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II. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

(Revised)

Information technology and the widespread employment of computer technologies have revolutionized all areas of academic endeavor: instruction, learning, scholarship, research, creative activities, and community outreach. To support these new academic endeavors, WNMU will establish and maintain new delivery systems in its service area and the State of New Mexico. This necessitates an extensive institutional investment in all aspects of information technology.

The viability and efficiency of academic and administrative support services, as well as instructional and outreach services, will increasingly rely on information technology systems. For the university to achieve excellence, all institutional activities must incorporate compatible and appropriate advanced equipment and programs.

An eight-member committee appointed by President Counts investigated the existing information technology environment, gathered data about perceived needs and/or problems, and identified solutions. The findings and recommendations contained in this plan were gained from discussions with administrators, faculty members, support personnel, and students; a survey conducted by ITSP-TF in March 1998; and direct input from members of the Information Technology Strategic Plan - Task Force (ITSP-TF). A large cross-section of the University in terms of occupation, specialization, work assignments, interests, level of automation use and expertise, staff and length of tenure at WNMU contributed to this report. The information gathering method ensured representation and consideration of all users and all aspects of information technology on the campus.

The Task Force focused on six major areas of investigation: (a) Organization and Planning, (b) Instructional Delivery, (c) Education and Training, (d) Academic Administrative Support, (e) Networking and Access, and (f) Support Services and Maintenance. Two other areas of investigation have been added as part of the focus of the University's technology goals: Computing and Telecommunications Technologies Services and Web Inter/Intra-net Development. Highlights of the problems and issues, recommendations, benefits, and implementation costs [dollar figures completed June 1998] are summarized below. 

 

PROBLEMS AND ISSUES

Organization and Planning

  • Development of centralized control and operation of information technology across campus.
  • Limited policies and procedures to guide the various campus technology units including Computing and Telecommunications Technologies Services (CATTS) and Outreach Services & Technology (Extended Learning).
  • Lack of clear campus-wide computing standards for hardware and software, including Network Operating Systems and platform specific choices.
  • Maintaining equalization of project and personnel levels at CATTS.
  • Decentralized and incomplete software license control. Software License Control can be addressed to some extent with SMS. We must determine how to extensively deploy it.
  • Software License Control.
  • Insufficient funding for ongoing support of Information Technology.
  • Lack of faculty involvement in distance learning.
  • Lack of policy regarding the development/agreement for courseware generation.
  • Lack of policy regarding attendance by university members of in-house IT Training.

 

Computing and Telecommunications Technologies Services

  • Insufficient resources to adequately address technology training.
  • Ability to develop and maintain technology staff certification.
  • Inadequate resources to address fully software/hardware requirements for departmental, faculty and staff use. 

 

Education and Training

  • Lack of awareness by many employees and students of available computing resources and services.
  • Inadequate expectation for computer literacy demanded of students, staff and faculty.
  • Limited training opportunities for technical skills for both general knowledge and advanced users.
  • Limited recognition for "technology leaders."
  • Lack of sufficient skills and knowledge on the part of lab assistants to undertake software/hardware troubleshooting.
  • Limited incentive systems to encourage employees to enhance technology skills.
  • Need for more training classes conducted by CATTS.

 

Academic/Administrative Support

  • Overabundance of paper processing to conduct routine business.
  • Lack of easy access to institutional data and information.
  • Storage of (hard-copy) records takes up large amounts of space; information not easily retrieved.
  • Obsolete equipment for some staff and faculty.
  • Training and equipment issues with SCT Banner access most cases, accessible via the Web.
  • Inadequate resources for supporting network access to student residence halls. 

 

Networking and Access to Information

  • Lack of campus-wide connections to communications networks, including the residence halls.
  • Few and scattered networked classrooms.
  • Limited distance learning capability.
  • Limited CD-ROM database access.
  • Need for increased library technology integration.
  • Limited Bandwidth for current networks and external connections.
  • Lack of definition for infrastructure requirements for new construction/renovation.

 

Support Services and Maintenance

  • Ad-hoc basis for upgrading of technology for staff, faculty and students.
  • Random technology repair and maintenance.
  • Inadequate general purpose computer lab support.
  • Lack of specified campus-wide technology standards.

 

Instructional Delivery

  • Lack of faculty/staff support center to encourage the integration of Information Technology (IT) into the curriculum.
  • Only limited number of classrooms are adequately equipped with IT.
  • Inadequate discipline-specific computer labs.
  • Insufficient quantity and quality of IT.
  • Limited incentive system to encourage faculty to integrate IT into curriculum.
  • Limited resources for faculty to pursue course development.

 

WEB Inter/Intra-Net Development

  • Limited resources in personnel, hardware and software to fully develop and maintain WEB implementation.
  • Limited WEB awareness in the university community and its positive significance.

  

 

RECOMMENDATIONS AND BENEFITS

ORGANIZATION AND PLANNING

Recommendations:

  • Develop an on-going planning process for information technology expansion, use, maintenance, replacement and training.
  • Establish campus-wide standards for networking, hardware and software. Standardization and formality needs reviewing with regard to training requirements.
  • Specify control responsibilities and duties with regard to academic and administrative software licenses.
  • Implement a systematic budgeting process.
  • Explore alternative sources of funding and out-source as possible for more cost-effective services; develop a funding plan for on-going technology support.
  • Develop a reward system to encourage instructional technology use.
  • Facilitate development of WEB based instruction by identifying and implementing policy for courseware generation.
  • Develop/implement policy for faculty/staff participation of ‘in-house’ IT training.

