Keynote: Are we unique? A study in Higher Education IT

Higher education IT seems to think it is unique but is it? What exactly is the unique value? Seemingly a lot of what higher education IT has traditionally done is now able to be successfully outsourced. At the same time in some areas we can barely seem to keep up with few if any commercial options. In a talk burdened with excessive analogies and perhaps the occasional velociraptor we will try to figure this out.
Spoiler alert – I don’t have the answers but you might.

Wallace Chase

What it Means to be an IT Professional at UW-Madison – Continuing the Discussion (30 mins)

Take an active role in shaping what it means to be an IT Professional here at UW-Madison. Participate in this small group report out and interactive session led by the UW IT Professionals steering team. We will be revisiting and brainstorming actionable items from our Guidelines, Best Practices and Advice for IT Professionals living document. This document was created in part from feedback gathered at the “What it Means to be an IT Professional at UW-Madison” held at the November 2016 IT Policy Forum.

Sara Tate-Pederson, Laura Grady, Jason Erdmann, Gary De Clute, Sue Weier, Crague Cook

Don’t Panic! Success is a bigger target than you think (30 mins)

Someone has handed you a project—actually just an idea and a deadline—and you’re not really a project manager or business analyst. How can you set everyone up for success, without losing your minds in the process? This panel discussion with two BAs and a PM from the CIO’s Office PMO will leave with you some essential concepts and pro tips to help you get from almost zero information to a scope, some high-level requirements, and a realistic budget and schedule that tilt the odds of success
in your favor.

Key Session Takeaways:

  • Success – What is the real problem or opportunity?
  • Scope – Agreeing on what we’re not doing (and doing)
  • Requirements – Understanding and describing possible solution capabilities
  • Estimating – effort, budget, schedule, and what if it won’t fit?

Robert Merrill, Shannon Larson, Tamra Dagnon

Eyes on the Prize – Building & Steering Your Team Towards Project Success (30 mins)

How do I manage relationships, risk, and change? How do I define success? What tools should I use? What methodology best fits my project?

Project managers and business analysts will share strategies for building your team, shaping and communicating risk, and dealing with the “I didn’t see that coming” moment!

Key Session Takeaways:

  • Relationships – building a successful project team
  • Risk – establishing a proper risk management policy and/or framework
  • Change – managing change; recognizing the difference between organizational change management and change within a project
  • Success – what makes a team and project successful?
  • Tools / Methodologies – identifying what works best for you”

Patrick Hare, Brian Goff, Jeanette School

How to make campus data work for you (15 mins)

Today, there is little reason to hand-enter information about people who are part of the campus population. This talk will cover what person data is available, campus data sources, and how to request access, and will present a use case from Engineering.

James Drews

A No-Code Guide to Automation (15 mins)

With an array of application building platforms, macro recorders, and service integrations, it is easier than ever to build automated solutions without the need to ever touch code; clicks not code. In this session we will discuss tips, tricks, and tools to create customized automation. Get more of your busy work done with less effort using low to no cost automation software and services.

Jonathan Henkel

Leveraging Campus API’s with Vue JS (30 mins)

There are a lot of data API’s out there and modern javascript frameworks are a great way to use those API’s to create amazing experiences. We will use Vue JS to make a great informational display with contextual information, no content to maintain, and built with flat files so it is web stack agnostic.

Al Nemec

Git 101 (30 mins)

Git is the most popular version control system in the industry. Tools built on git provide integrated automation of workflow and are becoming core technology for all of IT. Understanding git   from usage of the basic commands, to walking through a simple workflow for collaboration, and touching on a few of the fancier features will prepare you to make the most of git. This talk should be helpful for version control newcomers or users of other tools like Subversion, CVS, and Mercurial, working on software at any scale in any language.

Paul Erickson

Microsoft Always-On VPN: a seamless VPN experience for users? (15 mins)

People want to use their laptop as their primary computer no matter where they are (in their office, around campus, at home, or travelling). And they want all the services, support and security we provide for desktop computers. Microsoft Always-ON VPN promised to provide the holy grail of seamless always-on secure connectivity without non-technical users having to do anything new (just login as usual). We’ll share what we learned in this adventure., and how it is working for our end-users and IT staff.

John Perkins

Using Windows Domain Accounts on Linux: Closing an SSH Key Authentication Security Gap (15 mins)

Scott Nolin

How to manage your Windows 10 desktop upgrades with System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) (30 mins)

SCCM provides several ways you can manage your Windows 10 infrastructure. Discover alternatives to Windows’ Long Term Servicing Branch and become the master of when and how your machines upgrade to the newest version of Windows.

