U asking for more technology funding

Chris Vetter

In a bit of last-minute campaigning for state funds, University administrators went before legislators Monday to again stress the importance of technological improvements on campus.
The meeting before the House Higher Education Budget Committee opened a big week for the University, as officials present their two-year budget to the Senate Higher Education Committee today and Wednesday. University President-elect Mark Yudof will make an informal address to the Senate committee today.
Marvin Marshak, senior vice president for Academic Affairs, told the House committee that professors are able to use computers and the Internet in lectures and laboratories like never before. Enhancing this capability is a part of the University’s plan to use technology in every aspect of learning, he said.
“Our goal is to integrate technology into all University functions,” Marshak said.
Funding for new technology is one of the key components of the University’s $580 million biennial budget request. Marshak said at a meeting last week that the University will require $295 million in state funds during the next four years for technology updates and improvements.
Marshak added that the University is considering a technology requirement for prospective freshmen. Students would have to demonstrate their capabilities in such tasks as sending e-mail and finding information in online libraries.
“We need to coordinate between K-12 and higher education for levels of technology,” Marshak said.
Sandra Balli, an instructor in the College of Education and Human Development, said even grade-school students are already benefiting from computers in the classrooms. She said grade-school students can e-mail professors and research topics on the Internet. Students are also learning to create their own home pages on the World Wide Web, which has made them care more about their writing, she added.
“Students are more interested in spelling and grammar when they find out their work will be published (on the Web) and read around the world,” Balli said.
Rick Peifer, the assistant director of the University’s general biology department, stressed that as valuable as new technologies can be to education, they are only supplemental.
“Our goal is not to replace teachers with technology,” Peifer said. “Our goal is to enhance instruction.”