The Office of Strategic Initiatives welcomes Jeff White to the OSI fold. Jeff is the department’s new ETL – Extract, Transform, Load – Analyst, reporting directly to Annette Royal, the Assistant Director of Business Intelligence & Analytics. He earned his B.S. in Elementary Education at Athens State University in Athens, Alabama.
As an ETL Analyst, Jeff will participate in acquiring, transforming, and delivering data. He will also support Business Intelligence services such as dashboards, user interfaces, stored processes, cubes, and associated data structures. Rounding out the roster, the position will research applicable new technologies, tools, and methodologies.
No stranger to The University of Texas, Jeff has been working at UT since 2007. Over the last seven years, he has served as Senior Software Developer and ETL Analyst for Project Information Quest, as well as the International Office where he overhauled the Study Abroad Office Portal system. Prior to that, Jeff was an Information Analyst for the Division of Instructional Innovation and Assessment.
Jeff’s penchant for higher education is fueled by his earlier calling as a teacher. He taught in the Austin Independent School District for several years as a 4th- and 5th-grade instructor, and received the prestigious Teacher of the Year Award in 2006. He was chosen by his peers for his leadership among the campus and community, his high-standards of teaching, as well as his innovative instructional practices. Mixing his technical prowess with his love for education, this father of two is also a webmaster for a Montessori School website.
When the Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC) introduced its Sixth Street Showcase (S3SXSW) event at South by Southwest (SXSW) this past March, you would have been hard-pressed to know that it was the first time ever for UT to host an event at the venerable (and sometimes raucous) Music/Film/Interactive/Education celebration. UT System’s S3SXSW evening of technology exhibitions and presentations went off without a hitch – even with the inclement weather. And now there is talk of S3SXSW 2015.
Given the preeminence of SXSW, I couldn’t help but wonder – How did UT System make its foray into the world of über festivals? UTFactsOnline sat down with Tiffany Kindred, Marketing Coordinator for OTC, as well as the organizational force behind the planning for S3SXSW, to get a peek behind the scenes.
UTF: It seems like UT System’s involvement in SXSW was decided at the 11th hour. Whose idea was it to become a part of the process?
TK: It was a collaborative decision among various offices at UT System. Everyone met in January to decide if it would be possible for UT System to host an event at SXSW. Dr. Hurn, the vice chancellor of research and innovation, played a leadership role, and ultimately decided to launch S3SXSW as a pilot program.
UTF: How did you manage to pull this off, especially having just started your job?
TK: Before coming to UT System, I had spent a few years in Atlanta, Georgia, working as the marketing and communications manager for a film festival, so I was used to large crowds and complex logistics. Here in Austin, we had the pleasure of working with Susan Onion, an event planner, who was absolutely incredible in the handling of event logistics. Additionally, we had the support of offices such as Facilities Management, OTIS, Public Affairs, External Relations, Risk Management, and UT System Police.
UTF: How did the plans evolve?
TK: Initially, we kept it very simple. Of course, opening it up to the campus OTC offices was the first step, but we also limited the outside guest list to about 250 contacts, including students, faculty, and investors. We really didn’t promote it too much; instead we used an invitation-only Evite for general admission, which sold out very quickly. About a week before the event, we opened it up to UT System and surrounding institutions, such as A&M, Texas State, and Texas Tech. It just kept growing.
UTF: What was your main focus in planning the event?
TK: Programming. I zeroed in on the participants because I really felt they were the most important component to the success of the event. We had 17 exhibitors and 13 presentations displaying emerging medical and interactive technologies. The real excitement of the event was watching how everyone interacted with one another. I gauge the success of an event based on the participants’ experience. In this case, I got a firsthand account of what the exhibitors thought and felt about being part of S3SXSW – it was positive and energetic.
UTF: So S3SXSW is not a competition as much as it is a collaboration?
TK: Exactly. It is an inter-university collaboration. It is all about the participating exhibitors interacting with one another. They get a chance to see what other academic institutions are doing. They get to link up with investors and partners. The exhibitors this year were the guinea pigs for the event, but I received incredible feedback from them, and it has certainly opened up my eyes to the possibilities for next year.
UTF: It sounds like you see another S3SXSW in the future? With what you have learned from S3SXSW 2014, will 2015 be different?
TK: Given the initial feedback from the event, we will definitely be looking for various avenues to grow and improve. Though we were involved with the Interactive component this year, there are still many ways to grow the event in the future – initial thoughts that come to mind would be participating in the Education component or the trade show. The possibilities are always endless.