Charlie Maurice

Mountains Back To Molehills: Reducing Complexity & Confusion In Our Systems (30 mins)

Many of us plan (or hope) to make big improvements in our systems every few years through good system design decision when we upgrade or replace them. Big changes are risky and disruptive, and we often run out of time. We also have the opportunity nearly every day to make small improvements, if we recognize them. The Law of Conservation of Complexity says that  some complexity actually helps us out, because, despite what we think or say, we don’t actually want simplicity. We’ll look at dependencies and loose coupling of systems, and things we can learn from UX and software development folks. We’ll talk about the Trojan horses vendors try to give or sell us using the great lie of TCO, and how there’s no such thing as free. On top of all of it we’ll use some of our own historical systems & interesting choices to illustrate all these topics and help us find some practices to better our daily lives.

Bob Plankers

Quick and Practical Web Accessibility Testing for First Impressions (30 mins)

Web sites and applications need to be accessible and usable. Getting quick, practical feedback early and often in the development or acquisition cycle can make the end result much better, and the process much easier for all involved. This session will demonstrate a process of quick and practical testing using the keyboard, visualization tools, a bit of accessibility knowledge, and free screen readers to quickly, but generally, assess how well a site was designed and what might be the experience for users who have disabilities or use assistive technology. This process does not take the place of more thorough testing, end user testing, or compliance checking, yet can provide the IT professional and their team with valuable preliminary info.

Todd Schwanke

Low-Effort, and effective UX techniques for busy technologists (30 mins)

Discovering evolving user expectations through regular interviews with end-users has helped the MyUW team deliver a web application for thousands of diverse users that receives high user satisfaction ratings. We will discuss performing basic user experience interviews, recruiting participants, setting up a user interview, and asking the right questions.

Jim Helwig, Maria Dahman, Jess Jones

How Much Javascript? (15 mins)

Javascript can help with great interactive web experiences, but can also needlessly bog down performance and functionality. This session will be about striking a reasonable balance between server side and client side functionality.

Tony Tallmadge

Bringing Continuous Assurance to your code with the SWAMP (15 mins)

The Software Assurance Marketplace (SWAMP) is a publicly available, open source, no-cost service that provides continuous software assurance capabilities and static code analysis to developers. Using multiple tools to regularly scan software is the cornerstone of continuous assurance – the practice of integrating software assurance into the continuous cycle of software development. Offering over 30 static analysis tools and support for 10 programming languages, the SWAMP’s high throughput computing infrastructure handles a large volume of assessments.

Try the SWAMP on the web at or download SWAMP-in-a-Box, a standalone application for on-premises software assurance. Plug-ins are also available for Eclipse, Jenkins, and Git/Subversion.

The SWAMP project is funded by the Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology Directorate and is a joint effort of four research institutions – The Morgridge Institute for Research, Indiana University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Learn more at

Bart Miller

A Collaboration Story: Cross-departmental school-wide development project.

A panel discussion regarding lessons being learned from a cross-departmental development project within the School of Medicine and Public Health. Representatives from Department of Surgery, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, and the Office of Strategic Consulting talk about experiences with deploying software developed for single departments to the entire school. Issue-reporting, end-user support, shared infrastructure, and LOTS of communication all play a part.

Jim Thompson, Justin Knupp, Don McDermott

Inbox Zero – How to stay on top of an overwhelming email inbox (5 mins)

“I don’t get enough email” — No one, never.

In today’s paperless world, we rely on email for nearly all of our communication. Constantly sorting through an ever-growing stack of emails can be overwhelming. No matter how organized you are in other aspects of your life, email typically just sits where it arrived until some unknown future date when you realize you just don’t need it any more. Instead of giving up and just letting the pile grow and grow, we can use real world strategies for de-cluttering our existing inbox. Once we’ve overcome the initial hurdle, we can structure our inbox to incentivize frequent incremental filing in the future. Whether you receive one email a day or one thousand, you’ll be able to confidently stay on top of your inbox.

David M Sibley

IT Isn’t Wrong #2 (5 mins)

A take off of Jeff Ballard’s talk last year explaining some of the political issues that arise when incentives for executing IT across campus vary.

Additional perspective from within DoIT service team structures, the influence of UW-System and cross-campus IT collaborations are covered as well.

Phil Jochimsen

Communication Tips for New Project Managers (5 mins)

This flash talk will provide quick insights in effectively communicating with the variety of audiences that need to exchange information regarding the project you are leading as the PM.Audiences will be varied, expectations different, and the PM’s role will constantly be changing across stakeholders and the needs each will have throughout your project’s lifecycle. This chat will provide a couple of tips to help, and maybe some things to avoid, as you enter into a PM role.

