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IT officer answers tech questions

Ashley Charnley | Thursday, November 13, 2008

Chief Information Officer Janice Thomasson discussed new innovations in Information Technology on Saint Mary’s campus during the Board of Governance (BOG) meeting Wednesday.

Thomasson took questions from board members about students technology concerns on campus, ranging from wireless Internet to the absence of printers in various residence and academic buildings.

Thomasson referred to the Information Technology Strategic Blueprint for Saint Mary’s College, which is available on the Saint Mary’s student Web site. This plan lays out upcoming advancements that will take place at the College in the next few years.

Thomasson described the plan as “the road we plan to take at Saint Mary’s to help you have a better student experience through the year 2012.”

One of the major concerns from board members was the availability of wireless Internet in Le Mans and Holy Cross residence halls. They are the last remaining buildings without this service.

The reason the process cannot be sped up is due in large part to funding, Thomasson said.

“It’s Holy Cross especially; very historic, very old, with very thick walls which I have to drill through, and that costs much more money. So, it’s all about money,” Thomasson said.

Shauna Morris, the board’s athletic commissioner, said residents of Opus Hall, the senior apartments on campus, have been having trouble with their wireless connection. Thomasson said the problems are due to the newness of the wireless technology.

“Wireless, again, is still in, not babyhood, but it’s a toddler. And it’s not quite ready to be mainstream yet,” she said.

Aside from wireless, board members also mentioned adding network printers to buildings on campus, adding a computer lab in Spes Unica and improving student identification cards. Thomasson said these problems are all addressed in the Strategic Blueprint.

Thomasson also mentioned that internships are available in the IT office. All the students who have participated in this program have received good, high-paying jobs after graduation, she said.

The internship counts for three credit hours and can be set up with a faculty sponsor. It allows students the chance to boost their résumé, Thomasson said.

In other BOG news:

u The BOG members discussed an open forum for students to discuss food at the Noble Family Dining Hall. The forum will be held in the Student Center before Thanksgiving Break, Student Services commissioner Catherine Meadors said.

Barry Bowles, general manager of Sodexo at the College, will be attending the forum in order to take questions and suggestions from the students about the food in the dining hall.