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February 2021
McMaster Connectivity Newsletter

For the IT community, by the IT community.


McMaster IT News

McMaster IT Strategic Plan extended to 2022

Last week at the 2021 McMaster IT Forum, AVP & CTO Gayleen Gray provided an update on the McMaster IT Strategic Plan and announced the plan would be extended to 2022. The extension allows for strategic alignment with the new institutional vision and strategy and provides further opportunity for McMaster IT to achieve its goals. Further information and engagements will be rolling out in the coming months. Stay tuned!
Read article

That’s a wrap! Connectivity 2021 comes to a close

Connectivity 2021: McMaster’s IT Forum has concluded a week-long program of celebrating successes, sharing experiences and learning with McMaster IT professionals from across campus. Held virtually for the first time ever, the IT Forum was opened by keynote speaker, Brian Keating. The week also included speed-learning sessions covering various IT projects, a networking session (with a virtual escape room!), well-being sessions, an insightful panel of past McMaster Women in Tech Changemakers and capped off with an update for the McMaster IT Strategic Plan.
Read more
Connectivity 2021 Teams is still open

Whether you attended the IT Forum or missed out, the Teams group will remain open for all McMaster IT professionals. We are currently working to make all the recorded IT Showcase sessions available in the coming weeks. See recorded knowledge sharing sessions on McMaster IT projects past, present and future — all right in the Teams group.

Join Teams

Thank you McMaster IT!

Connectivity 2021 was an enormous undertaking and an even greater success. And none of this would have been possible without the many volunteers, presenters and, of course, you — the McMaster IT community. The IT Forum would not be what it is without an engaged community eager to learn.

Be sure to check out and add to our McMaster IT kudoboard which will be open throughout March. Congratulations to the winners of our kudoboard doughnut draw: Christian Gundlack and Harbinder Khangura!

Until next year!

Give kudos
Post-event survey 

Have some thoughts you want to share about the IT Forum? Let us know in the post-event survey!

Take survey

IT Governance update

On January 21st, 2021, the IT Executive committee met to review and discuss proposed IT initiatives which had already been endorsed through our IT Governance standing committees. Click below to learn more. 
Read full details

Share McMaster's research needs by completing the NDRIO Survey!

The New Digital Research Infrastructure Organization (NDRIO), who support the national research computing platform, has launched a nation-wide survey, as part of their Canadian Digital Research Infrastructure Needs Assessment. This survey is open to all Canadian researchers, and aims to understand unique, individual needs as related to digital research infrastructure (DRI).

Please note the survey is open until Monday, March 1. Please share your thoughts!

Inaugural year of McMaster Women in Tech concludes

One year ago, the Office of the AVP & CTO in partnership with the Equity and Inclusion Office launched the ‘McMaster Women in Tech’ — an initiative to raise the platform of women tech changemakers within and connected to McMaster.

“We’ve brought lots of women into this initiative to celebrate their amazing accomplishments as Changemakers. And they have all had very different roles and experiences,” says Gayleen Gray, McMaster’s assistant vice-president and chief technology officer.

From faculty members, students, staff and leadership, our selected Changemakers have been using tech in innovative ways across diverse areas, including start-ups, education, IT security, equity and research. A principle at the core of all Changemakers is delightful technologies — technology not just for its own sake but what it can do to help us, enable us and enhance our lives.

Stay tuned to learn more about how this initiative will evolve!

McMaster Women in Tech: the nominees

As McMaster Women in Tech series concludes, the Office of the AVP & CTO wishes to honour and acknowledge all nominees. Colleagues from across campus nominated many women tech leaders highlighting the depth and breadth of talent at our institution.
Read their profiles

Meet MAC! The new chatbot for the Registrar's Office

MAC is here to help answer Student Services questions about OSAP, fees, admissions, enrolment, scholarships & bursaries and more!

MAC is just starting out but the more you use them, the more they learn. If MAC doesn’t know the answer to your question, users will be directed to a Student Services Professional (SSP) for help during online chat hours.

Connect with MAC through the online chat button on our website.

Virtual hallway chats with Gayleen

Listen in! Virtual hallway chat with Christine Costa and Gayleen Gray

Virtual hallway chats aim to break the routine of our work from home lifestyle and simulate the casual conversations we miss; chats that would take place in the halls of the workplace and on coffee breaks as if we were still on campus.

This episode features Christine Costa, Organizational Design and Development Consultant with Human Resources. Check out the conversation as Christine and Gayleen discuss various topics like travel, music and gratitude.