Tim Doyle

Pass the Paper (5 mins)

Pass the Paper is a collaboration pattern for getting fast, peer-reviewed feedback on a set of text or graphic work products. It reduces groupthink, gives introverts an equal voice, and minimizes listener errors in note-taking. And it’s fast—we’ve seen a half-dozen people absorb and improve several dozen user stories in an hour.

Pass the Paper is People-Powered Parallel Processing for your lean/agilesoftware or other knowledge-work team. This flash talk will show you how it’s done.

Robert Merrill

Fast 5 Project Management Tips for Non-project Managers (5 mins)

5 quick tips to project management for non-project managers will include simple tips to create consistent communication, status, tracking, transparency, and success for your projects.

Tony Johnson

The SIPOC tool: How to create a visual model of a high-level process (5 mins)

This flash talk will provide an overview of a simple tool you can use to collaboratively document a high-level business process. The SIPOC is invaluable in aiding project scope discovery and quickly bringing people to a common understanding.

Tamra Dagnon

Up your Game: Leveraging Models and Concepts to Increase your Effectiveness (15 mins)

Dunning-Kruger, Cone of Uncertainty, Crucial Conversations, Theory of Constraints, Lead/Lag Measures, Lean Six Sigma, Anti-Patterns, 3D Negotiating, Scrum (not just for software): All of these are models or concepts that are incredibly useful to powerfully capture the realities of a situation, and provide guidance on how to increase your effectiveness in that situation. We will go through several quick examples of each and how to use them.

Phil Jochimsen

Cloud Architecture choices: How to grow your cloud footprint (15 mins)

How do you start, how do you pick, what grows best in the cloud?

Have you looked up at the sky on a nice spring day, or maybe a late summer afternoon, or the middle of winter? Not every cloud is the same! Some bring rain, some bring shade, some bring nasty storms. Which cloud fits your project, and how should you approach your cloud project? Bring an umbrella!

Eric Straavaldsen

Partly Cloudy – Design and Development of a Hybrid Cloud System (30 mins)

This case study is a presentation will describe the architecture of the new Course Search & Enroll app, a hybrid cloud application running primarily on AWS.

Brian Hill

Kubernetes and Containers at UW – stumbling around in the dark (15 mins)

I am attempting to learn and implement various systems using Kubernetes at CAE. In the process I’ve begun talking with others on campus, doing the same thing. I’ll present what I’ve learned and what I don’t know.

This session is meant to be a jumping off point for people who have played around with containers a bit and hopefully are also thinking of deploying Kubernetes. I’m hoping it’ll be what I wish I had been able to see 6 months ago.

Ken Hahn

DevOps, Diving, or Death….Choose 2! (30 mins)

This talk is intended for DevOps practitioners who would like to find new and creative ways to tackle their IT challenges. We’ll do this by comparing DevOps and cave diving, and looking at how you can apply strategies learned in one to the other.

Cave diving is often considered one of the most dangerous sports in the world, yet some people still do it safely and enjoyably. DevOps pushes technology by making changes quickly, frequently, and often to large scale – isn’t that risky too?

Everything we do has risks and challenges; mitigating those risks and facing the challenges head-on can not only make activities safe, but also teaches valuable skills we can carry into other aspects of our lives. IT isn’t a vacuum, so we shouldn’t only draw our inspiration and solutions from the IT world.

By the end of the talk, hopefully you’ll be excited and inspired to look at your own hobbies and interests for innovative solutions to problems you’re dealing with at work.

Matt Blasinski

Big Data on Ice (30 mins)

IceCube is a neutrino detector located at the geographic South Pole. It records neutrino interactions and is designed to search for the highest energy neutrinos from astrophysical sources. The instrument itself comprises over 5400 individual sensors that collectively capture about 1 Terabyte of data per day.

This talk will provide an overview of the storage and data handling systems deployed to deliver that data to our physicists for analysis and ultimately publication.

Steve Barnet

Email Trust Issues? Find out why and what you can do to help. (30 mins)

Learn what UW-Madison is doing to improve email security and how campus IT professionals can help make email more secure.

This talk will focus on two areas: credentials are stolen causing the email service to be under constant attack, and domains are being spoofed which undermines the trust in our email.

Jesse Thompson

What Your Network Looks Like to the Bad Guys (30 mins)

We all know what our network looks like from a local perspective and what it probably looks like from the rest of campus, but how do you know if what you think your network looks like from the outside is actually what it looks like to everyone else?

