CORVALLIS - For the second year in a row, Oregon State University has been named one of "America's 100 Most Wired Colleges," in an Internet magazine's fourth annual survey of electronic services to students and faculty.
The results appear in the current issue of "Yahoo! Internet Life."
In these rankings, which take note of such things as web-based student services, technical support and computer access, OSU ranked 35th in the nation - the highest of any school in the Oregon State System of Higher Education, and well ahead of such prestigious universities as Notre Dame, Georgetown University and the University of Washington.
Not all prominent universities in the nation participated in the survey, however.
OSU, which three years ago was recognized by the American Productivity and Quality Center as the leading college in the nation for electronic services, has continued to provide innovative, cutting-edge educational and research services to students and faculty, officials say.
"Our administrative services for students such as on-line registration are about as good as any in the nation, and we're also proud of the support systems we have in place to assist students with disabilities," said Curt Pederson, OSU vice provost for information services. "Accomplishments such as this are partly a tribute to some of the vision shown by our Oregon legislature, which a couple years ago provided more than $1 million for us to expand our enhanced classrooms across the university."
While OSU is grateful for the recognition, Pederson said, people should not interpret honors such as this to mean the job is finished.
"Technology is changing so rapidly and the needs of students and faculty for both education and research keep going up all the time, so we have to continue to make improvements," Pederson said. "But the bottom line is serving our students, and it appears we're doing that pretty well."
Yahoo! surveyed colleges and universities across the nation, looking for institutions that most effectively took advantage of the Internet and other electronic aids to students. It considered such factors as allowing students to apply electronically, offering web-based registration, providing technical support, public computer equipment or labs in residence halls, and offering high-speed access in classrooms.
At OSU, 60 percent of undergraduate students have access to dedicated network connections and free web space is guaranteed to each full-time undergraduate. The university offers student registration via campus kiosks or the web, has largely eliminated long lines at the registrar's office, and has even held a student body election carried out entirely on the web.
The review also acknowledged the effort OSU has put into keeping its computer systems updated. Just this week, for instance, it was announced that Hewlett Packard Co. will donate $2.2 million in new state-of-the art computing equipment to the OSU College of Engineering, so students there may study and do research on modern, powerful workstations.
The campus is also a leader in adaptive technology research and application. Students, staff and faculty with disabilities have access to a variety of adaptive equipment, including speaking computers, Braille translators, and listening assistance and alternative input devices.
According to Pederson, OSU was one of the first universities in the nation to make a commitment to electronic technologies. Beginning steps such as telephone registration were expanded to include computer-based efforts in admission, financial aid, advising and instruction.
Today, 100 percent of all OSU residence halls rooms are wired for student access to the Internet. Students can use the web to take courses, review their electronic account of campus food or book purchases, or browse through more than 2,000 professional journals online.