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UNK Welcomes NCA

Chapter 4: Criterion Two

The institution has effectively organized the human, financial, and
physical resources necessary to accomplish its purposes.

Academic Resources

Library. Calvin T. Ryan Library supports UNK's mission by providing information resources and delivering technology needed for the teaching, research, and scholarship done by UNK faculty, students and staff. Its staff acquires and manages informational resources and provides access to resources and services not physically available at UNK. The Library strives to develop in UNK students an awareness of available resources and skills to locate, evaluate, and effectively use information.

Classrooms and Laboratories. Since the last NCA accreditation visit, UNK has renovated all classrooms in Copeland Hall, West Center, and the Communications Center. The Education Building opened in 2002.

Table 4.9

  UNK Classrooms and Laboratories  
       Lab   Class-      Smart  
  Building   Labs   Stations   rooms   Seats   Classrooms  
  A.O. Thomas Hall   -   -   10   267   4  
  Bruner Hall   15   459   9   545   2  
  Communications Center   -   -   1   25   1  
  Copeland Hall   1   40   14   843   8  
  Education Building   2   30   8      8  
  Education Center   -   -   2   74   -  
  Fine Arts & Art Wing   9   332   5   186   4  
  Founders Hall   1   12   5   141   1  
  Health & Sport Center   -   -   6   266   5  
  Library   2   46   2   65   2  
  Ockinga Center   -   -   1   50   1  
  Otto Olsen Vocations Bldg.   3   66   11   476   8  
  West Center   1   45   15   268   15  
  Total   34       1,030         89       3,206         59    

Currently, UNK has 89 classrooms and 34 laboratories, located in 13 buildings on campus. Of the 89 classrooms, 59 are designated as "Smart" classrooms, equipped with a core set of equipment including a video projector, a visual presenter or Elmo, computer, VHS tape-player, teacher's workstation, and wall or ceiling mounted screen. Many have additional specialized equipment. Table 4.9 summarizes the classroom information by building.

Distance Education. At UNK, there are several types of technologies for the delivery of distance education. These technologies provide both synchronous and asynchronous courses. Synchronous courses require the instructor and students to meet at the same time, but a portion of the students are in separate locations from the instructor. Asynchronous courses separate the instructor and students in both time and space, permitting students to examine the lesson and perform the coursework at their convenience.

The Center for Distance Education serves the primary purpose of providing the technical infrastructure and support for synchronous courses. UNK's technology for these courses include the following:

UNK Online courses are offered electronically through the Internet allowing the student to attend class anywhere there is a computer and Internet access. Online courses are similar to traditional courses in that they are instructor-led where the instructor develops the curriculum, conducts the class, gives the assignments, answers questions, leads discussions, and assigns grades. Online courses are highly interactive with faculty and students communicating through e-mail, discussion forums, and chat groups.

As indicated in the table below, headcount enrollment in synchronous and asynchronous courses is increasing, while enrollment in traditional off-campus courses is decreasing.

Table 4.10

Headcount Enrollment from Distance Education Courses
    Course Type  
  FY   Traditional   Synchronous   Asynchronous   Total  
  1999   2,074   763   112   2,949  
  2000   2,627   698   49   3,374  
  2001   1,911   661   290   2,862  
  2002   1,150   690   528   2,368  
  2003   1,207   939   1,026   3,172  

Information Technology. The Assistant Vice Chancellor for Information Technology provides campus-wide leadership for technology and technology issues. Twenty full-time staff in Information Technology Services (ITS) support network services, system services, application development and operations, technology resource acquisition, and user services. These user services include the helpdesk, training, and multimedia support. In addition, ITS approves technology-related purchases to ensure compatibility with the campus network and verify software licenses and enforces acceptable use policies and other technology-related guidelines (

ITS' responsibilities include security of information. ITS maintains and periodically updates a Disaster Recovery Plan for mission critical applications. All servers housed in the ITS machine room are physically secure and backed up on a regular basis. ITS ensures that software and operating system patches are kept current. Two off-site storage locations are maintained for backup media.

In addition to ITS staff, the four academic colleges and the Calvin T. Ryan Library each have a Technology Coordinator to provide hardware and software support within the unit. These units deploy and support technology specific to their own curricular needs.

The UNK community has input into technology issues through two committees. The duties and membership of these committees are outlined below:

The topic of technology at UNK is very broad. The following pages address Administrative Applications, the Helpdesk, network systems, system services, and student services in detail. The following points, however, provide general information about technology at the UNK campus:

Administrative Applications. UNK uses software developed by SAP, Inc. for financial and human resource applications. The University of Nebraska Computing Services Network located at Central Administration in Lincoln supports this system. Campus technical issues are coordinated through Information Technology Services.

