For Release On: January 11, 1999
SECOND MOST WIRED CAMPUS IN NATION INVESTING
$50 MILLION TO MAINTAIN LEADERSHIP IN NEW CENTURY
NEWARK - New Jersey Institute of Technology will claim $2.8
million from the state Commission on Higher Education next week, a welcome
contribution to an aggressive $50 million plan that will keep the university
ahead of the curve in information technologies and serve as a national model
for institutions of higher learning.
NJIT, already one of the nation's most computing-intensive universities,
is rated second-most wired campus in the country by Yahoo! Internet Life Magazine.
Dartmouth is first, and MIT is third. NJIT is the only university in New Jersey
listed in Yahoo's top 50.
Now, on the verge of a new millennium, NJIT is again leading the way - with a five-year
investment plan to enrich both the hardware and the software capabilities of its already
robust program. The university has already invested an additional $2 million in its high
performance computing and technology infrastructure this year.
"The goal, ultimately, is to use technology to help students take more control over
their own learning, to support creativity within the university community and to encourage
the exchange of ideas," said NJIT President Saul K. Fenster.
Students, faculty and staff will have access to a virtual
private network so powerful, and secure, it can support seamless collaboration and research
at any time, from anywhere in the world. This network opens wider doors to a wealth of information
previously available only on the Newark campus - expanding access for the entire NJIT community to
proprietary information and services - e-mail, library journals and collaborative research projects.
Students already are using the Internet to submit assignments,
access course notes, research library journals, register for classes and converse with their advisor.
Soon, they will be able to access the tools they need to design new buildings, develop complex
solutions to engineering problems or compile detailed management analyses - all by logging into
the NJIT network.
The plan also calls for expanded training and support programs
campus-wide, including technical support personnel to assist students and faculty who are working
together to experiment with, learn and apply new technologies.
Investments, once made, must be maintained. "Technology
infrastructure is just as fundamental to a technological research university as bricks and
mortar," said David Ullman, Director of Management Information Services at NJIT and Chairman
of the university's planning task force. But, on average, computers become obsolete after
three years - which is why NJIT is planning to increase its current annual investment into
the system by $1.5 million as a result of internal budget reallocations and a new student fee
- raising annual spending to more than $9 million.
Fenster, Chairman of the Technical Advisory Committee of the
Presidents Council and the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education, emphasized the importance
of careful planning for this kind of critical spending.
"It's no longer enough to just provide computing," said Fenster.
"Communication and access to information have become critical as information technologies transform
the very foundation of our society and our economy. To excel in the Information Age, organizations
and institutions must not only incorporate the new technologies, they must also evolve appropriate
organizational and planning structures to use that technology effectively."
"Massive capabilities and fancy applications are well and
good, but if they don't advance the underlying mission of the organization, they're a waste
of time and money," said Ullman. "The initiatives in NJIT's plan provide a technology
infrastructure that will advance the university's focus on teaching, learning and research."
At NJIT, Fenster instituted a campus-wide planning process
to link technological enhancements to the specific needs of the various university
constituencies - creating a model of how technology can be used to further the fundamental
mission of any organization. The NJIT plan, formed through months of careful research and
planning, reflects a progression of investment in cutting edge technology and provides a
reliable template for a "virtual university."
NJIT has a significant history of national leadership
in information technologies. In 1976, university researchers created EIES (the Electronic
Information Exchange System), the first computerized conferencing system and a forerunner
of many of today's modern e-mail and communication systems. In 1983, NJIT became the first
public university to provide incoming freshmen with personal computers. In 1985, the
university's School of Architecture became the first Architecture school in the country
to recognize the emerging importance of computers in design by requiring computerized design
in its curriculum. In 1986, NJIT pioneered its trademark Virtual Classroom‘ for computer
conferencing and distance learning. By the early 1990s, the Guttenburg Information Technologies
Center had opened and NJIT faculty were breaking ground in university-level programs for distance
Now, NJIT is maintaining that historic lead by creating a
"virtual campus," which can offer access to anyone, from any corner of the globe - providing a
level of connectivity rarely seen on college campuses.
"Yahoo said we were number two, and we thank them for their
confidence," said Thomas Terry, Executive Director of Computing Services at NJIT. "We're
striving to continue to deserve high ranking. We plan to make NJIT the most technologically
advanced computing intensive university in the country."
NJIT is a public research university enrolling nearly 8,200
bachelor's, master's and doctoral students in 76 degree programs through its five colleges:
Newark College of Engineering, School of Architecture, College of Science and Liberal Arts,
the School of Management and the Albert Dorman Honors College. Research initiatives include
manufacturing, microelectronics, multimedia, transportation, computer science, solar astrophysics,
environmental engineering and science, and architecture and building science.
Yahoo! Internet Life magazine ranked NJIT the second
"most wired" campus in the nation, U.S. News and World Report's 1999 Annual Guide to
America's Best Colleges ranked NJIT among the nation's top universities, and Money magazine's
Best College Buys 1998 rated NJIT as the sixth best value among U.S. science and technology
schools and among the top 100 overall.
Initiatives included in first phase of the expanded NJIT computing plan:
- Develop a virtual private network giving faculty, staff and students access to
campus-based proprietary information resources, such as course registration, course notes,
grade book, library holdings and purchasing from anywhere via the Internet.
- Augment high-performance computing services for long running, computing intensive
projects generated by faculty and students.
- Expand research facilities for doctoral students and researchers who need access to
real-time interactive visual graphics and information processing.
- Provide University Hall with technology-enabled "smart" classrooms, fully equipped with
- Provide web-enabling access to the university's student information systems for faculty,
staff and students.
- Complete the final stages of campus rewiring for bringing high-speed network connections
to all labs, classrooms and offices.
- Implement an annual distribution program of high performance computers for full-time
faculty and instructional staff.
- Re-engineer a professionally managed help desk to provide a customer-centered and
responsive support structure.