Category Archives: Staff Computing

New Staff Addition: Helton Alves

Helton Alves began working as a co-op on January 16 and will be working 10-12 hours each week through early May as part of his program at Roxbury Community College (RCC).  He is a candidate for an associate degree in network administration with an anticipated graduation date of May 2014.

At RCC, Helton is a team leader for the “Find My Fine Application” academic support group.  One of this group’s recent accomplishments was to create a helpdesk ticketing application using the .NET technologies.

Helton Alves

Helton Alves, Roxbury Community College Intern

Helton is our fifth co-op in the HSPH-RCC partnership coordinated by the HSPH Office of Human Resources.

Please join us in welcoming Helton to the Harvard School of Public Health!

Successful Disaster Recovery Testing Over Winter Recess

The Department of Information Technology is pleased to report that our disaster recovery testing was very successful over winter break.

On Thursday, December 26, we moved all key systems from on-premises server rooms in the Kresge Building to our off-site disaster recovery site. We were fully operational within 8 hours, with most servers operational within 5 hours.

Server Room in Kresge Building

One of HSPH’s Server Rooms in the Kresge Building

These key systems included:

  • Network storage (P and S drives)
  • Critical building monitoring and security systems
  • Student information system, financial aid systems, and MyHSPH portal
  • Web application servers powering dozens of administrative applications
  • Database servers
  • Accellion secure file transfer service

From December 26 to December 30, we operated all services from our disaster recovery site with very few issues and with excellent speed.

On Monday, December 30, we successfully reverted all systems back to HSPH, reducing the total time required to 5 hours.

This also represents the first DR test the Department of Information Technology has completed with no employees on site. Staff members worked to move systems remotely, either from their homes or on the road in both California and Florida!

A special thank-you to the server team, Brian Pedranti, Tom Gatton, and Nate Varney, for their hard work during break. Additionally, we thank Caryn D’Agostino of the SIS team for their work with the student systems.  Finally, we thank the HSPH community for their patience on December 26 and December 30 during the maintenance window.

The creation of a disaster recovery and business continuity plan is very important, but actually testing and improving upon that plan is the most critical step toward reducing risk in case of an emergency.

New Staff Additions: Lina Ji and Thomas (TJ) Porter

We are pleased to welcome two new additions to the Department of Information Technology, Lina Ji and Thomas (TJ) Porter.  Both Lina and TJ are Northeastern University students and will be working for 6 months full-time as co-ops at HSPH as part of their degree program.  They replace Anastasiya (Stacey) Gudoshnik and Joe Horrigan, who completed their assignments with great success.

Lina Ji is a candidate for a bachelor of science in industrial engineering and will graduate from NEU in May 2015.  Her last co-op was with Agricultural Bank of China in Shanghai, China, where she was a systems engineer responsible for building LINUX servers.

Lina is fluent in Mandarin and is a Northeastern Student Ambassador, which helps new international students become acquainted with the campus.

She will be working the 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM shift.

Lina Ji

Lina Ji, Northeastern Co-op

Thomas (TJ) Porter is candidate bachelor of science in business administration. He will graduate from NEU in May 2016.

His last co-op was with New England Baptist Hospital as a General Stores co-op, where he helped stock operating rooms.  While there, he discovered annual cost savings opportunities in the amount of $9000 in their supply ordering chain.

For you gamers, he is a published contributor to Alienware as an arena writer! He is also a referee and scorekeeper for the Hudson Youth DekHockey League.

He will work the 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM shift.


TJ Porter, Northeastern Co-op

Please join us in welcoming Lina and TJ to the Harvard School of Public Health!

Maintenance Window: Thursday, January 16, 2014

UPDATE: All updates were successful and systems are fully operational.

On Thursday, January 16, 2014 we will be performing our normal system maintenance to all servers.

The maintenance window will last from 7PM to 1 AM.

The following services will have one or two small outages:

(You can continue to work, but may have brief pauses while services restart)

The following services will be unavailable from 7 pm – 10:30pm:

The following services will be unaffected during the maintenance window: 

Upcoming maintenance dates:

  • 2/13/2014
  • 3/16/2014 (Moved to Sunday)
  • 4/10/2014
  • 5/18/2014 (Moved to Sunday)
  • 6/12/2014

Thank You,
HSPH Department of Information Technology

HSPH Website: Changes in 2014!

