The mission of the Office of Academic Information Technologies (AIT) at Iowa State is to support campus academics through information technology (IT). It seems in the "information age" of the research university that this mission truly is an essential element, especially in light of ISU's institutional mission of enhancing learning, promoting discovery, and engaging constituents. Indeed, this mission cannot be accomplished currently without a robust IT infrastructure.
Quality: In rankings based on computing resources and services available to undergraduates, Iowa State was ranked 20th in the most recent (AIT, 2000) research university category of Yahoo's "Most Wired" colleges and universities. While critics have questioned the usefulness of these types of ratings suggesting that thoroughness of application is really what is measured, it does show that the quality of information technology at ISU has been noticed in a peer rated study. Internally, where critics are usually the most vociferous, students, faculty, and staff have had both praise and disapproval.
The harshest criticism of late have been the addition of a Microsoft Licensing Agreement which students believe to be a waste of their student fees (Iowa State Daily, 2002). Although quality, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, the quality of IT as measured by peers, students, faculty, and staff is at least average and probably above average within Iowa State's peer institutions.
Availability: AIT has taken pride over the years in giving students, faculty, and staff almost unlimited access to the university's IT resources. The Durham Center for Computation and Telecommunications has been one of only a handful of buildings on campus open 24 hours, seven days a week. The supply of open computers within the Durham Center has usually outpaced demand except for small rush periods during the semester. Accessibility for disabled clients has also...