II. 2000-2001 Priority Issues
D. Discipline Specific Support
1. Need Reflected in Survey and College Plans
In the 1998 survey 65% of the faculty indicated that they would consider reallocation or definitely reallocate funds for discipline specific projects, 22% definitely would reallocate funding, and 13% consider funding for this area their single top priority. More projects in the college plans fall in this area than any other. They represent more than $2,000,000 in costs. 81% of faculty spend some time teaching computer applications. 23% of faculty spend more than 10% percent of their time in class teaching computer applications.
Discipline specific instruction occurs both in disciplinary labs and general open labs. Discipline specific labs are developed based on need, available space, funding through College budgets and external resources. It should be noted that other departments would develop discipline specific labs based on need but cannot because of lack of space and resources. Departments that depend on general labs for discipline specific instruction rely heavily on academic computing staff to insure that software and hardware operate properly. This places additional burdens on AC staff who need to generally learn and comprehend the discipline specific software in order to maintain it.
Since the open labs can be used for drop in work when not scheduled for classes, they offer a greater advantage of maximizing resources when compared to a discipline specific lab. Currently there are 581 computers in different disciplinary labs.
3. 00-01 Plan
The ARCC recommends allocating 60% of available funds (after 15K is allocated for support) for discipline specific projects this year. The total cost for discipline specific projects in this year's plan is well over
$2,000,000. This will allow ARCC to fund 3.4% of the costs of these projects.
4. Future Recommendations
a. It is difficult, since the ARCC has not deliberated the merits of the disicipline specific projects at this time, to set a recommended funding level. However if one assumes conservatively that 50% of these projects are worthy, then the minimum funding should be set at $1,000,000. Note this is the amount of funding needed for the open labs and students are currently supporting this area with $200,000 of their fee money.
b. Technical support staff for this area should be increased. This assistance is especially needed for departments that teach in the open labs. The need should be assessed across the University.