Chapter 4: Criterion Two
The institution has effectively organized the human,
physical resources necessary to accomplish its purposes.
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.
- Facilities: The Library is located near the center of campus in a three-level building of 122,308 square feet. It was built in 1963 and an addition was opened in 1983. Study seating is available for 890 people. It contains two 23-station computer labs with Internet connection. Public parking is unavailable, but members of the public wishing to use the Library may obtain a parking pass. In addition, the Library houses:
- the Writing Center
- the Regional Instructional Materials Reviews Center (RIMRC)
- the Adaptive Technology Center.
- Print: The Library owns 210,225 books in the main circulating collection, 15,195 in the Reference Collection, 2,269 in the Special Collection, 16,989 in the Children's Collection, 4,130 in the Curriculum Collection, 1,327 in Archives, and 23,717 in the textbook collection, for a total of 273,852 books. The Library also holds 111,436 volumes of bound periodicals, 10,397 Nebraska documents, and 213,622 Federal documents.
- Microforms: The Library owns 625,303 items of ERIC microfiche, 203,016 Government Documents items on microfiche, and 135,999 other microfiche items; 24,240 rolls of microfilm, mostly back issues of periodicals; 70,392 micro-card items, and 20,584 ultra-fiche items.
- Nonbooks: This facility also owns 75,430 items in non-book format, such as kits, games videos, globes, art prints and tests.
- Total holdings: The Ryan Library possesses a total of 1,764,171 items: 385,288 print books, 224,019 documents books, 1,079,434 items of microfilms, and 75,430 non-books.
The Library subscribes to 1,552 current periodicals, receives 71 gift periodical titles, and subscribes to indexes that provide the full text of articles in about 8,000 periodicals. In FY 2003, the Library spent $156,935 on book and non-book materials, $443,209 on periodicals, and $158,602 on access to electronic resources. It also spent $16,526 to acquire materials through InterLibrary Loan.
- Personnel: The Library has 10 faculty members (1 Professor, 7 Associate Professors, and 2 Assistant Professors), and 14 office/service staff. The Library's personnel budget in FY02-03 was $1,043,866.
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.
|UNK Classrooms and Laboratories|
|A.O. Thomas Hall||-||-||10||267||4|
|Fine Arts & Art Wing||9||332||5||186||4|
|Health & Sport Center||-||-||6||266||5|
|Otto Olsen Vocations Bldg.||3||66||11||476||8|
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:
- NEB*SAT II is a satellite-based system of one-way video/audio with return audio via telephone. There are over 400 sites in Nebraska that can receive this system.
- NEB*SAT III is a satellite-based system of two-way audio/video transmission. Statewide, there are 16 communities with 27 downlink sites equipped for this system.
- UNK is a member of the Tri-Valley Distance Education Consortium (TVDEC), a 24-site terrestrial fiber network located in high schools in central Nebraska. The UNK classroom located in CMCT 243 offers two-way audio/video. This network is in the process of converting from analog to digital and will be connected to the Southeast Nebraska Distance Learning Consortium. Upon completion of this conversion, UNK will be able to connect to an additional 80 sites including UNL and UNO over this network.
- With funding from a UN Foundation grant, video-conferencing over IP with UNO and UNL is available. A high-speed network connection between the three campuses along with specialized computers that convert audio and video to data, provide quality sound and video. This grant will also be used to provide equipment in North Platte and Grand Island so that UNK will be able to better cover our service area. This IP traffic will be carried over an expanded statewide data backbone that is being developed by the University of Nebraska.
- The College of Education Building has two new distance learning rooms, 206 and 224. These rooms are connected to all of the technologies mentioned above by a switching system that was installed in the spring of 2002. This switching system provides signals to all of the UNK distance learning rooms including rooms in the Communication Center (rooms 101, 241, 217 and 221), and the College of Nursing (rooms 144 and 148).
- NVCN or the Nebraska Video Conference Network is a telephone-based two-way audio/video conferencing system used for meeting or other short-term purposes. The NVCN room on campus is CMCT 250. There are approximately 25 sites in Nebraska with this technology.
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.
|Headcount Enrollment from Distance Education Courses
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 (http://www.unk.edu/offices/its/policies/index.php?id=869).
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 Technology Advisory Committee (TAC) advises the Chancellor about information technology strategy, including objectives, programs, and investments that will apply information technology to improve teaching, learning, and campus services. In 1998, 2000, and 2002, TAC conducted surveys to determine student computer use and preferences for future improvements. UNK has used the results of these surveys to prioritize spending of student technology fee revenues. The Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs chairs the committee. Members include the Vice Chancellors, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Information Technology and faculty, staff, and student representatives selected by the Chancellor.
