Infrastructure and the Strategic Work Plan
A modern infrastructure with state-of-the-art facilities, adequate research, laboratory, library, studio, classroom and office space is necessary for the university to carry out its primary missions of research, education and service, and to attract and retain the best faculty, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows and associates.
The university has made significant progress on a number of major building priorities; specifically, the Cancer and Genetics Research Complex, the Nanoscale Research Facility, the Pathogens Research Facility and the Biomedical Sciences Building.
However, many space and facilities needs remain unmet and will become increasingly urgent in the future. More classroom space is needed, particularly in the northeast quadrant of the university, and particularly with respect to large lecture rooms.
Office space in many units is a significant constraint on reaching parity with top ten public AAU universities. Cramped quarters and inadequate office space are a serious obstacle to recruitment and retention of faculty. Many departments, which are below strength relative to peer institutions, cannot expand significantly because there is no space available for additional faculty. Planning for growth in the university's faculty and programs must go hand-in-hand with planning for adequate space.
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- Goal 25: Identify critical space and facilities needs across the university and implement a long-range plan to resolve them.
Special attention should be paid to the central libraries because they are the repositories of research materials for the entire university. Despite the expansion of the Smathers Libraries, available space at the main library facilities and at many branch libraries compares unfavorably with top ten public AAU institutions.
The university lags behind its peer AAU institutions in library collections, physical amenities and staffing, as well as specialized library information services for undergraduates, graduates and faculty.
The library is a partner in the research and IT enterprise and provides a variety of singularly important primary source and research materials that are of fundamental importance to the university's educational and research programs. The university must ensure that library resources meet the needs of students and faculty as a part of its overall strategy.
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- Goal 26: Given the central importance of the libraries to the research and teaching missions of the university, develop a separate strategic plan specifically devoted to long-range planning to meet future needs for library resources and facilities, and bring library resources at the university in line with top ten public AAU universities.
A state-of-the-art information technology (IT) system must be built to meet the needs of faculty and students in research and teaching. IT has become a core resource in every institution of higher education in America. It facilitates computation, communication, information collection, storage, processing and dissemination, and therefore all aspects of university enterprise.
The university is a pioneer in several aspects of information technology. Notable examples include the NSF-sponsored Virtual Data Grid under construction, applications in the McKnight Brain Institute and the new initiative in digital arts. However, in some areas such as general access to IT by students, the university lags behind its counterparts.
As more technologies converge in IT, the university must create and sustain an information technology structure that supports the university's mission and goals. The renovation of the Hub to a center of student technological and social life is a first step to providing students updated IT facilities.
- Goal 27: Review information technology needs and develop a state-of-the-art IT infrastructure to support faculty and students, with emphasis on increasing, from the end-user's perspective, the compatibility of IT units, while maintaining their integrity.
The President's 2007 Strategic Work Plan
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