ACAC Minutes, Wednesday, April 29, 2015
ACAC member Mark Meyer assembled the following minutes.
The meeting was held in the President’s Board Room. The meeting began at 2:03 p.m.
Agenda item 1: The future of SPSS at Canisius
After receiving a request from ITS in early April as to the extent to which SPPS is utilized in terms of basic and advanced packages and modules, Chuck Wigley announced at the April 8th meeting that the issue would be discussed at this April 29th meeting. An informal poll was taken by Chuck to ascertain use of and interest in SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) since licensing costs have risen about 15% per annum since IBM acquired this software in 2009. The cost for what we have will be about $16,000 next year and in an atmosphere of tightening budgets, it behooves the college to investigate need and use.
Wigley asked about use as well as configuration of the various modules or packages. He asked respondents to weigh in whether to keep both the base and advanced modules, or not.
Wigley received 17 emails and read excerpts from all of them in the meeting. Some of the excerpts are as follows:
fears that won’t have adequate tools to do quality research
dismantling SPSS would be devastating
SAS has already been cut from the college
off campus access is impossible
students can’t access SPSS for homework
R involves too much programming
may affect accreditation
A couple people have asked Wigley which part of SPSS are you planned on eliminating?
Clark said, SPSS saw a huge increase in cost and the perceived use. Fifty licenses of most of the packages. There is no way to see how many each package of SPSS gets used, only the major package. There are only 3 licenses for the Amos package, 20 for advanced stats. Over the past 4 years, SPSS cost increased 15% The cost a year ago was $14,000/year for this mixture of modules. Will be $16,000 near year.
Trying to renegotiate will cause a different structure, 40 of each, not X of some, Y of others. So this will cost more in the long run. IBM is not advertising what is in each package.
Clark said ITS can’t tell who is using it, only that there are X licenses in use. He said that dropping packages may cause a whole package negotiation. Sauer said text analytics add-on may be nice due to burgeoning research in social media.
Wigley noted that SPSS used to cost $3600 per single user. So the overall cost today is actually quite a sale.
Wigley asked about forecasting and Regression packages (esp., Hierarchical Linear Modelling). Both were mentioned as are ones to keep. Each module is $3000 to $4000.
Some have investigated a free alternative named PSPP but it may download viruses; going from simple to complex stats may be very time-consuming and burdensome. There is also a huge risk in using immature software, Wigley warned, noting that SPSS has been around since the 1960s and is very mature and field tested. Also, as more hierarchical models are likely to be used in research, SPSS is able to do them.
Other, similar software packages are in use on campus such as Matlab, but the user pools for them are quite limited and specialized. Meyers said that Math and Computer pay for the Matlab license. SAS Is no longer an option, and the status of Systat is unknown.
With all these questions and concerns surrounding SPSS, Deni said that there will be no significant changes in SPSS in the foreseeable future and Canisius won’t tamper with the number of licenses. There will be no changes in either the module set or the number of licenses.
At this point Meyer suggested that we go around the room and introduce ourselves, which we did.
Some questions were fielded at this time regarding software lists of what is available on the lab computers. Confluence (wiki) has the Mac list, Rusch said, it will be updated for Windows.
Agenda item 2: award
Wigley mentioned the exemplary service award that ACAC gives out every year. The qualifications for nomination are:
• 10 years
• nominated based on what they did beyond their work responsibility
• cannot nominate someone in your own department if you are a nominator
The current Award committee (receiving nominations) is Wigley, Meyer and MacVie.
Agenda item 3: ITS announcements
Get software changes for the lab Greg, Scott or Lisa by June 1, sooner if better. Please reiterate your needs, and mention new version of software. This will allow ITS to reduce the size of the machine images by removing unused software. Clark noted that right now on the Macs, there is almost 100 GB of just image on each computer’s drive.
The library renovation has sparked a big shift in how the library will be laid out. The physical presence of the help desk will be moved to Horan O’Donnell though student services will continued to be addressed at the circulation desk. ITS will cross train the students for majority of questions. More advanced stuff will be taken care of in Horan O’Donnell. Scantron forms must be taken to Horan O’Donnell.
Agenda item 4: FACTS center update
Leah MacVie spoke about workshops coming up this summer: D2L and Excel
She will put the end of semester checklist for D2L on the wiki (wiki.canisius.edu):
• gradebook see calculated grade
• export grades to personal archive
• if not repeating the course until a year later, export entire course
MacVie mentioned an encouraging conversation with SUNY Geneseo about the Confluence software. They are using it for all their committee work, planning, strategic and departmental, accreditation. MacVie said we are looking at Confluence as a place to save documents. Later it will be decided what should go into the Portal versus Confluence. Confluence items are searchable and linkable, and even the content is searchable, which is a major improvement over D2L and the Portal.
Mark Gallimore has crafted an email policy, per discussion in last ACAC meeting. Instructions for saving old emails so they don’t disappear under automatic purge are given and will be linked in. A policy document about email retention is currently in draft, he said.
Canisius.campus blog will be going away, they said.
Wigley thanked FaCTS center and ITS for attending and keeping faculty in the loop.
Adjourned at 2:55