- The Academic Information Technology Committee is one of the Faculty Senate standing committees. This committee advises administration and faculty on means of using technology to improve teaching and learning. The ten-member committee is composed of six faculty members, the Assistant Vice Chancellor of Information Technology, the Director of the Libraries, the Director (or designee) from the Center for Teaching Excellence, and one student selected by the Student Senate. The faculty of the four colleges, the Library, and the Faculty Senate each elect one of their members to serve on the committee.
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:
- All campus offices, both academic and administrative, have network/Internet access.
- All classrooms have Internet access.
- UNK Connections, a retail outlet, offers educational discounts on hardware and software to students, faculty and staff.
- UNK streams audio for athletic events via the Web in cooperation with a local radio station.
- Video of special campus events, such as commencement, is streamed via the Web.
- There are 64 Smart Classrooms in campus buildings, equipped with computers, projectors, screens and/or SmartBoards, digital presenters, and VCR's for instructor use. Approximately 25% of Smart Classrooms are equipped with SmartBoards.
- There are 84 servers supported by Information Technology Services and academic colleges/divisions. Approximately 80% of the servers are the responsibility of ITS.
- Six classrooms are equipped with sound systems to provide accommodations for students with auditory disabilities. Two portable sound systems are also available.
- In November, 2003, the New Media Consortium approved UNK's membership. The Consortium recognized the campus as a "New Media Center" for its commitment to pushing the boundaries of teaching and learning by the application of technology.
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:
- Student Records
- Financial Aid
- Bursar functions
- Housing and Dining Services
- Degree Audit
- EDI Smart
- Web For Students (called WebEASI)
- Web For Faculty (called WebSMART)
- Faculty Management
- Transfer Articulation
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.
- Blackboard, a web-based course management system used on all University of Nebraska campuses, is available for all course sections. Students receive Blackboard accounts, with usernames and passwords available in WebEASI. About 50.0 % of faculty and 80.0 % of students use Blackboard.
- Lotus Notes is the University-wide e-mail system. All UNK faculty, staff, and students are assigned email accounts. ITS maintains three e-mail server lists (Employees, Announce, and Students) for quick and efficient communication with campus groups. The Chancellor, Vice Chancellors, and Deans can post messages to the Employees list. Anyone can post messages to the Announce list, which includes all faculty and staff. Faculty and staff, however, may "unsubscribe" from the Announce listserv. The Student Union sends an informational message to Students once a week and on special occasions to notify students of special events and announcements.
- ITS systems specialists manage Web servers, print and file services, Public Safety's permit/ticket tracking hardware and software system, and imaging hardware and software system for the Office of Financial Aid. In addition, all faculty, staff, and students have server space to create their own Web pages. UNK also hosts a Web server that supports the Central Nebraska Drug Court.
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:
- UNK has up-to-date technology in the Library.
- The Inter-Library Loan program provides quick access to items not held at UNK.
- The Government Documents collection is extensive.
- Over 70 % of UNK's classrooms are "smart" classrooms, equipped with modern audio-visual equipment.
- UNK has the ability to deliver academic courses and programs off-campus, using a variety of technologies.
- The Student Technology Fee has generated $5.0 million over the last few years, which UNK has invested in campus technology projects.
- UNK was approved for membership in the New Media Consortium, recognizing the campus' commitment to technology.
- Many of the student services are now available on-line.
- UNK has a ratio of one computer in a computer laboratory for every 10 students.
- All residence hall rooms have an Internet connection for each occupant.
The major concerns related to academic resources are as follows:
- Although there have been budget increases for Library collections, these increases have not kept up with increases in publication costs. As a result, the number of periodicals and new books purchased has been declining.
- Many of the current library staff are nearing potential retirement age, so turnover of staff will likely be an issue in coming years.
- Portions of the campus information network are over 10 years old, requiring replacement to support streaming media, voice-over-IP, and other services. With the budget situation, however, finding funds for this upgrade will be difficult.
- Currently, UNK's network management consists of two staff-people, making it difficult to provide 24-hour coverage.
- ITS does not have the funds needed to deploy and support new technologies and applications, such as a learning object repository, e-portfolios, and streaming media.
- ITS lacks sufficient funding needed to train staff on new technologies.