Transformative technology prominent among 2024 CU Innovation & Efficiency Award winners

By Staff

Congratulations to the individuals and teams, across all CU campuses, whose submissions were vetted and accepted by the 2024 CU Innovation & Efficiency Awards Program! Voting was recently completed and the winners are:

University Controller’s Award for Excellence

  • CU-SIS TDClient Automations. For years, the campus Financial Aid offices spent hours each day downloading and processing files from the Department of Education. Recently, the System Administration office of University Information Services (UIS) was able to eliminate such manual processes. Now, at the press of a button, these files are downloaded and processed in Campus Solutions. The team of Rick Rowcotsky, Rakesh Vangapati, Brad Baker and Mayank Mittal are thrilled to enable this time savings across the CU campuses. (Project submitted by Rick Rowcotsky.)

CU Innovation & Efficiency Awards (in alphabetical order by submission title)

  • Fund 80 ChartField Setup Automation. Given the low variability and highly repetitive nature of setting up Fund 80 ChartFields at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus, this task seemed like a perfect candidate for automation. The previously manual process is now accomplished using Microsoft Power Automate (PA), a low-/no-code software kit that allows users to automate processes that they perform on their computers. Now the financial services team – Hart Jarrell, Patrice Avalos and Zac Gonzales – can focus on tasks that are more variable and require higher decision-making abilities. (Project submitted by Hart Jarrell.)
  • Leveraging Automation to Improve the Online Flexible Course Experience. Online Flexible is an asynchronous program in the CU Boulder Division of Continuing Education and Professional Studies that allows students to start courses at any time, with six months from their start date to finish. However, instructors had no easy way to verify when students exceeded the time frame for completing assignments or when final grades were due, creating the need for extensive manual administration and negatively impacting student success and retention. A team from Academic Technology Development – Bryan Melville, Jason Black, Quang Do, Anita Antony Samy and Ahman Woods – stepped in to develop (1) a custom Canvas integration that calculates and displays the end date and final grade due date to instructors, and (2) an automated email notification that reminds instructors to submit their final grades once a student’s end date passes. The team is delighted to be able to deliver a low-cost, straightforward solution for this course modality. (Project submitted by Bryan Melville.)
  • Multicampus Security Log Monitoring. For some time, information security teams have relied on an automated Security Information and Event Monitoring (SIEM) system to monitor CU IT systems for signs of attacks and potentially malicious behavior. However, the system/processes had become inefficient over time and were in need of replacement. David Capps, System Administration’s Chief Information Security Officer, worked with the multicampus CU Security+ group (Sarah Braun, Scott Maize, John Scudder, Charlotte Russell, Sean Clark, Chris Edmundson, David Capps, Brad Judy, Keith Lehigh, Cindy Kraft, and Steve Thormod) to select and deploy a new SIEM system. CU Security+ provides a forum for separate security teams to collaborate across campuses, leveraging efficiencies from sharing knowledge and experiences. Since implementing the new system, teams have rolled out new detections that have alerted CU to attacks against employee payroll, VPN services and more. Speed of searches has significantly increased, with results returned in seconds instead of hours. (Project submitted by David Capps.)
  • ODIN Subscriptions. ODIN Subscriptions is new technology developed by the team of Kevin Sarsen, Faraz Ali and Karthik Chigururu in the System Administration office of University Information Services (UIS). It allows campus IT partners to receive and react to changes in CU PeopleSoft databases within seconds of the change as opposed to waiting for nightly updates. The motivation was to address the problem of up-to-the-minute student data being unavailable to campuses during monthly UIS maintenance windows. Campus Solutions student data is now available to campuses via ODIN when Campus Solutions is down. With ODIN Subscriptions, the paradigm for data transfer has been completely transformed. (Project submitted by Al Wirtes.)

Thanks again to everyone who shared projects this year. Your submissions will remain on our CU I&E website to inspire your colleagues in future years.

We look forward to hearing about your ongoing innovative work when the 2025 CU I&E Awards Program opens next year.

- Submitted by the Office of University Controller