems Division

4400 University Drive, MS 1B5, Fairfax, Virginia 22030

Phone: 703-993-3401; Fax: 703-993-3403



To:  Faculty Senate

From:  Walt Sevon, Deputy CIO and Executive Director, TSD

Date:  September 9, 2009

Subject:  Network and Telecom Outages since January 1, 2009


I have included a list of network and telecom outages below that have occurred since Jan 1, 2009. I have separated them into four categories and listed typical actions that we take to resolve the issues and reinstate service. I have included all outages even if they affected only a small segment of the network. This should give everyone a fairly good idea of the problems and why the problems occur.


I have also attached a document that lists the communication strategies we currently use or are preparing to use to notify the Mason community of network, telecom, server, and application outages.


If there are any questions please feel free to contact me by email at or by telephone at 703.993.3548.



1.  Hosted Services that Sometimes Fail: 


Feb 10-12: Data & voice outage to Mercatus Center expansion site in Arlington

Caused by Verizon T1 outage; service restored by Verizon after 48 hours downtime.


Mar 18: Data & voice service outage to CIT building

Cause: Telecom carrier circuit outage; Verizon reset equipment and cleared the problem.


June 2: Data and voice service outage at Hemlock Overlook, caused by problem with telecom carrier link. Service restored by Verizon.


July 20: Data network link outage to Mercatus Center expansion site in Arlington. Service restored after Verizon repaired the circuit.


Aug 25 – Sep 4: Blackboard Transaction System that supports the cash registers in the food venues on campus and the copy card readers.


Typical Actions: Work closely with vendor service center and assist vendor in troubleshooting the service as requested by the vendor.


2.   Hardware/Software that Sometimes Fails  (e.g. routers, bridges, servers, applications, etc.):


Jan. 6: Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) failed causing a data network outage in Thompson Hall and the Original Quad area.


Jan 20: Loose connection to the CATV power supply in SUB I resulted in a CATV outage to the Student Apartments and academic buildings on North end of campus.


Feb 5: Power outage to S&T II caused one of the LAN switches to lose its configuration and a data network outage on the first floor of S&T II


Feb 13: A Local Area Network (LAN) switch failed in S&T II causing a data network outage to part of lower level of S&T II.


Mar 31: Fiber converter failed in the Aquatic & Fitness Center causing a data network outage.


Apr 3: Power outage in Innovation Hall caused router problem resulting in a data network outage to various networks in Fairfax.


Apr 12: UPS failures caused equipment outage during electrical maintenance work in the GMU Police building and Innovation Hall (IH) network services resulting in a data network outage to the above network and the Residence Hall Network (ResNet).


Apr 13: LAN switch failed on the second floor in the Performing Arts resulting in a data network outage.

May 4: UPS failed on the second floor of King Hall resulting in a data network outage.


May 19: Several Windows servers became unreachable due to routing problem with network protocol. Cause unknown at the time, later suspected to be due to bug in vendor software.


May 23: Data network outage in Performing Arts due to excessive broadcast frames The cause was unknown but service returned after uplink port was reset.


June 1: LAN switch failure caused data network service outage in Warehouse building.


June 3: Data network outage at Mason Enterprise Center due to UPS failure.


June 9: Power outage in Arlington caused network service interruption to Truland building. Network service was restored after power was restored.


June 12: Data service outage on the first floor Krasnow caused by tripped UPS breaker.


June 15: Data service outage, first floor Krasnow caused by tripped UPS breaker. UPS was reset, service restored.


July 22:  A faulty blade in LAN switch failed on the third floor of the Engineering Building resulting in a data and voice network outage.


Aug 6: DHCP service (provides computer addresses) outage caused by IP management system failure. Suspected cause was vendor software bug.


Aug 10: LAN switch failed on Research I third floor resulting in data and voice network outage.


Aug 12: Data network service outage to multiple buildings and services on Fairfax campus after Internet Protocol (IP) management system upgrade. Maintenance activities were not expected to affect service but problems were experienced with DNS and DHCP services (services that provide computer addresses) after the upgrade.


Aug 13: LAN switch failed on the third floor Research I resulting in a data and voice network.


Aug 18: Widespread data network outages due to unusual routing failure, traced to vendor software bug in core routers.


Typical Actions: Replace or reset failed equipment. Work with vendor to fix software problems or revert back to known good software. Provide additional training on software.


3.  Installation of a new product where the new product has bugs in it and service fails:


Feb 10-11:  Core Data Services Outage (Admin systems & some DHCP). NET security engineers determined that the Intrusion Detection and Prevention (IDP) feature on an enterprise core firewall appeared to have been activated and was selectively blocking services. Firewall engineer reconfigured the firewall to bypass the IDP blocking function. Root cause traced to vendor software bug.


