New College technology plan in development

New College has started developing a long-term technology plan that aims to help meet New College’s future technology needs. “The concept came about last January,” Dean of the Jane Bancroft Cook Library Brian Doherty told the Catalyst. “It pushes us into a more strategic way of looking at technology.”

According to Doherty, the first decade of New College’s independence from the University of South Florida was spent replacing the network infrastructure and business systems lost as a result of the change. “Well, we’ve got those systems up and running — I won’t say maximally — but they’re running,” Doherty explained. “Now it’s time to begin to think about how we can focus more on the academic programs.”

The plan will largely focus on upgrading and improving reliability of campus technology, equipment for the new Academic Center and technology for use in academic programs, faculty research and classrooms. It also includes a replacement for Ansible (also known as Luminis) with an open-source software and a third-party service provided by the CampusEAI Consortium (CEAI). New College received a 10-year, $2,000,000 grant from CEAI to implement the new “cloud-based” system. Because the system is cloud-based, or hosted remotely hundreds of miles away, it won’t have to depend on New College’s own servers. The new system will also give users direct access to systems such as NewCLEIS and Banner in addition to message boards, blogs, polls and surveys.

Two Technology Town Halls were held in the Cook Library Special Collections Room last month to gather student input on the technology plan, but attendance was low. “I think one of the challenges is that technology doesn’t resonate with a lot of people,” Doherty said. “I mean it’s there, it’s ubiquitous, but do you really care about it much? At a place like New College we would probably get more on a session on Kierkegaard than we would on technology.”

Although the Technology Town Halls were held last month, Doherty emphasized that student input is still welcome. “Kathy [Killion] is always around and I’m always around so if a student can’t make it to this session, certainly our doors are always open and we’re very, very anxious to hear what students have to say. It’s very, very important to us. We can speculate only so much.”

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