Phillip Barak, Professor of Soil Science, has been appointed as the college’s Interim Director of Information Technology, a one-year 50 percent appointment, reporting to Interim Dean Goldman. In this position he will work closely with staff in CALS Administrative Computing, the CALS Computing Lab, and the CALS Communication Program to carry out the following duties:
- Provide CALS with leadership in seeking immediate and long-range solutions to major information technology problems, including data security, server capacity, data storage and backup, web development and development of tools for the administration to better serve the college;
- Provide advice and recommendations on the optimal configuration of personnel to provide information technology support services in both CALS administration and in individual CALS units; and
- Recommend a plan to the CALS administration for information technology support and services for the future.
Barak has served as chair of the campus-wide Information Technology Committee, a shared-governance (faculty, staff and students) committee, since September 2006. He is recognized as an early-adopter in employing information technology in research and teaching related to his area of expertise, the soil chemistry of plant nutrients, plant nutrition, and scientific visualization. A website that he created, The Virtual Museum of Minerals and Molecules, was selected as a winner of ScientificAmerican.com‘s 2003 Sci/Tech Web Awards, given to web sites identified as “the most innovative, creative and valuable as science and technology resources for our readers.” In 1999 that website and his course Web site, Plant Nutrient Management, earned him an EDUCAUSE Medal award, given to honor individuals who have demonstrated that information technology can help improve undergraduate education.