Dave De Coster

Better external relations with CRM: A Wisconsin School of Business Story (30 mins)

At the Wisconsin School of Business (WSB), we see the immense value in building relationships with external partners because it is vital to our student placement as well as talent recruitment. We have set up a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system specifically for tracking our relationship building activities. However, getting people to adopt the system is a constant uphill battle due to several reasons: change is hard, I track my contacts with email or excel file, I need to protect my leads, etc. We needed to be innovative and inspiring for a WSB-wide system adoption.

In this presentation, we will tell stories about our project governance structure and innovative processes, how we follow them closely to engage with stakeholders for their success. As of today, 8 of our BBA/MBA centers have nearly 500 advisory board members in CRM, ready to track their relationships! To carry this momentum, we expanded our learning sessions to a broader audience including students for CRM skills and best practices. With this solid user community in place, we will continue to leverage IT to transform WSB into a data-driven decision-making organization.

Our presentation has three parts: 1) introducing our business problem, 2) explaining our governance structure/process, 3) illustrating how our CRM system tracks external engagements.

Xiujuan Jane Zhang, Dean McInerney

Canvas Transition: Successes and Lessons Learned in the College of Engineering (30 mins)

Case study: Identifying and tracking courses, communicating with departments and instructors, and making sure that no course is left behind–find out how we approached our successful transition to the Canvas Learning Management System in the College of Engineering and what we could have done differently to make the experience even better.

Sara Hagen

TAG! You’re IT! (IT governance) (30 mins)

A panel discussion involving the chairs of the new campus IT governance groups Divisional Technical Advisory Group Infrastructure Technical Advisory Group Research Technical Advisory Group Teaching and Learning Technical Advisory Group

The chairs will discuss the objectives of each TAG and how they are operating. Join them for a Q&A session to understand the role of IT governance and how it might impact your work, and to share feedback to work toward optimizing efficiency of these groups.

Alan Silver, Nick Tincher, Lyn Van Swol

The IT Project Intake Process – Enabling Collaboration Across Campus (30 mins)

This session will with start with a brief overview of the process that was rolled out last October and share statistics to show how the process is working.

We will also go into more detail about what actually happens when a project is submitted and what interesting things have been learned by having projects reviewed by others.

We will describe some of the projects that have been successes, how we were able to match up people with software and vice versa and how it helped with creating some broader discussions of solutions.

Alan Silver, Steve Devoti, Dawn McCauley, Sabrina Messer

How to make the UW Theme sing (30 mins)

Campus adoption of the UW Theme is strong. With good reason. The theme’s stylesheet supplies UW branding out of the box; its ACF page builder enables a wide range of styled content types. But perhaps in the variety lies the rub. Across the technical-savvy continuum, developers, designers and power content creators report uncertainty in what component to use where and when in order to best fulfill their communication purpose with their audience(s).

This session replaces that uncertainty with confidence. Learn methods for evaluating which component works best for different situations and how to use it most effectively. Learn how to make the UW Theme sing.

Kyle Henderson

WordPress Users Community of Practice using the UW-Theme (5 mins)

In January, customers of the WiscWeb service formed a community of practice for WordPress users utilizing the UW-Theme to collaborate, share ideas and struggles, and critique each other’s work for a more positive experience for all.

This group meets monthly somewhere on campus and has a shared drive for information sharing. This effort is not in competition with the WiscWeb team and their training and tech support; it is hopefully a complement to their services, helping to educate designers with best practices and current features of the UW-Theme in WordPress. You do not need to be in WiscWeb to participate; anyone using WordPress and the UW-Theme is welcome to join us.

Rich Gassen

The Struggle is Real: Developing WordPress plugins (25 mins)

Writing WordPress plugins can be painful, especially when you consider that not only does your plugin need to fit within WordPress’s often arbitrary constraints, but it also needs to play nice with an entire ecosystem of potentially conflicting plugins. Plus, on top of all of that, you need to be able to maintain your plugin going forward.

In this session, we’ll do a deep dive into one plugin and examine how it dances around these obstacles, and yet still provides a useful functionality.

Daniel Simanek

Automating Database Changes and Migrations with Liquibase (30 mins)

This talk is about the benefits of automatic database changes and migrations and a tool that we can use for that purpose. By automating database changes we can cutdown the time we spend on manual steps (e.g. executing database changes scripts), remove dependency on database administration team (for small use cases), and can provide a version-able database change set overtime. Liquibase ( is a free and open source tool which has large number of benefits.