UTF: As crazy as this was for you as a new hire, what was your best recollection of the experience?
TK: I loved working with the students and faculty. It was a great opportunity to actually be able to put faces to names I had been corresponding with for weeks. I hope to be able to do more of that.
For more information on this year’s event, read Sixth Street Showcase Is a Hit – UT System Hosts First-Ever SXSW Event dated March 20.
SAS has updated its Mobile BI App to 6.4. Some iPad users are reporting that they are having issues once they update to the new version.
Before you update to the new 6.4 version - or if you are experiencing problems connecting - we recommend that you remove existing connections, install the update if you haven’t, and then reconnect using the updated instructions to access seekUT on your tablet device.
Thanks to the Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC), solving the impossible is becoming more and more possible. Whether it is the brains and brawn of the Stampede supercomputer, improved methods for treating aneurysms, or retroreflector technology used to detect bioterror threats, the OTC assists University of Texas System institutions in commercializing output from applied research. It also supports thematic partnering, as well as offers several other business development services. The UT Horizon Fund (the strategic venture fund of the University of Texas System) helps financially to support commercialization activities.
When it comes to technology and commercialization, the first thought that looms great in the minds of Austinites is South by Southwest (SXSW) – the yearly festival that showcases education, interactive technologies, film, and music. On March 7, amid all of the crazy new technology that was exhibited at the first-ever Sixth Street Showcase event (also known as S3SXSW), OTC was faced with a real mission impossible, starting in January of this year, when it decided to host an event at SXSW. In less than three months, OTC new-hire, Tiffany Kindred (Marketing Coordinator), along with other members of the department, organized S3SXSW as part of the five-day Interactive section of SXSW.
Regardless of gusty winds and rain, as well as chilly temperatures, the S3SXSW tent was teeming with exhibitors, presenters, and festival goers. The energy and excitement was palpable, and the technology verve was radiating from every participant. Keynote speakers and presentations were scheduled throughout the event, covering health, education, and interactive technologies.
With a heavy emphasis on collaboration, S3SXSW includes students and faculty from several universities and medical institutions - some under and some outside of the UT System umbrella. Dr. Patricia Hurn, Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation, explains, “We wanted to include other institutions of higher education because we know that collaboration is critical to the development of new and innovative technology.”
Participating universities included:
- UT Austin
- UT San Antonio
- UT Health Science Center – San Antonio
- UT Health Science Center – Tyler
- Texas State University
- Texas Tech University
- Texas A&M University
Those participants who made the cut displayed emerging medical and interactive technologies including advances in identity recognition using ocular biometrics, virtual typing with keyless keyboards, cooling systems for prosthetic sleeves, and a lot more. Approximately 20 exhibitors attended, some of which included:
- Prostate Cancer Risk Assessment Tool
- Pediatric Physician Teaching Tool & MATLAB
- Improved Genomic Tools
- UTSA VizLab (data into images)
- AirType (keyless keyboards)
- Detonation Dynamics
- EasyLaunch (app to simplify smartphone use)
- Startup Aggieland (student-operated business accelerators)
- I+Logic (student startups)
- ChimpMint (finding content to create online brands)
- Glow Station (shirts that light up to sound of voice)
- AskU (a better way to find out information)
- Person ID via Eye Movement
- StudyOnBoard – Online Study Rooms (web platform for online study groups)
- FASMIC (tool for personalized cancer therapy)
- DIVAS (helps enhance wellness and mind fitness in cancer patients)
- Claresta Solutions (pregnancy monitoring)
- Recommenu (app to locate restaurants and menus)
- Leto Solutions, Inc. (prosthesis cooling system)
Part 2 of 2
UTFacts Online sat down with Tiffany Kindred of OTC to discuss the behind-the-scenes planning that went into organizing S3SXSW. Stay tuned for the interview; it will be posted shortly in an upcoming blog.
Though Fountains of Faith author William Arthur Ward was born in Louisiana, he worked on his doctorate at the University of Texas. His quote, “Happiness Is an Inside Job” is particularly true when it comes to job opportunities at the Office of Strategic Initiatives at UT System. Presently, there are three open positions we’d like you to consider.
