James E. Quick

Michael H. Hites, Ph.D., named SMU Chief Information Officer effective July 17, 2017

Michael H. HitesMichael H. Hites, Ph.D., an executive with 17 years of experience leading large-scale computing operations for university-based research and innovation, has been named SMU’s Chief Information Officer. He will begin his new duties on July 17, 2017.

“We are delighted that Dr. Hites will be joining us as our Chief Information Officer,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner.  “His experience and leadership will be invaluable as we dramatically increase the utilization of advanced computing in our research and institutional programs.”

Currently, Hites is senior associate vice president for administrative IT services and CIO with the University of Illinois System. He also serves as an adjunct associate professor of computer science at the University of Illinois-Chicago. He brings to SMU experience with innovation and research, teaching and learning, enterprise infrastructure, fundraising, governance, strategic planning and budgeting, process improvement, new product development, 24/7 operations, and data warehousing and analytics, among other areas.

As SMU CIO, Hites will report directly to President Turner. He will lead the Office of Information Technology, including the Academic Technology, Infrastructure, Applications Support, Project Management, Customer Service, and Information Security teams.

In addition, Hites will oversee the University’s high-performance computing initiatives, including the ManeFrame II supercomputer: SMU’s fourth-generation upgrade, which boasts a six-fold increase in computing power with a theoretical peak performance of more than 600 teraflops.  When installation is competed this summer, ManeFrame II will rank among the top academic supercomputers in the nation.

As the UI System’s senior associate VP for administrative IT services and CIO since 2012, Hites is responsible for a $28 million recurring budget and 220 employees. He also leads an executive team in planning, strategy, analysis, and operations of enterprise IT services for approximately 81,000 students and 25,000 employees across UI’s Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), Chicago (UIC) and Springfield (UIS) campuses.

His accomplishments in this role include the development of faculty-focused IT governance structures that balance membership between academic and administrative leadership, as well as the implementation of an annual enterprise resource planning (ERP) upgrade process that saves the system millions of dollars compared to peer organizations.

He has collaborated on the planning and installation of a new shared research-computing cluster at UIC and helped implement a single-username and -password system in a highly-distributed environment with multiple password directories. In addition, his department created a researcher-focused financial and compliance portal to streamline processes for innovators, as well as developed strategies for administrative IT services that favor saving time for students and faculty and providing faster services and data for stakeholders.

“I am looking forward to helping achieve SMU’s 2016-2025 strategic plan, ‘Launching SMU’s Second Century: Shaping Leaders for a Changing World,’” Hites said.  “Being the CIO at SMU gives me the opportunity to work side-by-side with students, faculty and staff to foster research, improve interdisciplinary education, and partner with the city of Dallas.”

Hites began his career at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago in 1996, where he served as assistant to the dean for computing (1996-97), assistant dean for computing and research assistant professor (1997-98), and director, Computing and Network Services (1998-2000). He also served as chief technology officer from 2000-03.

He continued his career at New Mexico State University (NMSU) from 2003-08, starting as vice provost for information and technology services and CIO (2003-06). As vice president for planning and IT and CIO from 2006-08, he worked with deans, directors, students, faculty, executive leadership, and the Board of Regents to plan, implement and measure IT programs and services across NMSU’s five-campus system, as well as assisting other governmental and educational entities in New Mexico.

His 10-year career with the University of Illinois System included service as executive CIO (2011-12) and associate vice president for administrative IT services (2008-12).

Hites received his B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Arizona in 1989. He earned an M.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1992 and his Ph.D. in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology in 1997.

Dr. Hites was selected after a nationwide search coordinated by a campus committee chaired by James E. Quick, associate vice president for research and dean of graduate studies. He replaces Joe Gargiulo, SMU’s first CIO, who will retire this summer.

“A 21st-century university depends on information technology,” Quick said. “Dr. Hites’ background, which includes both outstanding IT and faculty experience, position him to lead the engagement of IT in SMU’s efforts to enhance its academic quality and stature.”

SMU CIO Joe Gargiulo to retire; University names committee to search for successor

Joe Gargiulo

SMU Chief Information Officer Joe Gargiulo, who has helped lead the University to significant gains in connectivity and high-performance computing, has announced his plans to retire at the end of the 2016-17 academic year. He will continue to serve in his current position as the University searches for its next CIO.

“As SMU’s first chief information officer, Joe Gargiulo has led the University to modernize, expand and enhance its ability to create, collaborate and share knowledge,” said President R. Gerald Turner. “His leadership, both in creating a 21st-century information infrastructure and in guiding how we use and think about technology’s benefits and challenges, will have a positive effect on how our community learns, teaches, researches and connects now and into the future.”

