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Limited internet access for faculty and staff

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TCU students have the ability to connect to the Internet anywhere on campus, thanks to Wi-Fi. For faculty and staff; however, it is an entirely different story.

Faculty and staff at the university do not have access to wireless Internet on any personal device. Faculty members with cell phones, tablets or laptops are left out of cyberspace unless their devices are connected to the wall with a cable.

English Department Chair Brad Lucas said his wife surprised him with an iPad for Christmas last year but he can not use it on campus.

“I don’t understand is why this is such a problem when so many other small businesses and coffee shops can have wireless open for customers,” Lucas said.

Faculty senate chair Dan Williams said the senate is the primary forum for expressing faculty concerns. The issue about Wi-Fi access for faculty members was brought up at the Sept. 1 meeting.

Assistant professor of advertising Wendy Macias said when she came to the university she was given the choice between a laptop or a desktop computer. She chose the university-provided laptop. Macias said she is able to get on to the wireless network on the laptop the university provided, but not her own laptop.

“I really don’t have a need personally to use a personal wireless device that couldn’t get on to the network,” Macias said.

Senior nursing major Kirby Thomas said she had no idea faculty could not access the Internet on their personal devices through campus Wi-Fi. Thomas said the faculty should be allowed to connect using Wi-Fi just as students do.

“[Faculty] are just as much a part of TCU as the students are,” she said. “It doesn’t make sense.”

Lucas said he thinks there would be a more dynamic classroom environment if the obstacles were removed.

Williams said that the general opinion of the faculty is that if students have access there is no reason why faculty and staff should not have access as well.

Chief executive officer of Technology Resources Bryan Lucas declined to comment on the issue. However, he wrote in an e-mail that options are being evaluated in order to provide this ability.

Williams said the senate has contacted Bryan Lucas and he is supposed to attend the November faculty senate meeting.

Bryan Lucas is also scheduled to attend a department meeting at AddRan College Brad Lucas said.

Nathan Russell, a Master of Divinity graduate student, said it seemed students have more rights than the faculty. Russell said he has taught at a college before where faculty were required to connect to campus Wi-Fi. He said he understands some of the issues regarding faculty Internet access, but the option should still be made available to them.

“This is 2011, they should be able to connect through Wi-Fi,” Russell said. “It is for the betterment of the faculty and the students.”

Faculty knowledge of technology would grow if this was not an issue Brad Lucas said.
Williams said he believes the two main reasons for faculty not having Wi-Fi access are cost and security.

“Security is a big broad term that is used from everything [from] why we need to take our shoes off in the airport to why we invade other countries. If I had a clear understanding of what was getting in the way, I think it would help,” Brad Lucas said.

Thomas said she has seen many professors do work at home on their personal laptops, but they have to take the extra time to send it to their university e-mail in order to access it at school.

“I know that most faculty definitely think that it is an issue that should be discussed,” Williams said.

“I think it will be cleared up. Technology is not going to wait for us we have to run to keep after it,” Brad Lucas said.

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