 

Benefits:

  • Faculty, staff and student use of information technology will be enhanced.
  • Delivery of information services will be streamlined.
  • University information technology implementation will be clarified.
  • Enhanced funding for information services will increase capabilities and use.
  • Lines of duty and responsibility will be clarified.
  • University members will be equally aware of and skilled in IT.

 

 

COMPUTING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGIES SERVICES

 

Recommendations:

  • Identify training to enhance professional development in the technical area.
  • Develop training plans for professional certification and maintenance thereof.
  • Identify administrative/academic software need and address.
  • Address support positions for WEB development and Telephone

Benefits:

  • Maintain and develop information technology staffs level of skill and knowledge.
  • Provide IT staff a Plan to address growth for professional development which intern increases the IT staff's ability to address newer and leading edge technologies.
  • Providing adequate means by which software for faculty may be delivered in a timely manner.
  • Addressing support issues to increase the levels of access of technology by the faculty, staff and student.

 

 

EDUCATION AND TRAINING

Recommendations:

  • Develop education and training programs for faculty, staff and student assistants.
  • Expand technology literacy skills expected of students in the literacy classes.
  • Define a minimum expected level of computing skills for faculty and staff.
  • Design training that supports a basic level of competency for all lab assistants, staff and faculty.

Benefits:

  • Increased proficiency with information technology uses and applications by faculty and staff.
  • Increased awareness of available information technology on campus.
  • Achievement of an acceptable level of technology literacy for WNMU graduates.
  • Proper and valuable assistance provided when needed and where needed for faculty, staff and students. 

 

 

ACADEMIC / ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT

Recommendations:

  • Implement a comprehensive Student Information System (MIS).
  • Provide user-friendly access to an integrated campus-wide information system (an overall MIS system).
  • Automate the processing of routine forms and paperwork.
  • Implement an integrated document imaging system.
  • Implement an integrated alumni/donor system.

 

Benefits:

  • End-users will have access to information needed for effective and efficient planning and management.
  • Units within the University will be better equipped to attract and retain students.
  • Access to data and information will increase productivity.
  • Appropriate technology will enable rapid response to information and service requests. 

 

NETWORKING AND ACCESS TO INFORMATION

Recommendations:

  • Expand networking capability to include all faculty, staff, residence-halls, classrooms, student labs and conference rooms, i.e., full campus-wide access to the out lying areas.
  • Development of e-mail as a campus-wide standard for integrated communication.
  • Provide electronic access to external databases and networks, through a campus LAN.
  • Establish distance learning center with appropriate funding.
  • Provide staff and resources to support information technology integration for library services.

 

Benefits:

  • A campus-wide electronic communication "backbone" will be established.
  • Communication among faculty, staff, and administrators will improve.
  • Faculty and students will have unlimited world-wide access to information.
  • Instructional services will be expanded for WNMU Centers in Gallup, Deming, and Truth or Consequences. 

 

SUPPORT SERVICES AND MAINTENANCE

Recommendations:

  • Ensure through appropriate planning that state-of-the-art computer equipment is available and used.
  • Provide adequate technology support personnel.
  • Establish clear policies and appropriate funding for information technology repair and maintenance.
  • Define criteria, support and standards for campus-wide technology.
  • Using existing academic programs and work-study programs, establish more direct student involvement in campus technology. Given our manpower shortages, we can and must effectively utilize students who are anxious to learn and gain experience. This may include some reliance on secondary training systems. For example, department staff may train work-study students on technology-based tasks used in departments and offices.

Benefits:

  • Students will benefit from the latest technology.
  • Faculty and Staff will be able to use modern courseware.
  • Enhanced quality of education.
  • More timely resolution of problems.
  • Reduction of compatibility problems will promote campus-wide communication.
  • Standard parts and repair methods will make maintenance easier. Establishing a link with student resources and the maintenance thereof provides the university a pool of manpower that not only enhances departmental function but will provide avenues of experience and skill development for our students. 

 

 

INSTRUCTIONAL DELIVERY

Recommendations:

  • Provide easy access to technology, especially adaptive technologies, for the physically challenged.
  • Regularly upgrade computer technology in all student laboratories.
  • Design and implement computerized classrooms and laboratories and encourage their use.
  • Establish viewing and distribution labs for distance learning.
  • Identify program areas for curriculum enhancement/development.

Benefits:

  • Technical upgrades and support will enhance student learning.
  • A visible centralized source will provide for instructional and learning needs.
  • Physically disabled students will have access to technology that best serves their needs.
  • Students will be better prepared for graduate school and employment opportunities.
  • Instructors will be able to share teaching media.

 

IMPLEMENTATION PLAN WITH COSTS

In Section VI of this document.

 

CONCLUSION

Widespread interest, expectation, and determination exist among employees and students

  1. to improve current information technology capabilities;
  2. to expand hardware and software holdings and applications for teaching, learning, research, administration, data processing and storage;
  3. to expand campus access to educational, administrative, and research information and thereby improve the communication process;
  4. to enjoy the educational opportunities and rewards available through the use of existing and emerging technologies;
  5. to provide adequate and on-going funding sources to support WNMU’s movement into a technological society.

This plan specifies the direction WNMU must take with respect to information technology. The Task Force urges that its recommendation be implemented as quickly as possible, given financial considerations.


Western New Mexico University
PO Box 680  Silver City, NM 88062
Phone: 575-538-6149     Fax: 575-538-6243

 

 

 
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