CRITERION II: Resources
Physical Facility and Other Learning Spaces
The University of Northern Iowa provides a physical facility supportive of teaching and learning. At the heart of our 915-acre campus are the Rod Library and Maucker Union in a vehicle-free zone, surrounded by academic and administrative buildings and then residence, athletics, and wellness facilities. The Campus Master Plan for physical facilities was established in 1968, with a major review in 1984 and an update in 1995. Regular review processes are in place, including reports to the Board of Regents, and contributions to the Board's Five-Year Capital Priority Plan. Care is taken that the facilities master plan supports the University's strategic plan (see Goals 5 and 7 of the 2001-2006 Strategic Plan) and maintains a pedestrian-oriented, compact, park-like campus.
The University has been diligent in remodeling and upgrading existing classroom space to meet the technology needs of faculty for classroom instruction. Virtually all rooms are wired for computer access, and the number of classrooms with full multimedia capabilities has been increasing annually. For instance, all classrooms in the renovated Lang Hall will be equipped with state-of-the-art multimedia systems. The University continues to evaluate instructional needs and is committed to providing students with sophisticated learning environments.
Based upon an Annual Report of Space Utilization and the Registrar's ability to schedule courses that accommodate classroom requests by individual units, the number of general-purpose classrooms currently is sufficient for an enrollment of our size. Difficulties are encountered during some hours. As the enrollment of the University increases, more classes will have to be offered outside the traditional 9:00-to-2:00 hours preferred by students and faculty. With Lang Hall unavailable the last couple of years due to remodeling, departments have offered classes on a broader spectrum of available class periods. With Lang Hall available again in January 2001, some of the present scheduling difficulties will be ameliorated.
The University does need to increase special-purpose classroom space. A particular need is science laboratory space. The number of majors in the sciences has grown significantly over the past few years and could grow more if we had additional lab-related space. During the 2000 legislative session, the University secured funding for its highest priority, an addition to McCollum Science Hall. This addition will add 40,000 net square feet of instructional and laboratory space to this facility. Construction is due to begin late in 2001, with completion in 2003.
Overall, both the quantity and quality of UNI's instructional space are very good. We are reasonably well positioned to meet the classroom needs of our current and projected enrollments for the balance of this decade.
Since the last accreditation review, when the Rod Library was seen to be "nearly out of space," a 60,000-square-foot fourth floor was added in 1995 and mobile, compact shelving was installed in 1998. The Rod Library now has a maximum capacity of approximately 1,100,000 bound volumes (see Appendix G for comparative data from peer institutions; Additional information is available in the NCA Report Appendix. Print copies are available for review at UNI's Rod Library) and study capacity for 2,000 users in 240,000 square feet, 19 student group study rooms, 21 faculty study rooms, and 20 emeritus faculty study rooms. The facility was designed to be attractive as well as functional.
Ten years ago, NCA visitors found the number of journals somewhat limited. Since then, Rod Library has continued to devote considerable energies, under its collection management program, to increasing both local holdings and access to remote holdings, especially for journal literature. In the years since the 1991 NCA report, Rod Library has focused increasingly on licensing privately vended databases, including full-text electronic journals, and computer-based access to the Internet and the World Wide Web. During the past decade, when the State Legislature has not provided funds to address the problem of inflationary increases in library materials at Regent universities, UNI addressed this challenge with internal funding, reallocating funds from the Provost's office. Rod Library is now working together with sister Regent libraries and with the Board of Regents Office through the newly formed Task Force on Scholarly Communication and Journals Pricing to ameliorate the effects of insufficient funding for scholarly resources, especially journal literature.
Our library budgets in the past decade have increased about 41 percent for personnel, 62 percent for equipment and supplies and services, and 98 percent for materials. The Rod Library has cooperative relationships not only with the colleges and other campus units (especially Information Technology Services, Print Services, and Continuing Education) but also with the Cedar Falls/Waterloo community, the Cedar Valley Library Consortium, Regent libraries and the State Library of Iowa, and library systems in Austria and Slovakia.
In the last ten years, the library has introduced: "7/24 services;" UNISTAR, an integrated online library system, and other modules; web links and web sites; full-text electronic journals and other databases; two high-technology classrooms; superb services for distance learners; a multi-service center; expanded special collections and archives; and innovations in collection management. Located at the heart of campus, the Rod Library provides equitable access to information resources to support the study and research needs of UNI students, faculty, and staff.
