Higher education back-to-school story ideas

Nine Wake Forest students will live in a house this academic year that has been equipped by the university’s Information Systems (IS) department with a variety of cutting-edge technology, including Lutron light dimmers, motorized window shades, high-speed wireless Internet connectivity and a Sony 61” projection television that can be connected to a variety of multimedia equipment, including DVD players, VCRs, various gaming consoles and the students’ laptop computers. Students living in the Technology Quarters house will test software and hardware being considered for campus use. In addition to the equipment in the house, students will be given Cisco IP 7960 phones that connect to the Internet and display Web pages on a small screen, and Cisco IP SoftPhone software. The program will run throughout the 2004-2005 academic year. For more information on Technology Quarters, contact Jacob McConnico at mcconnjn@nullwfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

Many colleges and universities ask incoming first-year students to read a selected book during the summer to prepare for discussions during orientation. Instead of a reading assignment, Wake Forest wants incoming students to closely follow the 2004 presidential race. Issues surrounding the presidential election will be the focus of a panel discussion and a small group meeting with academic advisors during their first week at Wake Forest. The program: “Speaking of Politics…” is designed to teach students that college is a place to think about important issues and to demonstrate to incoming students that politics can be discussed without conflict or argument, said Katy Harriger, professor of political science and organizer of the program. “We are finding that lots of students care about the problems of the world, but this generation is much more inclined to think that the solution is in service,” Harriger said. “They are involved in civic engagement, but it’s not political. That is what’s interesting about this generation, how much they dislike politics in the traditional sense.” Harriger has been working with Jill McMillan, a Wake Forest communication professor, on Democracy Fellows, a research project that looks at the effects of public deliberation on college students. For more information, contact Jacob McConnico at mcconnjn@nullwfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

When there is a change in meeting location, uniform color or gear requirement for Wake Forest University Army ROTC cadets, they won’t be caught unaware. Wake Forest has developed a software program in response to ROTC needs that alerts students to important squadron developments via handheld computer. The program acts similarly to an instant message, but does not depend on the cadet being logged on to a certain program for the message to be delivered. Using the university’s new wireless network, the message is delivered instantaneously to the handheld computer’s desktop. The university is piloting the program within the ROTC group during the fall and hopes to roll it out to other campus groups, such as Greek organizations and other student life groups, throughout the academic year. For more information, contact Cheryl Walker at walkercv@nullwfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

The software load on Wake Forest’s new R51 IBM ThinkPad is the most comprehensive of any certified by the IBM Imaging Technology Center. Wake Forest’s load measures 18.6 gigabytes. Software on the R51 will include Windows XP Professional, Microsoft Office, Mozilla 1.6, Macromedia Dreamweaver MX, WinZip 9 and several other programs. Each student’s computer will come loaded with VitalSource EBook, an electronic reference book compilation that includes university resources and the Oxford English Dictionary. The computer has an integrated wireless card, modem and ethernet card. The R51 ThinkPad computers are distributed to first-year students and juniors before the start of fall semester. Each new student also gets a Hewlett Packard scanner/printer/copier. For more information, contact Cheryl Walker at walkercv@nullwfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

Wake Forest was named one of eight Kauffman Campuses by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in December. The $2 million grant, which will be matched by university fundraising, will allow Wake Forest to become a model for incorporating entrepreneurship into a liberal arts campus. The university has established a university-wide Office of Entrepreneurship and Liberal Arts, led by Elizabeth Gatewood, recently named one of the top ten entrepreneurship center directors in the country by Entrepreneur magazine. Wake Forest has created a Center for Entrepreneurship and is adding new entrepreneurship courses to the undergraduate curriculum. The university already supports numerous student entrepreneurs, including a junior economics major who runs a company that develops web sites and a sophomore who started a camp for children with terminal illnesses. Encouraging social entrepreneurship is a major focus of the university’s efforts and a current trend nationwide. For more information, contact Cheryl Walker at walkercv@nullwfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

From the comfort of residence hall bedrooms to the bustle of the campus coffee shop or the Benson University Center, Wake Forest students will be able to surf the Internet, IM friends and send their professors an e-mail from nearly anywhere on campus when they return for fall classes. Wake Forest, recently named the second “Most Connected” campus by The Princeton Review, completed installation of its most efficient wireless network to date during the summer. The network, named Next Generation Network, runs at 54 megabits per second and places Wake Forest among a small group of colleges and universities that offer high-speed wireless Internet access in every campus building. For more information, contact Cheryl Walker at walkercv@nullwfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

Categories: Campus Life, Student