Semester reboots with new technology across campus

As the summer winds to an end, some items on campus are finding new beginnings, such as the many new technology changes at the college.

Vice President of Administration Jon Varnell said that those changes included computer deployments, yearly replacements of Mac’s and PC’s, new Xerox printers, a modified wireless service, new door access points, and a newly designed website for the college.

These changes have been celebrated by some and loathed by others for myriad reasons.

“The printing portion of the copy machine installation has been frustrating, but is getting better by the day,” said Varnell.

Following the summer’s end, the leases on the copy machines throughout campus were up for renewal, and the old copy machines had to be returned.

Director of Information Technology and Services Teresa Sanford said that, while the new printers installed throughout campus provide superior print quality, there have been complaints about the software platform.

“Before, only students had to swipe in order to print,” said Sanford. “Now all faculty and staff — along with students — have to swipe in order to print, which some feel is a slow, complicated process.”

CCE students and staff, like Rita Serkin Dean and Vice President of the Center for Continuing Education, feel lukewarm and yet hopeful about the new machines.

“My staff and student reaction to the new printers is hardly printable, although everyone admits that when you finally get your printing job it produces a nice copy,” said Serkin.

IT&S is working with the contractor to make these changes more convenient, according to Sanford.

There was also a wireless system upgrade at the end of the spring semester.

“We had all kinds of problems having Macs and other devices connect to the intranet and that had to be solved,” said Sanford.

In a survey of 42 students, 43.9 percent rated the wireless system good and 9.8 percent said very good.

However, there were mixed reactions to Guilford’s new website, which, according to President and Professor of Political Science Kent Chabotar, took a lot of work and input to erect.

“A special subcommittee of four trustees worked with the college on it,” said Chabotar. “It’s a work in progress with more changes and improvements coming. It’s not done yet. The Board of Trustees like its more direct approach to marketing the college for admissions and fund-raising and emphasis on Quaker values and tradition.”

Director of Multicultural Education Holly Wilson said that some students have concerns about the website being misleading.

“Some people are concerned that the website is too polished,” said Wilson. “And it is not a good representation of what our campus really looks like.”

Wilson said many Caucasian students shared the concern that the website makes the campus look more diverse and multicultural than it is.

Students such as junior Nicolas Moore think the old website had a more straightforward approach.

“They are doing too much with the new site,” said Moore. “There is just too much mess to look at. The old site was easier to navigate.”

80 percent polled by The Guilfordian said that the website is very clean-looking, but most said that it is confusing and very slow.

Senior Jazlyn Gibbs said that after a spell, the website did not seem daunting to navigate at all.

“I personally love the new website,” said Gibbs. “Everything is simple and easy to find. My friends also like the website. Of course at first it was a little tricky to find the email part, and logging into GuilfordNet, but after becoming more familiar, I think the website is great.”

Associate Vice President for Communications and Marketing Ty Buckner said that Guilford’s new website supports the marketing needs of the college.

“The website project included not only a new home page but new architecture and navigation and new or re-purposed content on the primary pages throughout the site,” said Buckner. “As part of reorganizing and streamlining content, we developed Guilford Net to contain information relevant to campus users. The main website is focused on future students and other external users.”

Both Buckner and Sanford said that there would be constant additions and improvements.

“It is important to know that with technology it is not sit and fix, it is consistently evolving and we are evolving to meet technology needs,” said Sanford.