Univ. ranked 8th most wired

David Saenz

Move over, Carnegie Mellon and MIT. A recent Princeton Review study ranked Villanova the eighth most-connected campus in America.

The University scored highly in 11 of the 12 technological categories evaluated by the study. According to Chief Information Officer Stephen Fugale, the University should have done well in all 12, as the study erroneously cited the University’s lack of wireless networking as its biggest technological pitfall. The University began a wireless program last year and expanded it to the Colleges of Engineering and Commerce and Finance this semester.

Fugale said the high ranking showed the University’s dedication to making technology a priority in supporting academics. “As a student, you have access to technology you will see and use in the real world,” he said.

The University is dedicated to making technological education an ongoing priority. “I want us to stay in our ranking, which means continuous innovations on all fronts,” said Fugale, citing untapped capabilities in WebCT and cable services.

Fugale also expects the University’s cooperation with Cingular to expand. Future services could include broadcasting important messages such as school closings to student telephones. Through Cingular, the University may also offer cell phones that double as personal digital assistants.

While Fugale praised the University for its breadth of connectivity options, he identified the use of WebCT and online applications as the University’s strongest technological areas. New innovations have made the application process quick and efficient for both the applicant and the administration, Fugale said. With the click of the mouse, admissions committee members can instantly view an applicant’s entire file.

“It allows us to work the admissions process as effectively as any school in the country,” Fugale said.

Fugale also praised students and faculty for taking advantage of WebCT’s classroom and distance education capabilities. It has made the University one of the premier WebCT users in the country.

University students expressed mixed reactions to the study. “There are data jacks everywhere,” senior computer engineering major Sarah Cogill said. “You can go almost anywhere and be able to get connected.”

Senior astronomy major Laurie Barge did not think the University should have been ranked so high because network problems negate some of the technological benefits. “The laptop program is nice, and it’s cool that we get free Web space, since none of my friends get that from their schools,” she said. “[But] it seems like the network is always down.”

Adam Hunt, a senior computer engineering major, disagreed with the University’s allocation of technology funds, saying, “The best lab here at Villanova is the geography lab. What does that tell you?”

Some would like to see similar improvements in other aspects of campus life. “I’d rather have an eighth-ranked basketball team,” senior Steve Kettinger said.