If you are interested in chatting with Gayleen, please reach out to Tanya Reid at

Hallway chat

Catch up on new Teams features and updates

See a demo above of the Office 365 Hub for the McMaster Community.
  • A new Forms update includes a new layout, response limit increase and more, while also allowing greater integration with Teams.
  • Channel calendars allows the creation of a meeting, then users can add it to their personal calendar. This feature provides all members within the channel, except guest users, visibility to upcoming events.
  • Training sessions for Teams will continue until March. If you are interested, click below. 
MS 365 sessions

Zoom Live Captions now available ...and training for staff, faculty and students!

Zoom live transcription now available for McMaster community: 
To see how to use and activate live transcription, see this article.

Zoom training: 
Zoom beginner and advanced training is available every week from January until the end of March for staff, students and faculty members. Beginner sessions are Tuesdays 1:30-2:30PM and advanced sessions are Thursdays 9:30-10:30AM. Please note that you have to register at least 24 hours before a session starts to ensure you receive the meeting link.
Zoom training sessions

Black History Month at McMaster

As you are all aware, February is Black History Month in Canada and elsewhere. Over the last many months, the leadership team at McMaster has made very specific and conscious efforts to move forward with specific initiatives to address inequities, including a focus on Black academic excellence. You can learn more about Black History activities through this week's DailyNews articles and related links to information on social media

Items of Interest

Catalyst Cyber Range launch
Introducing the Catalyst Cyber Range, a state-of-the-art cybersecurity training and testing platform designed to upskill cybersecurity talent and drive cyber research and development in Canada. McMaster's Information Security director Tracy Dallaire was on the panel during the launch, discussing the Cyber Range and its potential. The range offers a simulated network environment with dozens of real-world cyberattack scenarios with on-site and virtual programming to organizations across Canada.
Watch the launch

The McMaster Okanagan Committee

The McMaster Okanagan Committee is committed to advancing health and well-being of the McMaster community. Two notable projects are currently underway. The McMaster Okanagan Mental Health & Well-being Task Force advises the university how to best address the mental health needs of the entire McMaster community, and the McMaster Okanagan Special Project Fund is currently accepting applications if you have an idea for a safe (virtual / distanced) health and well-being initiative for McMaster students, staff or faculty. Apply and you can receive funding up to $5,000 towards running your project.

Daily Well-being Tips

Follow the McMaster Okanagan Committee on Instagram or Facebook for daily health and well-being tips. These daily tips cover all areas of the Eight Dimensions of Well-being - Emotional, Financial, Social, Spiritual, Occupational, Physical, Intellectual and Environmental.
Claiming Home Office Expenses on Your 2020 Taxes

With so many staff and faculty working remotely, there have been many questions about how to claim work from home expenses and the use of T2200/T2200s forms for the 2020 tax year. 
McMaster will work with KPMG to issue electronic T2200S forms to all eligible employees who wish to claim work expenses incurred working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
Forms will be prepared and distributed directly to employees by email by March 31, 2021. This will be managed and supported centrally for all staff and faculty by Human Resources with support from KPMG. 
Individuals do not need to submit the T2200S form when filing their taxes electronically but retain in the event they are asked to produce by Canada Revenue Agency.
Additional tools and resources are available for employees to help use this form and calculate expenses.
webinar will be held March 2, at 1:00 p.m., to answer any questions employees may have. Employees need to register as attendance is limited. The session will be recorded and posted for those who cannot attend.
Employees who are eligible to claim other employment related expenses, in addition to home office expenses and office supplies (eg. motor vehicle, travel), must obtain a signed T2200 form. The process for obtaining a T2200 form remains unchanged and employees will need to request this form from their manager per the current T2200 form policy.
If you have any questions, review the Frequently Asked Questions about Home Office Expenses or contact your HR representative.

EDUCAUSE 2021 Horizon Report

The inaugural "EDUCAUSE Horizon Report | Information Security Edition" is here! This new version of the "Horznon Report" series recognizes that security and data privacy have an extraordinary and increasing significance for the future of higher ed. The report profiles key trends and emerging technologies and practices shaping the future of information security. Based on the perspectives and expertise of a global panel of leaders from higher ed, this report envisions many scenarios and implications on the horizon.
See report

Have a story you want to share with the IT Community? Email Peter McDonald at to feature an article!

IT@Mac Website
2020, McMaster IT

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