For student and course information, UNK uses SCT Corporation's SIS Plus system, which originally deployed in 1991. Using SIS Plus, UNK was the first higher education institution in Nebraska to offer touch-tone telephone registration capabilities to students during the 1990's. In 1999, these services moved from the phone system to the Web. UNK uses the SIS Plus system for numerous functions, including:

CONNX, an inquiry tool for data files, permits ad-hoc queries of SIS data. E-Print, software that allows users to view SIS output with a Web browser rather than printing paper copies, has reduced printer output and resulted in more efficient business processes. Users no longer are required to pick up printed output from ITS, and output that must be archived can be saved to CD, reducing physical storage space.

WebSMART, a Web-based application interface to student information for faculty use, allows faculty to view and update specific student information using a standard Web browser. All approved users can view student contact information (address, email address, phone), search course sections by day, time, location, start time, and identify writing intensive and cultural diverse courses. Faculty advisors can view the student's schedule, credits transferred-in, unofficial transcript, and degree audit. Department chairs can permit registration for closed classes, for students who exceed the maximum number of credit hours, and list students by majors and minors. All faculty can display their own class schedule and student rosters. Since the Fall 2000 term, UNK faculty enter grades on-line.

Many student services are available through WebEASI, a web-based interface to the campus' Student Information System (SIS). This includes registering for classes, checking grades, and reviewing class schedules. After completing registration, students may reserve or purchase texts from the Antelope Bookstore. The "smart link" passes course information to the bookstore site where books for those specific courses are already selected. In addition, students can use WebEASI to apply for financial aid, review their aid application status, accept or reject loans and workstudy awards, and review their award history. Students also have access to consumer information including how his or her financial aid eligibility was determined, how the student loan process works at UNK, how financial aid applies to the student's bill, and the student's rights and responsibilities.

Helpdesk The ITS helpdesk provides students, faculty, and staff with general assistance on hardware and software problems, installs desktop machines (both PC's and Macs), and manages virus protection software and Microsoft software licensing. The Helpdesk also schedules equipment checkouts and provides paper and printing supplies to residence hall computer labs. Laptop computers, external disk drives, cameras, and projectors are available for check-out by faculty and staff.

Network. Ten and 100 MHz Ethernet technology is the basis for the campus network. It is a star arrangement, implementing a router-centric collapsed backbone topology. Every building, including residence halls, is connected to the Otto Olsen building via multi-mode and single-mode fiber. The central core of the network places each building in its own routed virtual local area network (VLAN), attached to a central switch fabric. The core is well suited to support multimedia and distance learning applications.

ITS provides and manages access to the Internet for the UNK campus via a dedicated 45Mbps DS3 circuit. Recently, UNK completed a redundant path for Internet access and to the University of Nebraska Central Administration as part of a statewide network initiative.

Wireless deployment is minimal, with approximately 8 access points operational in August, 2003. Testing of a wireless LAN management application for authentication is nearing completion, and a plan to expand the areas covered by the wireless network is under development. A point-to-point wireless connection from Centennial Tower West (CTW) to The Museum of Nebraska Art in downtown Kearney provides high-bandwidth connectivity to the museum for distance learning and video-conferencing, as well as Internet connectivity. Fiber upgrades in various locations are in progress, including installation of a redundant path to the west side of campus. IP Telephony testing is underway at UNK, with seven vendors providing systems to be shared with the city, county, public schools, the educational service unit, and hospital.

System Services. Information Technology Services supports Blackboard (a web-based course management system), Lotus Notes email, network storage, and network printing.

Student Services. Students are assessed a technology fee of $6 per credit hour, which generates approximately $1.0 million annually. These funds support projects that directly benefit students. Past uses have included new equipment in student computer labs every three years; licenses for anti-virus, Blackboard, and Career Services software; Student Information System (SIS) hardware and software; intrusion detection and firewall for network security; library network and fiber upgrades; campus internet connectivity; and wireless network deployment. The fund supports salaries of the campus Web Presence Coordinator in the Office of Communications, a Helpdesk staff-member, student lab monitors, and student technology assistance on campus.

There are 50 student computer laboratories on the UNK campus with about 625 computers. Approximately 25% of the machines are Macs. The general purpose student computer laboratory located in the Student Union is open 24-hours a day, seven days a week with a lab monitor always on duty. In addition to Microsoft Office, lab computers have Microsoft's Publisher and FrontPage, Macromedia's Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Flash, and Freehand, and Adobe's Pagemaker, Acrobat, and Photoshop. To accommodate students with disabilities, one workstation sits on a height adjustable stand. In addition, each residence hall has a computer lab for hall residents. Residents have access to this facility 24-hours a day. A network printing system, based on Uniprint software, works with the UNK ID card system to allow students to scan an ID card and deduct printing charges from a pre-paid account. Laser print output in most campus labs is five cents per page. Output in residence hall labs is free.


The strengths of UNK's academic resources include the following:


The major concerns related to academic resources are as follows:

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