Communities Designed to Foster Collaboration
A key differentiator for consortia such as NJEdge is the role it plays in gathering various digital stakeholders together to collaborate and contemplate the broader themes, challenges and opportunities affecting organizations that rely heavily upon information technology resources to achieve their missions. This goal transcends simply providing products and services to fulfill basic needs. Rather, it reflects an intentional commitment to promote research, scholarly capacity and insight across membership and among peers that comprise what we have labeled NJEdge’s Communities of Practice. These communities, made up of NJEdge member and industry partners within specific subject matter domains, gather thought leaders that share an abiding concern for something they do and a commitment to learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. The NJEdge community flourishes by bringing together members around certain topics to exchange best practices, learn new skills and ask questions in an environment that fosters trust and improvement for all involved.
Academic Technology Group – Teaching & Learning
The Academic Technology Group convenes around the multiple facets of pedagogy including best practices in instruction, delivery of online education, educational technologies and the measurement and assurance strategies for student success. This collaboration is accomplished by bringing together the collective expertise of faculty and administration to stimulate and sustain online and hybrid learning initiatives and emerging educational technologies, and through events such as the Faculty Best Practices Conference held each spring, as well as group meetings with speakers and demonstrations offered periodically throughout the year.
Data Resources Group – Networking & Data
Inasmuch as networking constitutes the core and foundational competency defining the NJEdge organization, the Data Resource Group focuses on a wide variety of issues and topics of interest to Network Managers and holds regular meetings at participating member institutions to ensure the community remains engaged, informed and consultative regarding the evolution of our core asset. This community of practice is instrumental in crafting solutions such as the distributed denial of service (DDoS) threat vector monitoring and mitigation program and strategy that has brought NJEdge to a leadership position among the Nation’s Research and Education Networks in this area of service.
The NJCIO Forum brings together Chief Information Officers from New Jersey’s higher education institutions and provides them with an appropriate forum to discuss their top concerns, share best practice on tackling tactical and strategic issues confronting the wider community and identifying solutions to their problems in a timely, effective manner. The NJCIO Forum is often called upon to provide thought leadership and suggest agendas and priorities for others among the Communities of Practice. Meeting a minimum of three times per year, the Forum exercises a collaborative leadership model to respond to emerging national, regional and statewide challenges that impact the education community.
Security Resource Group
The newest among the NJEdge communities of practice, the Security Resource Group grew out of the Data Resources Group with the recognition that security in all of its facets touches every aspect of the enterprise and extends well beyond the perimeter of the enterprise network. The group focuses on the full spectrum of security concerns and dedicates itself to understanding, supporting and uniting the people, processes, standards and technologies that are needed to mitigate threats to our organizations, their students and personnel. The Group’s domain expertise pertains to workflows and cybersecurity processes to prevent losses, efficiently utilize resources and strategies to maximize the ROI on security centered application and infrastructure investments. The Group also promotes adoption of national standards to inform local policy and endorses developing metrics and common threat indicators to monitor risk.
User Services Group – Help Desk & Customer Care
Recognizing the proliferation of technology services environments with the emergence of cloud and hybrid-cloud environments as well as the sheer growth in the number of applications, services and devices arriving on campuses with the BYOD movement, the User Services Resources Group seeks to foster collaboration among NJEdge members by exploring current and emerging practices in user services and enrich their delivery of technology services. ITIL standards of practice are a key driver for this community, which focuses heavily upon professional development opportunities and recommending best practices based upon shared successes and operational challenges in the administration of user services. The User Services Resource Group community seeks to delivery to NJEdge stakeholders insight and actionable strategies to utilize institution-wide technology, deliver excellent customer service, and continuously improve the caliber of technical expertise.
Virtual Academic Library Environment
The Virtual Academic Library Environment (VALE) is a consortium of New Jersey college and university libraries and the New Jersey State Library that is dedicated to furthering excellence in learning and research through innovative and collaborative approaches to information resources and services. This community of practice focuses on issues around consortia purchasing and the role of new technology and innovations in our libraries. The hallmark of the VALE community is the consortium purchasing model utilized to realize cost savings in the acquisition of database resources to the colleges and universities throughout New Jersey. In addition, VALE convenes an annual conference for the community of library directors and personnel throughout the state.