Information Technology Services
In 1997, after years of campus-wide discussion and planning, three separate technology units in three different divisions were combined to form a single Information Technology Services (ITS) unit within the Academic Affairs division. In summer 2000, ITS won honorable mention in the prestigious EDUCAUSE awards for excellence in campus networking, which was announced in September 2000. The position of Associate Vice-President for Information Technology was created to administer the newly constituted ITS organization (now four units, described below) and provide University-wide leadership for other technology organizations on campus, including those within Rod Library, four administrative divisions, and five undergraduate colleges. Each of the five colleges deploys and supports technology specific to its curricular needs; each college has a computing advisory committee of faculty, staff, and students that plans and sets priorities for technology expenditures. For details, see the tributary report, Technology in the Colleges, located in UNI/NCA Resource Room.
The four units of the ITS organization provide network services, administrative systems, user support, and support for instructional technology. ITS-Network Services is at the heart of the University's computing and communications infrastructure. The infrastructure has grown from a single fiber-optic connection ten years ago, to a plan for connecting all campus buildings in 1991, to multi-mode, fiber-optic cables extending to all campus buildings today, with single-mode fiber between key locations. The switching fabric for this fiber-optic backbone was recently upgraded from a 10/100MB Ethernet environment to a 10/100/1000MB Ethernet, in part to support expanded video traffic. The network will continue to evolve to meet the educational and research needs of the University.
In addition to dedicated LANs in the colleges and divisions, ITS-Network Services provides all UNI faculty and staff offices with multiple UTP (unshielded twisted-pair) cables and a 10BaseT Ethernet connection, and all classrooms with multiple UTP cables and means for distributing analog video. Every year, certain buildings are selected for wiring upgrades.
In 1997, as part of a telecommunications system review and plan initiated the previous year, Network Services upgraded the University's telephone system. The 1996 review led also to the development of the Multimedia Storage, Production, Conferencing and Distribution System (MSPCD), providing video equipment and transport, as well as integration and support for training and content development.
ITS-Network Services also supports Res-NET services in the residence halls and maintains the Iowa Communications Network (ICN) and Internet access for the University.
The Administrative Systems Department designs, develops, implements, and manages the University's central administrative information systems. Recent undertakings include the Program of Study project, AccessUNI, the Modern Executive Management and Financial Information System (MEMFIS), electronic transcript evaluation, the student portal project, ID card uses, and Y2K coding.
The User Services Department, which maintains a Computer Consulting Center to provide students, faculty, and staff with general assistance on computer problems, installs PCs across campus and manages virus protection software for the campus. During the 1999 calendar year, the Center handled over 16,000 requests for service. User Services also maintains 300 personal computers in six locations across campus, including two 24-hour facilities. More than 8,000 different students visited at least one of these computer labs in fall 1999.
ITS-Educational Technology (ET), the fourth department in ITS, provides one location on campus where faculty, staff, and students can come to receive assistance on the newest learning technologies. The Center for Educational Technology houses the MSPCD system, as well as graphics and courseware production, video and audio production, video/audio engineering, a staffed "self-service" multimedia lab equipped with the latest digital audio and video editing equipment and software, and checkout for multimedia equipment. ET has recently added support for instructional design and development; ET staff consult with faculty about how and when technology would be an appropriate choice to help achieve learning outcomes. Assistance is offered through MSPCD, multimedia courseware mini-grants, courseware camps, over 30 monthly technology training workshops, ICN workshops, the US West Iowa Teacher Technology Project, Iowa Educational Technology Training Institute, over 200 computer conferencing workshops annually, a Humanities Institute, and the Iowa Technology Showcase Project. ET also provides the campus community with satellite services and three forms of cable television distribution.
The many services provided by ITS will help the University achieve its strategic objectives, particularly those related to Goal 7.0 of the 2001-2006 Strategic Plan:
Continue to improve capital, physical and informational resources
at the university. Specific objectives are 7.1, Enhance
technologically appropriate teaching and learning facilities and
equipment, and 7.2, More fully integrate modern technology into
the everyday lives of UNI students, faculty, and staff.
The "Strategies for Using Technology to Advance the University Strategic Plan" document (see and http://www.uni.edu/its/ad/strategies.html) also addresses how technology can be used to assist the University in meeting its strategic goals.
Last Modified: 02/14/01