Technology Fee Advisory Committee
Meeting Minutes - Wednesday, November 9, 2006
Memorial Union - FLC 320 - noon
This particular meeting specifically focuses on clarifying questions the TFAC had in regard to The Group Decision Center proposal ( GDC Laptop Computer and Software Upgrades) requesting $38,179.00 in Tech Fee support, Project Number 0607.
Members Present: Brian Hokkanen, Oluwayemisi Fayemiwo, Abram Jackson, Kevin Brooks, Anne Denton, Rian Nostrum, Marc Wallman
Members Absent: Kalpana Katti, Brian Fier, Brandon Sis
Guest: Lisa Nordick, GDC
Ex-Officio's: Chair - Jeff Gerst, Cathy Hanson, David Wittrock
Lisa Nordick was asked to review her proposal with the TFAC, specifically addressing questions on how this is of value to students, the charging for services, and long term maintenance costs.
The GDC has been challenged to become a self-supporting entity. Initially, equipment was purchased through in-kind donations and financial support was derived from donations by business and industry clients and some grant funds. The goal was not to charge students and NDSU organizations for using the facility (and classes held in GDC aren't charged). As the program has evolved, research students in particular have wanted to use the facilities survey tools capabilities and charges were imposed, $25 - 150 depending on depth of survey. These charges covered training services, and special support or expertise needed to run and tally survey results. Currently 49 research students have used the facility. The assumption is that if the new virtual environment software is added, more students could be served. Lisa explained how the GDC generates income (charges) to function as a self supporting entity. This includes taking the system "off-campus" to area business industry customers, working more with non-profits (lesser rate) and providing GDC services to other institutions in the state (e.g., Tribal College) which also supports NDSU's outreach efforts. She indicated her desire to market the GDC more widely. The revenues produced from these sources would help to offset the need to charge students and provide funding to support ongoing equipment maintenance costs. She's hopeful that more students could take advantage of the virtual environment, as it does not need the presence of "fixed place and time" to accessed.
After Lisa left the meeting TFAC continued to discuss the pros and cons of this proposal.
VOTE: A motion was made (Hokkanen) and seconded (Fayemiwo) to fund this project with the guarantee that students will not be charged.
Still unclear were concerns as to, can we be confident the GDC could generate enough money to sustain the maintenance and ongoing equipment costs (30-40K) long-range? Will we be seeing another proposal for equipment a couple of years from now? Are we confident that the computers costs are not too high - could cheaper ones perform the applications necessary just as well? If the system is going to be taken out more often, what does that mean in regard to the availability /access students will have to the facilities aside from the virtual environment? What about the guarantee of free usage for students - this still seemed unclear? Additionally should tech fee money be spent on revenue generating services/projects? Should we fund the software and not the computers? Where are they installing the virtual software - do they have a server? Who' s maintaining the server if there is one? An additional thought was, it would be nice to see some type of documentation showing where the funding is currently coming from, what are the projected revenues and sources and how will they be derived (marketing plan).
VOTE tally: Motion failed. (8 no's - 3 no votes cast by proxy). Members recommended investigating server issues, marketing plan, and other concerns per above discussion.
These recommendations would be forward to Dr. Schnell for review and approval.
Respectfully submitted, Cathy Hanson