Welcome Back from VP and CIO, Gaspare LoDuca


September 09, 2015

Dear Columbia community,

Welcome back! I hope you all had an excellent summer.

During the past few months, CUIT has been working to enhance our services and systems across the board. As we begin the Fall 2015 semester and the 2015-16 academic year, I’d like to take the opportunity to provide you with a few updates on our progress, which we believe will help improve your experience at Columbia University, whether you are a student, faculty member or administrator.  

What’s New for Students?

  • New & Improved Printing System: In the spring, we announced that we had identified a new system to replace the outdated NINJa, and asked for your help in naming our new Morningside printing system. You overwhelmingly selected PawPrint. After a successful summer pilot, we are pleased to share PawPrint is live and available across Morningside, including Barnard and Teachers College.   

    Your positive responses to PawPrint during the pilot tell us that the new system is a major step forward for us and for you. We are pleased to provide you this simple and convenient printing service, with only two print drivers (one for black-and-white and one for color, rather than dozens with the previous system) and the ability to quickly review your printing account in a single central location. For a Quick Guide and more information, visit our PawPrint web page.

  • Increased Wireless Coverage: In response to your feedback, we have increased the number of wireless access points across Morningside, providing more far-reaching, consistent and reliable wireless coverage. While unsecured wireless access is available for guests, please refer to our Columbia U Secure wireless network web page for more information on joining our secured and encrypted network.

What’s New for Faculty?

  • Advancing Research Computing: Columbia is renowned globally as a leader in research, and a key part of CUIT’s function is to help ensure that the University continues to lead in that regard.

    As part of our continued efforts to further modernize our infrastructure, we have made improvements that provide even more processing power, efficiency and speed to our research computing environment—providing a stronger foundation for the University’s research efforts.

What’s New for Administrators?

  • Online Mobile Device Orders: Providing clearer, more seamless self-service processes for you is an important step toward making CUIT services more accessible and more efficient for our colleagues.  

    Earlier this summer, we launched the first of several planned automated services with Online Mobile Device Ordering. This new automated service allows you to choose a new mobile device from an online catalog and configure it, very similar to online shopping. The new process is easier for you and more efficient, and at every step you can track the progress of your order.

    This is the first of many services which we will improve in the coming months.

  • Multi-Factor Security for Critical Data & Applications: After a successful summer pilot within CUIT, we have begun working with other key departments at Columbia to implement multi-factor security for individuals who use applications and databases that access sensitive University data.  

    Our multi-factor approach leverages a user’s mobile device, coupled with GPS data, to ensure that the individual logging into one of our highly secure systems are is truly who they say they are. And for those without mobile devices, our process offers several alternatives. The new security feature is simple and highly effective, and helps us continue to provide the highest levels of security for University systems and data.

Other Updates for the University Community:

  • Lynda.com Online Training & Development:  CUIT has worked with Lynda.com and our University colleagues to further extend our enterprise license for online training and professional development couses.  The entire catalog of Lynda.com training resources are available to students, faculty and administrators for free.  Click here to log in with your UNI and password and take advantage of this valuable resource.

  • Converged Infrastructure: Supporting and enabling all of these improvements is CUIT’s move toward “Converged Infrastructure” - an industry term that means we are reengineering our infrastructure from specific sets of servers that support separate applications and services, to one holistic and comprehensive platform that provides higher efficiency, increased computing power and greater reliability. For those familiar with the concept of a private cloud, Converged Infrastructure is a similar idea.  

    Our Converged Infrastructure migration is planned for completion in December, 2015, but we are already experiencing the benefits, including:

    • Decreased downtime for maintenance

    • Improved operational stability for systems like ARC and People @ Columbia (PAC)

    • Increased flexibility in designing and implementing new services, meaning we can get you the tools you need more quickly.

  • Lastly, as a reminder, earlier this year we introduced an improved email alias feature for all faculty, staff and students. The new alias option allows members of the University community to select from among a list of choices, based on a person's name as it appears in the CU Human Resources system, People @ Columbia (PAC) or the Student Information System (SIS). For more information, visit our Email Alias FAQ.


Don’t Forget:

On behalf of all of CUIT, we look forward to continuing to provide the entire University community with the tools, services and support you need. If you have any feedback or questions, I encourage you to let us know at askcuit@columbia.edu.  


Gaspare LoDuca

Vice President and Chief Information Officer

Columbia University Information Technology