Dear HSPH Website Administrators,

We will be holding two HSPH website informational sessions to kick off 2014.  They will be held in Kresge G2 on:

  • Thursday, January 16, 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm
  • Tuesday, January 21, 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm

At these sessions, we will bring you up to date on planned initiatives for the HSPH website in 2014, including a major initiative to make the website easier to read and use on mobile devices, including cell phones, iPads and the like.  More than 22 percent of web traffic to the HSPH website now comes through mobile devices that employ smaller screens than traditional desktop and laptop computers – and that percentage is expected to grow tremendously. This project will likely influence how you think about such things as layout and site navigation on the websites you update and manage at the School.  David Marshall, senior web developer, will take you through a discussion of “Responsive Design: Making the HSPH Website Mobile-friendly.” Finally, we’ll leave time for your questions on mobile design or other web topics.

campaign responsive

HSPH capital campaign website is one of our first responsive designs

We hope to see you at a session!

Deane Eastwood
for the HSPH Web Team


  • Introduction and recap of key 2013 website accomplishments
  • Highlighted initiatives in 2014
  • Responsive Design: Making the HSPH Website Mobile-friendly
    • What is Responsive Design?
    • Why is it important?
    • When is it coming to HSPH?
    • How does this impact you as site administrators?
    • How can you help with this important initiative?
    • Q&A

Outlook email maintenance window on Thursday, January 9

On Thursday, January 9, from 4:00 AM to 7:00 AM, Harvard University Information Technology will be performing monthly maintenance on Outlook/Exchange system (ICEMail) that will impact faculty and staff email services at HSPH.

This monthly patching window will be utilized to apply a set of security patches. During the scheduled maintenance window users may experience delays in email delivery or receipt, disconnection or possible unavailability of services. Every effort will be made to keep these disruptions brief. This maintenance work will not result in lost information or email messages.

This maintenance window will not impact HSPH student email on GMAIL.

Renovation of Kresge LL19 Office Area

From December 26, 2013, through January 17, 2014 (winter recess and winter session), Kresge LL19 will be undergoing a modest renovation to the office area.

Benefits of the renovation include:

  • Consolidation of staff members that support teaching and learning
  • Larger area for student workers and student support
  • Collaborative area for tutorials and document sharing

While we will attempt to minimize impact to computer laboratory usage in LL19, it may periodically be noisy.  Computer laboratories in Kresge 209, Kresge 210, and Kresge LL6 are available for use and quiet study.

The renovation does not impact the number of available computers in Kresge LL19.  No changes are being made to the carrel space.

Kresge LL19 Laboratory

Kresge LL19 Student Computing Laboratory


Winter Recess Support Hours

The Department of Information Technology will be providing limited phone support hours to assist the community with computer issues during the winter break.

Phone support hours are as follows:

  • Tuesday, December 24th: closed
  • Wednesday, December 25th: closed
  • Thursday, December 26th:  10 am to 1 pm
  • Friday, December 27th: 10 am to 1 pm
  • Monday, December 30th:  10 am to 1 pm
  • Tuesday, December 31st: 10 am to 1 pm
  • Wednesday, January 1st: closed

Emergency Phone Number

  • 617-520-4774 (617-520-HSPH)

Walk-in service will not be available from December 24th through January 1st.

The Helpdesk will reopen for walk-in service on Thursday, January 2nd at 8:00 am.

Please note that all core systems (e.g., email, network, web servers, server rooms) are monitored throughout the break by the IT staff.  These systems are monitored 24/7/365.

We wish everyone a happy and safe holiday break and look forward to working with you in 2014.

Thank you,
HSPH Department of Information Technology

Congratulations to Erin Provensal!

We are pleased to announce that Erin Provensal, an instructional technologist in Media and Educational Technology Services (METS), was selected as one of HSPH’s first A.C.E. Award recipients.

Mike Kan, Executive Dean for Administration with Erin Provensal

Mike Kan, Executive Dean for Administration, congratulates Erin on the A.C.E. Award

Erin was selected for her outstanding work supporting new educational initiatives, including:

  • providing staffing and production support in HSPH’s distance learning studio for programs in Saudi Arabia, Cyprus and other locations;
  • working with faculty and teaching assistants in the Edx/HarvardX platform for pilot flipped classroom courses; and
  • creating pilot courses in Canvas as part of the Harvard Learning Management Ecosystem project.
Deane Eastwood (left), Erin Provensal, and Taso Markatos (right)

Deane Eastwood (left), Erin Provensal, and Taso Markatos (right)

Please join us in congratulating Erin!

About the A.C.E Awards
Acknowledging Commitment and Excellence (A.C.E) recognizes those who go “that extra mile” in any of a number of ways. Once a quarter, up to 5 employees will be awarded a gift card through A.C.E. to be delivered by an HSPH Senior Leader.

For more information on recognition programs at HSPH, please visit the Office for Human Resources website.