Communities of Practice

The Michigan IT working group supports numerous Communities of Practice (CoPs) in which like-minded professionals share information, experiences, and ideas around a particular IT topic in support of the university’s missions.

In response to a pilot survey, CoP members described their experience as involving a greater connection to the IT community (89%), gaining valuable knowledge (86%), feeling supported (86%), and feeling personally fulfilled (79%).

To help you find communities of practice that may be of interest to you, communities are organized by "what we do" and "how we do it." Generally speaking, “what we do” communities are focused on front-line technologies and “how we do it” communities are more focused on approaches we take in implementing technology.

To participate in a community, contact the CoP's facilitators, subscribe to the MCommunity group (if available), or attend a meeting. If you wish to create a new CoP, or update this page with information about an existing community, please contact Lisa Callihan and Bryan Martyn, CoP facilitators, at


Click on an event title to see more details about the event.


Communities focused on “what we do”

Assessment & Evaluation

Facilitators: Steve Lonn, Enrollment Management (; Vicki Bigelow, Center for Education Design, Evaluation, and Research (

The purpose of the Assessment and Evaluation Community of Practice is to connect members of the U-M community who are engaged in assessment or evaluation work focused on teaching and learning outcomes and foster collaboration across units and disciplinary domains.

Augmented and Virtual Reality Systems

Facilitators: Daniel Fessahazion, Digital Media Commons (; Don Lambert, College of Engineering (

The purpose of this community is to explore and learn from each other on the various uses of Augmented and Virtual Reality systems. The group will track the emergent uses of these technologies and share individual experiences with the different platforms. The group will meet regularly, with opportunities for members to present, identify challenges and share experiences.

Business Intelligence

Facilitators: Brandy Wood, ITS (; Chris Gardner, ITS (

The purpose of the Business Intelligence Community of Practice is to build and grow an analytics community through network, information sharing, and skill development related to analytics, reporting, and business intelligence at the University of Michigan.

Classroom Technology (including lecture capture)

Facilitator: Chris Visel, Ross School of Business (

This group is intended to bring together individuals responsible for classroom technology to freely share information about upcoming technologies and how they are implemented in classrooms on campus.


Facilitators: Bill Connett, Survey Research Institute (; Nikki Heffernan, College of Engineering (

The Cloud Community of Practice is intended for those interested in the use of cloud-based systems, either as infrastructure (e.g., servers, networks in the cloud) or as services (e.g., pre-built web services). Cloud vendors will include Amazon, Microsoft and others as interest dictates. The purpose of the group is to provide education through formal presentations, informal discussion and active sharing of information and methods, and to develop an enjoyable interconnected peer group interested in learning about all things cloud with low vendor egoism.

Constituent Relationship Management (CRM)

Facilitators: Scott Berkley, Ross School of Business (; Haley Gould, ITS (; Julia Hoffert, School of Music, Theatre & Dance (

The Michigan CRM Community of Practice is for those interested in being involved, or just monitoring, work being done with CRM systems and projects across the university. Constituent (or Customer) Relationship Management (CRM) currently exists in pockets all around campus and this group is exploring the possibility of an enterprise CRM system/approach for campus.  We aim to:

  • Develop an overall, campus-wide vision and strategic approach to full life-cycle constituent data management and care.
  • Define a program and approach that aligns business processes and functions with constituent and institutional priorities.
  • Invest in an “ecosystem” of CRM products that aligns with this strategy by meeting the various needs of stakeholders and maintains data interoperability.
  • Subscribe to the Michigan CRM MCommunity group.

Content Managers (Digital Signage) 

Facilitators: David McConnell, ITS (; Adam Roehm, ITS (; James Lengerich, ITS (; Ben Wang, ITS (

This group holds quarterly, 90-minute meeting that provides a collaborative environment where Content Managers can share resources and ideas, work on sign design, content, keep informed, and provide service feedback to the ITS Digital Signage Team.

Data Integration

Facilitators: Shelly Turner, ITS (; Mike Sheppard, ITS (; Amber Madden, ITS ( ); Fusen Li, HITS (

This group is for those interested in sharing Data Integration best practices and experiences. This group will focus on development platforms, professional networking and knowledge sharing.

Data Storage

Facilitators: Ryan Bankston, LSA (; Jeremy Hallum, HITS (; Nancy Medd, ITS (; Faye Ogasawara, CLaSP (

The Storage Community of Practice facilitates sharing information and challenges to help understand how we do what we do, where we can improve individually and collectively, and strengthen existing relationships to support and learn from each other. The group meets monthly to hear presentations from different IT professionals across campus on how storage is selected, set up, used (from multi-petabyte to department level storage solutions), best practices, and storage related topics of interest from perfSONAR to University Library initiatives for research support.

