A Brief History of ARCC

Today the ARCC is a sponsor of academic computing.  It acts as both representative and bridge to the IT administration on campus.  In addition, it awards monies to faculty for equipment by college and special project.  In 2004 it became the steward of the Dee Family Technology Awards to sponsor special projects for faculty.

The Academic Resources and Computing Committee initiated the computing planning process at Weber State. A brief history of the ARCC excerpted from a paper presented at 1993 meeting of CAUSE, (Jacobson, E. & Samson, D. "Successful Planning from the Bottom-up.") is given below.

In 1986 a ..... budget increase was provided for unspecified improvements in educational computing [at WSU]. ... the Academic Vice President chose to allocate this money through .... the newly established Faculty Senate [Academic Resources and Computer Committee (ARCC)].

Following the model of a research grant board, this committee requested proposals from faculty for computer projects, with the initial expectation of ... funding the most educationally meritorious. When the proposals arrived, however, the committee ... realized that separate implementation of projects, as proposed, would be wasteful and ineffective.

.... the committee redefined its role from one of funding computers to one of implementing curriculum improvements. .... Using the proposals as a starting point for discussion and negotiation, the committee developed its own comprehensive design intended to accomplish, as much as possible, what the faculty desired.... Through several iterations the design was discussed and refined by the original project proposers and finally adopted and implemented.

Where common values could be ascertained, it was possible to propose facility sharing, e. g.[the Social Science Learning Center lab]. .... the committee negotiated with Deans and support departments to obtain space, remodelling funds and operational support which would be necessary for success and which had not been adequately accommodated in the original proposals. The value of these larger, shared projects which helped several departments and thousands of students was easy to demonstrate to Deans, and their budgetary and personnel support greatly extended the original monetary allocation.

.... in 1990 the concept of a strategic plan for computing was explicitly introduced in a request from the President's Council. .... Responsibility for creating the academic plan was accepted by the ARCC, [which] approached this task by modifying the well-established fund allocation process.

Questionnaires were sent to all faculty asking them to state their specific needs for computer support. Departments were asked... to discuss these questionnaires and ... to prepare departmental statements of need. These department reports were reviewed by College committees in the preparation of College reports on computer needs, which in turn were passed on to the faculty senate committee. Areas of University-wide interest, networking, mathematical and graphics processing, word-processing, computer-based-instruction and student labs, were identified in the initial survey results and groups of interested faculty were asked to develop coherent plans for meeting these needs.

Like the designs for fund allocation from earlier years the "Plan" was founded on very specific, concrete projects proposed for particular courses, educational programs or research projects ... Also like the annual fund allocation designs, cooperative projects, broad goals, campus priorities were all abstracted from the specifics, rather than specified at the start. It was a bottom-up plan.

The initial Plan was adopted by the Faculty Senate in the Spring of 1991. [It is revised yearly]. The Plan has been used in three arenas. First, it has been used by the Computer Committee to allocate its yearly budget. Second, deans and department chairs, voluntarily and selectively, have based their own budgetary decisions on it. Finally, it has been the key rationale in appeals for increased funding. Nearly a million dollars [now in 1997] has been allocated from [various one-time fund sources] ... toward Plan implementation.

 

Old Academic Computing Status Report and Goals