Gargiulo has served as SMU’s CIO since 2008. As part of the Operational Excellence IT Shared Services initiative, he led the department through a consolidation and streamlining process that allowed OIT to become more agile and responsive to the University community. A critical component included the reorganization and launch of the improved Academic Technology Services team. He received the President’s Award for Outstanding Leadership in 2009 and a Commendation from the Faculty Senate in 2004.

He has also helped to lead the introduction of high-performance computing at SMU. In 2014, he led the installation team for SMU’s ManeFrame supercomputer in a new data center located south of Mockingbird Lane on Central Expressway. ManeFrame boasted nearly 11,000 central processing unit cores, 26 terabytes of memory, and more than two petabytes of storage. His team is currently installing SMU’s fourth-generation supercomputer, ManeFrame II, which is expected to bring a six-fold increase in computing power and will rank among the top academic supercomputers in the nation.

> More about ManeFrame at SMU’s Center for Scientific Computation homepage

In addition, Gargiulo has led the University’s Office of Information Technology in expanding and upgrading secure wireless access, adopting new classroom technology, upgrading disaster-recovery protocols and services, and introducing improved cyber security measures such as Two-Factor Authentication.

Gargiulo came to SMU in 1998 from Fidelity Investments, where he served as a vice president and managed a team of 80 software developers responsible for various systems focused on customer data and analytics. He began his SMU career managing the University’s Y2K efforts and the conversion from legacy systems to PeopleSoft; he also assisted with the SMU Central University Libraries’ conversion to the Voyager library-management software system. In the 2005 Information Technology Services reorganization, he was appointed executive director of administrative computing, responsible for Administrative Systems Training, Software Applications, Systems, Telecommunications, and User Services.

In his professional service, Gargiulo has been a member of the Lonestar Education and Research Network (LEARN) Board for 10 years and serving as a member of its Executive Committee for six years, as chairman of the board in 2015, and working with CIOs from 40 other Texas colleges and universities. LEARN provides advanced network services for research, education, healthcare and economic development throughout Texas and is the connector to Internet2.

From 1975 to 1977, Gargiulo served in the United States Navy aboard the U.S.S. Plymouth Rock (LSD-29). He received his bachelor’s degree in business administration (Management Information Systems) from Old Dominion University, where he graduated magna cum laude and was selected Outstanding MIS Senior.

President R. Gerald Turner has appointed a search committee for Gargiulo’s successor. Associate Vice President for Research and Dean of Graduate Studies James E. Quick will chair the committee, whose members include:

  • Amit Basu, Carr. P. Collins Chair of Management Information Sciences and chair, Information Technology and Operations Management, Cox School of Business (co-chair)
  • Rachel Mulry, director of customer service, Office of Information Technology (co-chair)
  • Ernie Barry, associate vice president for budgets and finance, Business and Finance
  • Gary Brubaker, director, SMU Guildhall
  • Jo Guldi, assistant professor of history, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences
  • Thomas Hagstrom, professor of mathematics and director, Center for Scientific Computation, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences
  • Duane Harbin, assistant dean for technology, planning and compliance, Perkins School of Theology
  • Charles Headley, executive director, Development Services, Development and External Affairs
  • Frank Hernandez, Annette and Harold Simmons Centennial Chair in Education Policy and Leadership and associate dean, Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development
  • Greg Ivy, associate dean for library and technology, Dedman School of Law
  • Toni Nolen, interim co-director, Technical and Digital Services, Central University Libraries
  • David Sedman, associate professor of film and media arts, Meadows School of the Arts
  • Mitchell Thornton, Cecil H. Green Chair in Computer Science and Engineering and research director, Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security, Lyle School of Engineering
  • Michael Tumeo, director, Office of Institutional Research
  • Sharla Walker, associate director, Office of Financial Aid

Mai Bui will serve the committee as liaison to Human Resources. Brooke Guelker will support the committee, which welcomes input from the SMU community regarding possible candidates for the position. The executive search firm of Russell Reynolds Associates will assist the University in the national search.

Inquiries, nominations and applications should be sent in strict confidence (Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF files preferred) to:

Dr. Jett Pihakis
Russell Reynolds Associates
SMU.CIO@russellreynolds.com
(202) 654-7800

Provost creates SMU faculty Task Force on Scholarly Research and Creative Impact

SMU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Steven C. Currall has appointed 17 University faculty members to serve on the Task Force on Scholarly Research and Creative Impact. The new task force, which began meeting in October, will examine and recommend ways for SMU to strengthen its scholarly research and creative activities to bolster the University’s position as the leading global research university in North Texas.

“SMU is in a unique position because of our geography, resources and faculty expertise to make significant strides in scholarly research,” Currall said. “For example, our high-performance computing capability, a university-wide focus on interdisciplinarity, and arts and cybersecurity research, along with our advantageous location near the heart of Dallas, have the University poised to expand its research footprint and become an even stronger catalyst for regional economic prosperity.”

