2011 TC Pressroom
Teachers College, Columbia University
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$6 Million for Technology, Plant Improvements: From Fiber-Optic Cable to More

The Teachers College Trustees have approved $6 million of expenditures over the next two years to upgrade technology throughout the institution--from classrooms to offices to residence-hall rooms--and to make critical repairs to the physical plant of the College.

While the amount authorized does not cover the full $26 million identified for critical plant repairs and advanced technology, it does provide for initial efforts to build the foundation for continued improvements.

The funds were approved by the Trustees in the form of a bridge-loan and will be taken from the College's quasi-endowment. The money will be paid back to the TC endowment over the next several years from various sources, including funds to be raised in a major capital campaign, proceeds from a possible bond offering to support refurbishment of TC's housing and other short-term borrowings.

A major part of the upgrading will be the creation of a campus-wide, integrated-structure, fiber-optic cable and wiring plant to provide telephone and data networking in all campus buildings. Classrooms, meeting rooms, offices, library facilities and residence halls will be re-wired to fulfill all current and anticipated voice, data and imaging needs.

The re-wiring will actually be a pre-wiring--with new information ports for plugging in telephones, computers and network devices as ubiquitous as telephone jacks or electrical outlets are today, according to Ena Haines, director of Computing and Information Services and chair of the Technology Advisory Committee at the College.

The new wiring will extend back to wiring closets distributed among various floors of all the buildings on campus. These closets will simplify adding new connections and identifying and resolving problems. Network devices located in the closets will be upgraded or replaced to keep up with increasing traffic and evolving technology.

It is estimated that the network project will cost $1.6 million over the next two years.

The two-year plan also calls for the upgrading of four classrooms or meeting rooms with display technology each year. According to Haines, the intent is to add "four Goodman Rooms every year." The Goodman Room, on the third floor of the Milbank Memorial Library, is one of the most technologically rich classrooms at the College.

Like the Goodman Room, these new spaces will be renovated and equipped for high-quality displays with computers, projectors and video equipment, as well as proper lighting and sound appropriate to the space.

Work-Stations

The technology plan also calls for the replacement of one-fourth of the faculty and staff work-stations at the College every year. High-end work-stations in the computer labs and classrooms are to be replaced on a two-year cycle.

The estimated total cost over two years of the upgrading and creation of classrooms, laboratories and library facilities is $1,119,000.

The estimated cost for upgrading work-stations for faculty and staff over the new two years is $947,000. After the two years are over, the regular replacement of work-stations will be built into the College's annual operating budget. The operating budget will also be used to fund additional staff to support implementation and use of technology.

New Classrooms

Other plans include:

A new hands-on, work-station classroom, similar to 345 Macy, in which all students work at computers during class sessions.

An advanced projects laboratory, where faculty, staff and advanced students can create software and multimedia projects for use in classrooms and for distance learning.

Incentives and support to TC faculty who undertake projects that incorporate technology into courses for on-campus and/or distant students.

Plans have been developed with the Technology Advisory Committee, the Milbank Memorial Library, the Institute for Learning Technologies, student surveys and interviews, research on activities at other institutions, consultants, and various discussions on topics such as distributed learning and electronic publishing.

The $6 million worth of expenditures over the next two years will not include any technological innovations, Haines said. "These changes will not do anything but bring TC up to date with its technology," she said, "but we have to crawl before we can walk."

Committee Members

The Technology Advisory Committee has included the following individuals over the last two years:

From the faculty, John P. Allegrante, John B. Black, Marla R. Brassard, Josue M. Gonzalez, Jo Anne Kleifgen, Kathleen Loughlin, Robert O. McClintock, Gary Natriello, Marie T. O'Toole, Craig E. Richards, Ernst Z. Rothkopf, Herve Varenne and Richard M. Wolf (New members for 1996-97 are Winthrop R. Adkins, Benjamin Bell, Merrilyn L. Gow and Frank L. Smith).

From the administration and staff, Aram Adishian, Craig Becker, Terry Dillon, Jane P. Franck, Drew La Stella, Nancy Masterson, Abdur Raqib, George B. Schuessler and Frank Webster.

From the student body, Pamela Theroux and Claude Thomas (Current student members are Steve Albanese, Keith Taylor and David Van Esselstyn).

The late Sergio Gaitan also participated.

Others who were involved in discussions of technology goals and strategy were William J. Baldwin, Howard Budin, Peter Comeau, Peter Cookson, Tom Fiorella, Larry Furnival, Angelo Miranda, Shawn Mishler and Jonathan Sloane.

Students who were interviewed included Beverly Ginsburg, Zoe Leven, Brigitte Magar, Patricia Nicholson, Tara Niraula, Michael Nord and Sadi Seferoglu.

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