Supervisor of Information Systems
$6,100+ depending on qualifications
Lead the maintenance and oversight of Business Intelligence and data warehouse systems. Serve as metadata/platform administrator for SAS Business Intelligence Environment and star schema data warehouse/data marts and transactional databases such as MySQL. Develop the project plan for new technical projects, including the programming and implementation time estimates of the new projects for staff. Provide advanced systems advice in department meetings related to projects/maintenance. Coordinate and develop new technical projects by conducting needs assessments. Act as liaison on existing systems to the programming staff who support the Chancellor’s Productivity Dashboard. Analyze user needs, determine requirements, and develop and implement software solutions to meet user requirements. Hire, supervise, manage, evaluate, and approve work of systems analysts, including delegating their duties and setting deadlines. Serve as office information security administrator.
ETL Specialist (ETL = Extract, Transform, Load)
$6,100+ depending on qualifications
Assist in ongoing development of data warehouse to work in tandem with BI Suite, which includes data integration, data quality, data cleansing, and other ETL-related activities. Work with ETL and reporting tools such as Data Integration Studio to load data into the warehouse and extract data for various uses. Assist in the coordination with UT System and institution staff in the management of a database system, including the visual and technical layout of the dashboard and interfaces, web development of Information Delivery Portal, Web Report Studio, Visual Analytics, data dictionaries, and additional links. Ensure accuracy and integrity of data and applications through analysis, coding, writing clear documentation, and problem resolution. Provide technical knowledge of ETL Solutions for Business Intelligence Projects. Analyze and translate functional specifications and change requests into technical specifications.
Program Director, Planning & Accountability
Job Number: 14-008
1-year limited term
Shared position with The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
Perform technical and analytical policy research work for higher education under the supervision of the Director of EDC. Work involves providing professional expertise, technical assistance, and support for UT System-related activities, including research, data collection and analysis, and special projects. Work is performed under minimal supervision with considerable latitude for the use of initiative and independent judgment. This position reports to the Assistant Director of the Educational Data Center. Candidate is required to work from the Coordinating Board location (1200 East Anderson Lane, Austin Texas) 3 days per week and the UT System location (700 Colorado Street, Austin Texas) 2 days a week.
“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” ~Andy Warhol
And that is exactly what the staffers of the Office of Strategic Initiatives (OSI) are doing – changing. Though bittersweet at times, in an office situation – as with the rest of life – we bid farewell to some, while we welcome others.
When Assistant Director Dr. Alicia Bettinger announced she had accepted the position of Associate Provost at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, we knew we were losing a colleague and a friend. However, we were also gaining a new Assistant Director – OSI’s own Annette Royal.
Annette has been with UT System for seven years, previously serving as Business Intelligence Research Analyst for OSI. She has spent the last two years on the team that launched the UT Productivity Dashboard, which supported Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa’s action plan – Framework for Advancing Excellence.
As Assistant Director for OSI, Annette will spearhead the redesign of the current Dashboard. This will include building specialized dashboards for various administration departments within UT System. She will report to Dr. David Troutman, Director of OSI.
The daughter of a military dad, Annette is used to change, whether it is location or job. Hailing from Virginia, she found her way to Austin when her sister moved here to study at UT. Annette chose to attend Southwest Texas State in San Marcos – she was the last graduating class before it became Texas State – where she received a BFA in Communication Design.
Annette has worked for Austin Community College and the Texas Lottery. Some of her prior positions include research analysis coordinator, web developer, and institutional research policy analyst, all of which prepared her for what she is doing today at UT System OSI.
“I look forward to the change,” says Annette. “I get a great deal of satisfaction helping UT System continue to be a trendsetter and pioneer on a new path for higher education. Our mission is to make information accessible and transparent, and OSI is the group that not only disseminates the information to interested parties, but ensures that the data’s reputation remains intact and reliable.”
OSI welcomes Miriam McKinney as its new Institutional Research Analyst. Miriam has been with UT System for eight years, serving in the Office of Employee Benefits (OEB), providing programming and analytic support. In addition to working on the UT campus for two years before joining UT System, Miriam also held analyst positions in companies such as GeoStats and NuStats.
A native Austinite, Miriam spent a year abroad in Israel before starting undergraduate study in mathematics at UT Austin. After graduation, she moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where she attended Georgia Tech and earned her Master’s degree in Operations Research (applied statistics).
Miriam found her way back home in 2004. She and her husband Eric, who is a local recording engineer and music producer, enjoy living in Austin with their two children and dog Lola. Miriam fits into the local music scene quite well, adding “drummer” to her list of talents.
“I am thrilled to be joining the OSI team,” says Miriam. “When looking into this position, I was very impressed by the accessible analytic tools being developed here, such as the Productivity Dashboard and seekUT. I hope to help OSI in its mission to bring powerful data to the public.”
Photo styling by Nancy Daniels