Currall said the task force will provide “vital faculty-led guidance on how to strengthen our scholarly research and creative activities,” adding that “faculty leadership in this endeavor is crucial.”

(more…)

OE2C: SMU to use savings to fund new Ph.D. fellowships initiative

Dallas Hall steps from a 3rd-story windowSMU is taking steps to increase the number of Ph.D. students on campus by creating a new University-wide fellowship program, announced by the University’s OE2C initiative:

Using funds saved as a result of the OE2C initiative, new graduate fellowships will be awarded this spring to up to 15 high-achieving Ph.D. students in a variety of SMU’s 22 doctoral programs.

Faculty graduate advisors across SMU were invited to submit up to two nominees for the new fellowship. The nominations were reviewed by the SMU University Research Council, a committee of faculty members drawn from disciplines across SMU; the council meets three times a year to vet nominees for SMU Ford Fellowships and other grants.

According to Associate Vice President for Research and Dean of Graduate Studies James Quick, increasing the number of Ph.D. students will provide benefits to the University as a whole.

“We want to have outstanding faculty to provide better education to undergraduates as well as graduate students, “ says Quick. “We want to have outstanding grad students because they add to the educational experience of the undergraduates. They are intermediate in their career development between faculty and undergraduates and are role models. If the grad student is also functioning as a teaching assistant, they add to the faculty member’s ability to teach.

“The new University-wide Fellowship program will enrich an outstanding Ph.D. program, and outstanding students coming to SMU enriches the atmosphere.”

The move to build up SMU’s doctoral programs was encouraged by the SMU Faculty Senate, which, in its resolution of December 4, 2013, urged SMU to create University-wide fellowships for doctoral students, saying they “play a crucial role in engaging and interfacing with undergraduate students in faculty research projects that in turn helps us recruit high quality undergraduates and raise the academic quality of the incoming class … and … [that] doctoral students are the future leaders of research, innovation and scientific progress, of creative enterprise and arts, and of great scholarship, all of which are some of the longest lasting contributions and legacies that SMU can make to the local economy and community. …”

The Faculty Senate followed up with a resolution on April 2, 2014, requesting that the SMU administration devote “… a substantial and appropriate portion of any savings or additional revenue resulting from Project SMU” toward recruitment and retention of high- quality faculty; investment in research infrastructure, university libraries and doctoral programs; increasing the number of laboratory and teaching assistants to improve the quality of undergraduate education; and University-wide fellowships to attract high-quality graduate students.

The new University-wide Fellowship program fund is expected to grow over time, starting with $150,000 for the program’s first year. The inaugural selected Fellows will receive up to $10,000 in addition to teaching or research assistantships offered by their department.

Quick expects the first award recipients to be announced after April 15.

Research: Fossil supervolcano discovered by SMU-led team
now part of new UNESCO Geopark

geopark“It is a rare event that geology is a catalyst of public cooperation and celebration,” says geologist and volcano expert Jim Quick, SMU’s associate vice president for research and dean of graduate studies.

The new Sesia-Val Grande Geopark is an example of just that, says Quick, whose international team in 2009 discovered a fossil supervolcano that now sits at the heart of the new geopark. The discovery sparked worldwide scientific interest and a regional geotourism industry.

Recently designated a geopark by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Sesia-Val Grande Geopark encompasses more than 80 communities in the Italian Alps.

The communities joined forces more than two years ago to promote the park’s creation, which UNESCO made official in September. The geopark spans tens of thousands of acres and has at its center the massive, 282 million-year-old fossil supervolcano.

“Sesia Valley is unique,” said Quick. “The base of the Earth’s crust is turned up on edge, exposing the volcano’s plumbing — which normally extends deep into the Earth and out of sight. The uplift was created when Africa and Europe began colliding about 30 million years ago and the crust of Italy was turned on end. We call this fossil the ‘Rosetta Stone’ for supervolcanoes because the depth to which rocks are exposed will aid scientific understanding of one of nature’s most massive and violent events and help us to link the geologic and geophysical data.”

The fossil supervolcano was discovered by Quick’s scientific team, which included scientists from Italy’s University of Trieste. The supervolcano has an unprecedented 15 miles of volcano plumbing exposed from the surface to the source of the magma deep within the Earth. Previously, the discovery record for exposed plumbing was about three miles, said Quick.

Only a handful of locations worldwide are chosen annually for UNESCO’s coveted geopark designation, which supports national geological heritage initiatives.

Written by Margaret Allen

> Read the full story at the SMU Research blog
> Visit the SMU Research and Graduate Studies homepage at smu.edu/research

Load More Posts