The Future of Technology at UC Davis
With the onset of "Tidal Wave II," the campus will no longer be able to respond to increased enrollment pressures by adding faculty and staff: there simply isn't enough time to construct the buildings needed to accommodate the large enrollment growth anticipated by 2010.
This is not a situation unique to UC Davis: over the next ten years, the ten campuses of the University of California system, by Master Plan Mandate, must accommodate over 60,000 new students. At UC Davis, we are expected to grow from 25,000 to approximately 31,000, a growth rate of about 2.2 percent per year.
Clearly, with this growth comes a number of opportunities and challenges. We have no choice but to become more efficient in our use of resources. One of the most important ways to achieve this goal is to make more effective use of technology in teaching and research.
Improved Communication and CoordinationA few years ago, the campus developed a coordinating framework designed to identify campuswide technology opportunities and improve productive communication. Given how fast technology evolves, we need to ensure that we can identify and address the needs and challenges of students, faculty, and staff.
Information and Educational Technology (IET) has increased efforts to communicate with the campus community, particularly through mechanisms like the Technology Infrastructure Forum (TIF), the Technology Support Program (TSP), and targeted online publications (such as the Faculty Technology Guide, see page 8). In addition, many of IET's resources for faculty have been consolidated into a single entity, Mediaworks, which Director Harry Matthews describes elsewhere in this issue (see What's New at Mediaworks).
Equally important is the role that the two coordinating councils, the Academic Computing Coordinating Council (AC4) and the Administrative Computing Coordinating Council (AdC3), play in setting the direction for technology planning, implementation, and coordination. Both councils meet monthly to discuss issues related to information technology.
In recent months, the AC4 and AdC3 have investigated critical projects that, through the application of new technologies, promise to improve the ways in which we teach, study, do business, and even recruit students. Three of those projects are of particular interest:
Meeting Computing NeedsEffective use of technology is also predicated on ensuring that everyone on campus has adequate computational capacity to take advantage of modern software. For students, the AC4 has developed the Student Computer Ownership: A Statement of Expectation, which states that, beginning in Fall 2001, all entering undergraduate students will be expected to have access to a personal computer meeting basic performance criteria (e.g., word processing, spreadsheet program, internet access). By establishing this expectation, the campus makes it possible for students to incorporate the purchase of a computer into their financial aid calculations, if necessary. (See http://computerownership.ucdavis.edu/ for more information.)
On the faculty side, the campus has recognized that faculty in disciplines not traditionally associated with computation now require sophisticated hardware and software to access and display information for their teaching and research. Many of these disciplines do not have access to extramural funds to purchase this equipment. Therefore, the campus has diverted a substantial portion of intramural computer funds to academic departments to provide funds for these purchases. AC4 will be working with campus administration to make sure that all faculty have access to adequate computational resources for their needs.
Clearly, we now have many opportunities to ensure that technology is used effectively in support of the campus's mission. I welcome your suggestions and comments to help us steer the campus in the right direction. Please email the council at firstname.lastname@example.org, the forum for discussion of academic computing issues before the Council. I also welcome direct correspondence to email@example.com.
Richard Plant is a professor with a joint appointment in the departments of Agronomy and Range Science and Biological and Agricultural Engineering.