2020 March e-News

March 2020

Rest-in-Peace Kristin Coffman, 1968-2020
We want to share the sad news that our dear colleague Kristin Coffman passed away on March 9, surrounded by her family. Kristin had been with MHEC since 2007 and was our director of finance and administration. She leaves behind 6 children, her parents, three siblings, and boyfriend, as well as extended family and friends. She was a good friend to many and a wonderful work colleague. We will miss Kristin, her spirit, kindness, humor, and courage.

MHEC news

MHEC Coronavirus Update
MHEC is monitoring the evolution of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) and will continue to monitor the situation closely in the coming weeks. Health and safety are our top priority. At this time of uncertainty and until we hear otherwise, our office remains open. However, we’re encouraging our staff to stay home if they are sick and asking those who travel to do so only if it’s business critical. MHEC staff have the capacity to work remotely and are prepared to do so in a seamless way. Each MHEC-hosted event will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and staff will work closely with attendees to keep them informed of any changes. 


Members of MHEC Master Property Program Gather for 22nd Annual Loss Control Workshop
On March 5-6, participants of the Master Property Program (MPP) participated in the 22nd Annual Loss Control Workshop. Over 160 attendees represented the professional areas of risk management, facilities, public safety, finance, and emergency management and safety. Highlights of the program included informational sessions in minimizing campus risks focusing on loss control, life safety, and preparing for coronavirus, cyber criminals, contractual risk, builders risk, severe weather, and foreign travel. Available presentations have been posted to the MHEC website. The workshop was supported by service providers of the program: Belfor, BMS CAT, Captive Resources, Crawford and Company, Duff & Phelps, Global Risk Consultants, Liberty Mutual, Marsh, and Zurich. For more information on the MPP, please contact Carla Ahrens, MHEC's property program manager, at (612) 677-2776.


MHEC Published RFP for Virtualization & Data Center Modernization
A Request for Proposal (RFP) solicitation has been published for Virtualization & Data Center Modernization. Over the last four months, the technologies Infrastructure Advisory Group has met to discuss the current trends of hyper converged infrastructure and the role of software virtualization in modernizing the data center. The advisory group prepared an overview and a draft scope of services for virtualization and data center modernization. Utilizing the work of the advisory group, a workgroup representing Eastern Michigan University, Illinois State University, University of Missouri-Columbia, University of Nebraska, and the North Dakota University System, prepared an RFP defining the business drivers and the solution proposal. MHEC's current contract with Arrow Electronics (MHEC-021213) for VMWare's full line of virtualization software, services, and training runs through November 30, 2020. There is still an opportunity to provide feedback on this initiative by completing a  [short, five-minute survey regarding your institution's virtualization solution provider.


Upcoming Webinars

From a Culture of Accommodation to a Culture of Accessibility - The Wichita State Story
Tuesday, March 17 1:00 p.m. CDT
John P. Jones - Wichita State University

OER Technology Webinar: Pressbooks Demonstration
Tuesday, April 14 1:00 p.m. CDT
Hugh McGuire Pressbooks

Midwest Institutions Represented at Dell Executive Briefing
MHEC hosted an executive briefing in collaboration with Dell Technologies on February 26–27, at their world headquarters in Round Rock, Texas. Nathan Sorensen, MHEC director of government contracts, Deb Kidwell, MHEC consultant, and ten institutional representatives from MHEC’s Infrastructure, Leadership, and Security Advisory Groups were in attendance. The two-day executive briefing provided a better understanding of current technology trends in higher education, how to best position MHEC technology contracts to help institutions adopt new technology, and to provide Dell with perspectives representing the Midwest region, individual states, and institutions. Two of the most talked about topics for institutions were on Esports Solutions for Education and workforce transformation of [End User Computing Services  . Over the next several months, MHEC will work with Dell to highlight additional topics of interest to the higher education technology community such as research computing, digital “smart” campuses, cloud computing, and data security. Visit  Dell Technologies higher education solutions to learn more.


MHEC Prepares to Launch Interactive Dashboard
The pilot phase of MHEC’s Interactive Dashboard  has been completed. Users are encouraged to provide feedback for continuous improvement. MHEC is grateful for the feedback received to date. The dashboard provides data and key performance indicators relevant to the goal of improving educational attainment in the Midwest region and across the nation. Indicators are organized within seven categories: Context, Preparation, Participation, Affordability, Completion, Finance, and Benefits. Several of these areas of focus also portray a subcategory that highlights opportunity and achievement gaps by income, race, and ethnicity. Data can be examined over time or compared across states using various benchmarks, including the U.S. average or population proportion as a lower performance benchmark and the median of the top five states in the nation as an aspirational benchmark.


MHEC State Visits:  Susan Heegaard president, and Rob Trembath, chief operating officer and general counsel, have postponed the Minnesota State Visit and Ohio State Visit and look to reschedule at a later date.

Technology Contracts: Nathan Sorensen, director of government contracts, attended the Info-Tech Live conference March 2–4, in Orlando, FL. Over 300 CIOs, IT leaders, and professionals attended: keynotes, breakout sessions, and education focused roundtables. Nathan also had an opportunity to meet one-on-one with Info-Tech’s analysts, allowing the opportunity to further refine and customize upcoming MHEC technology solicitations. MHEC’s Info-Tech Research Group contract provides higher education with IT research, advisory services, best practice development programs, and consulting services. Access the list of available contracts, or for more information contact Nathan Sorensen, director of government contracts, at (612) 677-2767.

OER Conference in North Dakota
Open Educational Resources (OER): Jenny Parks, senior director of policy and academic initiatives, presented at the North Dakota University System's OER Conference on March 6.