Digital Education and Online Learning

Facilitators: Melinda Kraft, ITS (

The digital education ecosystem is expanding as the demands of students and faculty increase. With variations in staff skill levels, the group will discuss the best ways to support faculty while delivering the “active learning” experiences students expect.

Engaging the World from Your Classroom

Facilitators: Todd Austin, LSA (; Philomena Meechan, LSA (

The focus of the Engaging the World from Your Classroom Community of Practice, developed in conjunction the Global Teaching with Videoconferencing grant project, is about joining U-M classes together with classes in other countries over a videoconferencing link.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Facilitators: Peter Knoop, LSA (; Jason Tallant, LSA (; Nicole Scholtz, Library (

The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Community of Practice provides a venue for members of the campus community to share information, experiences, and ideas around GIS topics. We meet periodically for a presentation and discussion of broad general interest, and to provide a face-to-face forum for general knowledge sharing and networking with ones' GIS peers within the broader U-M community.

Google Apps Development

Facilitator: Ridley Jones, School of Information (; Rob Carleski, ITS (

The purpose of the Google Apps Developers group is to bring those interested in Google's wide array of development tools—Google Apps Script, APIs, the webstore, and more—together to learn and build.  Ultimately, we want to develop expertise to harness the power of Google at Michigan, for the benefit of each other and those we support.

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)

Facilitators: Regis Vogel, Office of University Development (; Jeff Wright, ITS (

This group is for those interested in learning about PCI compliance on campus, sharing successes and failures, collaborating to find common solutions, and improving the campus risk profile. "Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).

Web Hosting

Facilitators: Brian Cors, ITS (; MaryBeth Stuenkel, ITS (; Sam Keith, HITS (; John Turner, Museum of Art (

The purpose of this group is to connect staff on campus who either use or support users of web hosting services on campus. One of the goals of this group will be to determine whether needs are being met by service providers on campus, and if not, how best to meet those needs.

Communities focused on "how we do it"

Agile Development

Facilitators: Richard Palacios, ITS (; Andy Vella, Medical School (

This group will discuss agile philosophy and how it applies as part of the Michigan IT software development strategy. Meetings will be conducted in Agile Coffee as well as topical discussion formats. Meetings are once per month at various locations throughout campus.

Community of Practice Facilitators

Facilitators: Lisa Callihan, LSA (; Bryan Martyn, HITS (

A Community of Practice for facilitators was established in order to share resources, challenges, tips, support and tools among the Michigan IT Pilot Communities of Practice. The pilot period ended in summer 2015, but the group continues to meet to take what we’ve learned and work toward applying the lessons more broadly. Ultimately, our goal is to provide an ecosystem that sustains healthy, vibrant, and relevant communities of practice.

Contact Centers Operations

Facilitators: Lisa Callihan, LSA (; Jennifer Herron, ITS (

This group is intended to be a collaboration of all contact centers across campus to share operational information and best practices. This includes any area that has a point of contact for customers to call for assistance (e.g., support centers, help desks, service desks, information desks).

Customer Service Advocacy

Facilitators: Mike Morabito, ITS (; Erin Dietrich, LSA (

The Customer Advocacy Community of Practice will join together those at U-M who help customers navigate the U-M IT ecosystem, guide customers to services that exist, and advocate for them when services don’t yet exist.

Data Management

Facilitator: Kyle Kerbawy, HITS (

The goal of the Data Management Community of Practice is to fulfill a key component of the IT Strategic Plan around Institutional Data Access and Management, consolidating functional and technical requirements for data and how data and information are managed across the organization.

IT Service Management

Facilitator: Andrea Stevens, ITS (

The IT Service Management Community of Practice seeks to establish ongoing opportunities to discuss and exchange knowledge relating to how IT services are delivered with a business lens focus, utilizing the IT Service Management methodology and all the various IT frameworks that exist.

Project and Program Management

Facilitators: Dima Tawakkol, ITS (; Roger Gillie, School of Dentistry (; Nadine Korc, HITS (

The purpose of this group is to connect people who have an interest in project management and program management. We support each other to gain certifications, knowledge, and success stories. We share and explore emerging methods, new possibilities, and best practices. We coach one another to improve the project, program, and portfolio management discipline across the university.

Women in IT

Facilitators: Amber Madden, ITS (; Jen Burch, ITS (; Debbie Gowan, ITS (; Carrie Shumaker, ITS (

Currently women make up less than 25% of the IT workforce in the USA. Minorities make up even less. Let's explore why that is, and how we can promote diversification in IT.

The Women in IT Community of Practice seeks to establish a network of people in the field of Information Technology to support women’s career growth, education on relevant topics, and look for ways to increase the number of women in IT. We will also look for opportunities to reach out to the community to encourage women of all ages to embrace and nurture their love for technology. We meet monthly.

NOTE: Communities of Practice will not serve as governance or steering committees, but are about coordinating and sharing knowledge with peer IT experts across the university.