The talk will also cover how to use Liquibase in your application(Java, PHP or other) and example of using it in one of our current applications.

Matthew Trefilek, Nuwan Rajika Kumarasiri

Continuous Delivery and automation with Jenkins – A Use Case (30 mins)

Jenkins can be used to automate many repetitive tasks thereby cutting down time and energy spend on manual labour.

This talk describes how Jenkins was used to automate a project that has lot of customers and how the developers productivity was increased. It will also describe how developers could continue to focus on new feature development while Jenkins takes care of deploying the code/feature changes into different environments. Once Jenkins finishes the deployments it notifies the development team about the deployment status so that they don’t have to continue to monitor the deployment progress on the Jenkins app. This allows the development team to deliver more features in a given sprint.

Nuwan Rajika Kumarasiri, Matthew Trefilek

IT Staff Hiring and Talent Retention at the UW/Public Sector (45 mins)

Over the last four years my unit has hired four developers to staff two positions. This is common across the UW campus and the public sector. Recruitment, hiring, and training take time away from projects that need to be completed while there is an existing staff shortage. Coordinating unit managers’ attendance during this process is also challenging.

This panel discussion will focus on how to maintain IT talent within the public sector and make sure our employees are satisfied in their current positions. It will also discuss how to provide opportunity for growth and development.

Experience from several IT managers and an HR professional will provide an overview of the recruitment process across multiple units, as well as ways that they use the process to attract talent.

Daniel Nicolalde, Michelle Craft, Derek Cooper, Paul Kronberger, Vickie Arneson

What is it like to get a graduate degree while working full time? (15 mins)

How hard can it possibly be to get a graduate degree from the UW while working full time? We work at a University after all… this should be easy right? …straightforward? I mean, people do this all the time, right? (Answers: it depends, no, not really, and not super often)

Come hear the tale of adventure, excitement, and lots of stress that involves my process of getting a PhD from Computer Science while working for CAE (Computer-Aided Engineering). Consider yourself warned: this tale is not for the faint of heart.

In this talk I’ll discuss topics like:

  • What is it like going to “part” time grad school at the UW while working full time? (and learn why part is in quotes)
  • What options are there for having your employer pay for some/all of your schooling? (and learn how at the UW this is a trick question!)
  • For what you might have to foot the bill, what are some strategies to reduce costs?
  • If you already have problems with Work/Life balance what happens when it’s Work/School/Life?
  • Learn just how closely you’re going to need to read the guidebook for your department. (and how you can’t just rely on what I’m saying)
  • Bonus round: Can you get an overload appointment and teach a class while working full time? (despite insistence that this is impossible, empirical studies prove otherwise)
  • If nothing else, come learn about the “simple” the three mountains one climbs to get a PhD.

Jeff Ballard

Augmented and Mixed Reality Development with the Microsoft HoloLens (30 mins)

Mixed Reality through the Microsoft HoloLens (Google/Youtube it!) allows collaborative interaction with virtual objects integrated into our physical world.

Imagine wearing mixed reality goggles that allow students or researchers to see one another, see their physical environment, but also view and interact with the same virtual objects.


  1. Examining a virtual 3D cadaver in the middle of a conference room that we can all walk around, collaboratively dissect, and discuss. Later at night, you study using the same virtual tools and body in your living room.
  2. Simulating the real-time mixing of 3 different liquids into a virtual, 10x scale beaker allowing dozens of us to view and alter the experiment, adding a fourth or fifth liquid or solution on demand, exploring the impact at the particle level.
  3. Viewing all the plumbing, electrical, and ductwork behind all the walls of the room you are in, or augmenting the existing room with an additional wall/door to simulate what a remodel might look like.
  4. Modeling an approaching wall cloud with tornadic capabilities in a conference room, with a virtual scaled landscape on the floor.

We’ll demo the Microsoft HoloLens, demo our proof of concept application built for medical physicists in the School of Medicine and Public Health, explain the software development process, brainstorm campus applications, and provide an opportunity for participants to try out the product as time allows.

Mark Field, Mike Tessmer, Will Kraus

Advanced Analytics for Emergency Response (30 mins)

What does successful IT facilitate and promote on our campus?  Hear UW Industrial and Systems Engineering professor Laura Albert will talk about how engineers use advanced analytical models to solve problems and design systems, and how information technology plays a role in engineering research.

She will provide an overview her discipline of operations research and advanced analytics and will discuss its wide ranging applications, focusing on her research that addresses problems in emergency response.

Laura Albert