University lags in tech race

FAMU may be holding its own in the great university technology race, but it does have a number of issues.

With students and faculty being able to check their university status without waiting in lines, being able to enter dorm halls or restricted rooms after hours with key cards and browse the Internet without DSL cords, the university’s computer system has moved far beyond where it was a couple years ago.

Although FAMU has made technological advances over the years, a major issue seems to be the student’s lack of knowledge of these advances.

While freshman Gregory Woodall enjoys using FAMU’s wireless Internet service, he is unsatisfied with its efficiency.

When it comes down to where FAMU stands technologically compared to other colleges, Woodall,19, a physics student from Atlanta, said FAMU comes “somewhere in between.”

“It’s down during peak seasons (when school first starts), and it’s down once or twice a month,” Woodall said of the wireless service.

Woodall admitted FAMU’s technology cannot compete with that of schools like Florida State University.

“We could (compete technologically with FSU) if we had the type of support they did,” Woodall said. “They have a much broader alumni base, so they give a lot back.”

One problem some members of the faculty have with FAMU’s technological abilities is its la ck of updated equipment and people to do the job.

“In a year and a half since I’ve been here, one computer out of over 100, including laptops, have been paid for by the university,” McDonald said.

Although new computers were placed in the library at the beginning of the school year, there are dated computers, printers and scanners throughout other parts of FAMU.

The Department of Computer and Information Sciences received new computers last April. But the computers that are in the CIS department were not paid for by the university. They were paid for by grants.

Douglas McDonald, a computer system control coordinator in CIS said he is not disappointed with FAMU’s network. He said that those involved with FAMU’s network have done a good job, but he does not hide his feelings about relying solely on FAMU’s network.

“We don’t have the positions to support a network centric environment,” McDonald said.

Harvey Wilson, a CIS computer program analyst said that FAMU has had many instances where there were not enough qualified, full-time people to do jobs properly. When he graduated from FAMU in 1981, and FAMU had an estimated 3000 students, many programs had the same number of people doing the jobs then as there are now with the student population surpassing 10,000.

“You’ll have one or two people trying to do everything,” Wilson said. “You put out fires, but you aren’t creating anything new.”

To keep from playing the blame game, Wilson said that he focuses less on FAMU’s technological problems and more on how to erase them.

“You just have to frame it in a way to find out how to improve it,” Wilson said.

Contact Brandon D. Oliver at