Apr 16: Routing software failure resulted in a data network outage in Thompson Hall.


Apr 21: A router software failure in the University Townhouse offices resulted in a data and voice service outage. 


Telephone System Outages: Weeks of 5/13 – 1 outage; 6/17 – 2 outages; 6/31 – 2 outages; 7/5 – 2 outages; 7/12 – 2 outages; 7/29 – daily outages; 8/2 – 8/14 – 2 or 3 outages per day.  Outages caused by poor integration of CallXpress (new voice mail system) with Mason’s Nortel telephone switch.


Symposium Call Center Manager – Aug 3 – Aug 27 … Symposium started exhibiting problems when CallXpress was activated but still works for the majority of Symposium users. However, it failed in the Registrar’s Office the week of Aug 23 and only when CallXpress and Symposium were taken off the Registrar’s system on Aug 27 did their system start working effectively.


Typical Actions: Work closely with the vendor to identify and resolve the software problems. Reconfigure the system architecture to work around the problems. Challenge the vendor to fix the problems or revert back to an older system if the vendor does not meet the performance objectives. Reset the equipment.


4.  Operator Errors (that's where we make a misjudgment; for example, when we did the maintenance/upgrade that affected network services or the university cuts a cable):


Feb 5-6: SSL certificate expired on load balancer causing a Patriotweb outage.


Mar 12: Data network outage in Original Quad area of Fairfax campus traced to Mason employee unauthorized installation of a network device which interrupted DHCP service to the area.


May 5: End user connected unauthorized equipment to network causing a data network slowdown to the Fenwick Library third floor.


May 15: Security researcher in Research I connected a server to the network which inadvertently took down network service in much of the building for about three hours.


May 21 Partial data network outage in north end residence halls due to router configuration error during maintenance activities.


May 24: End user connected unauthorized equipment to network causing a data network outage in Performing Arts.


May 26: Some classroom Crestron ports identified as not working; the ports had not been connected to the designated network, so were unreachable when the planned network and security changes were implemented. Ports were moved to the appropriate networks.


June 4: Data and voice service outage on second floor of Engineering Building after building power outage caused LAN switch to lose its configuration.


June 11: End user connected unauthorized equipment to network causing a network service outage in part of Truland building.


July 27: data network outage on the first floor of Robinson Hall caused by customer-attached rogue router disrupting DHCP service.


Typical Actions: Provide additional training to network engineers. Educate end-users who connect equipment to the network in an incorrect manner as well as educate end-users on university policy. Place software renewal dates into the change management system to automatically notify TSD personnel when the software licenses need to be renewed.

TSD Messaging Strategy: Communication of Planned and Unplanned Outages


ITU Distribution Channels and deployment Strategy


Push Channels – mediums that are used to send, or make available, a message to the entire Mason community or subset (faculty, staff, or students)

Pull Channels – mediums that require users to self-subscribe to the channel or are used lists managed by an administrator


Push Channels

Online: University-wide distribution for communication of a significant system outage

·         E-files Alert  (non-ITU Managed)

·         Mason E-Mail


·         Mason Voice Mail

Online: University-wide Access – ITU Managed Primary Integrated Information Access Points

·         Mason Alerts – ITU Alerts:  The capability to send outage information to text message enabled cellular phones, personal digital assistants, (PDAs), pagers, personal and university e-mail accounts, telephones, and voice mail.

·         Support Center Alerts and Outages and Systems Status web pages:  Initial communication of system performance issues, status updates and planned outages information  (Deployed the week  of 9/14/09)

·         ITU Event Calendar: planned outage/change management tentative dates and details   (Deployment the week of 9/14/09)

·         myMason Portal: Reposting of significant status information the Announcements section  (Front page)

·         Support Center Systems Status web page:  Indication of systems health with links to updates of systems status information  on the Outages page(Deployment  the week  of 9/14/09)

o        Link to systems metrics (Deployment 10/1/09 in phases)


Pull Channels – User Group Focused

E-mail: Limited Distribution for Specific Groups – User Opt-In

·         ITU  Alerts listserv

·         Telcom Coordinators listserv

o        Other ITU distribution lists for specific groups

Planned /Unplanned Outage Process (implemented TSD in late July 2009)

·         Outage Reporting Process:  “How to Report and Outage” process posted on ITU Support Center web site (Deployment 9/14/09) (E-Files communication 9/14/09)

·         Change Management web pages on ITU Support Center (Deployment 10/1/09)

·         Revised ITU Support Center web site (Deployment 10/1/09)



For comments or questions, contact David Robinson, 3-9744,