Standard VI: Physical Resources and Facilities
The physical and technical facilities differ on the two campuses. Therefore, the description of the school’s physical resources and facilities are discussed first for the Bloomington campus and then for the Indianapolis campus.
VI.1 A program has access to physical resources and facilities that are sufficient to the accomplishment of its objectives. Physical facilities provide a functional learning environment for students and faculty; enhance the opportunities for research, teaching, service, consultation, and communication; and promote efficient and effective administration of the school’s program, regardless of the forms or locations of delivery.
SLIS Bloomington occupies a section of the Wells Library building on central part of the Bloomington campus. This allows the school to collocate all the major physical spaces of an academic unit—faculty offices, classrooms, administrative offices, technology, server rooms, computer labs, and research labs. This proximity helps provide a cohesive and collegial environment, encouraging collaboration and community-building among faculty and students in the school. In addition to its symbolic import, the location of the school in the middle of campus allows SLIS faculty and students to teach, study, and conduct research with colleagues in nearby academic buildings. Being physically in the Wells Library building supports a close association with the University Libraries, including the Digital Library Program, the Institute for Digital Arts and Humanities, and the Office of University Archives and Records Management, all of which are housed in the Wells Library.
In addition, SLIS faculty and students take advantage of the university’s rich technology infrastructure, including the I-Light optical network, research computing facilities housed in a new state-of-the-art data center in the Cyberinfrastructure Building, and Oncourse, the IU implementation of the SAKAI open source learning and collaboration software project. University Information Technology Services (UITS) also provides diverse central hardware platforms such as large-scale distributed memory systems and large-memory symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) systems. The Big Red Cluster—IU’s high-performance computing system—is a 512-node distributed shared-memory cluster, designed around IBM’s BladeCenter JS21. IU’s massive data storage system (MDSS) makes available to IU researchers a total storage capacity of roughly 4 petabytes.
As of October 2011, 13,686 square feet in the Wells Library is under SLIS’s direct control. This space is allocated to administrative offices, 15 faculty offices, 3 classrooms, 1 seminar room, 1 conference rom, 1 student computer lab, a computer teaching lab, a Ph.D. student lab, the Digital Culture Lab, the Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center, and the Career Services Center. The SLIS area includes an 88-seat lecture hall, for which the campus is responsible, that is used by SLIS and other units around campus. All tenured and tenure-track faculty have individual offices within the school. There is sufficient space for administrative functions, and students have access to excellent computing facilities, specialized library collections and services (upstairs in the Wells Library), and spaces for both group and individual study.
In addition to the school’s dedicated facilities, SLIS students and faculty have easy access to computing and library facilities in the Wells Library building, including the recently expanded Information Commons, providing students access to nearly 350 computers, wireless connectivity and 24x7 open hours, as well as several computer classrooms. In August, 2008, the university completed its Wi-Fi upgrade, providing faster wireless access from virtually every point on campus. This expansion of computing infrastructure facilitates mobile access to the university network.
The school has invested considerable effort and money over the past decade in renovating and upgrading SLIS facilities. This has alleviated some of the most pressing space problems, particularly by converting previously under-used study space to a third classroom. The school’s three classrooms and the seminar room accommodate most SLIS classes, weekly research talk series, faculty meetings, qualifying paper proposals and doctoral defenses, and scholarship and job interviews. The seminar classroom has recently been equipped with a state of the art video conferencing system that will allow easy communication with other similarly equipped classrooms including one at SLIS Indianapolis. The occasional need to find non-SLIS classrooms for additional classes does not present problems. The school maintains its own 28-seat computer teaching lab, which is used by a number of SLIS courses. During times when the lab is not in use as a classroom, it is open to SLIS students.
The SLIS Library collections have been fully integrated with the Wells Library general collections. The space formerly used for reserved readings has been remodeled to accommodate SLIS’s growing professional technology staff. These renovations and others—including refurbishing and updating the doctoral students’ office/lab area, placing permanently-installed computers and media players in all classrooms, upgrading the computer server room, installing a video conference room, and creating efficient storage spaces—have mitigated the problems of inadequate classroom computing facilities, inappropriately equipped classrooms, and inefficient working spaces.
SLIS in Indianapolis is located on the third floor of the University Library building. The SLIS area has 8 faculty offices, an office for graduate assistants, a room for staff members, and a conference room. A large, multi-function student lounge is under construction. Every SLIS office is equipped with at least one computer, a printer, and a telephone. The main office has a fax machine, a copy machine, and a scanner. The computers for administrative staff and graduate assistants are equipped with office productivity and graphic software. Because of limited space, three offices for faculty and graduate assistants are located outside the main office complex; these separated offices are on the same floor and within a short walking distance. These offices have equipment and software identical to what is used in the main office area.
This shared working area helps promote communication among faculty members, facilitating collegial collaborations in research, instruction, and service. The central location for administrators, staff, and faculty also promotes efficiency and facilitates frequent interaction between faculty and students. The inauguration of the student commons in 2012 will allow more frequent, informal contacts between faculty members and all other SLIS students. This student commons will house a presentation center with multimedia devices, such as a sounding system, a smart board to conduct interactive communications, computer stations and outlets for laptops, small study carrels, a scanner, and a printer. The commons has been designed to support SLIS students who undertake various learning activities.
Being located in the University Library building has many advantages. The library building is relatively new; when it was dedicated in 1994, it was considered one of the most technologically sophisticated libraries and high technology centers in North America. The library offers many state-of-the-art technologies and services to SLIS students, faculty, and staff, including more than 300 public computer stations that provide access to campus electronic resources, the catalog systems of regional academic libraries, the Internet, and the latest in software and applications. The library’s Program of Digital Scholarship and the Technical Services Department are particularly useful for SLIS. The Center for Teaching and Learning and the Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Research are also located in the University Library; they have been supportive of the learning, teaching, and research activities of SLIS Indianapolis faculty and students.
The University Library is located at the center of the campus, which increases SLIS faculty and students’ proximity to other campus units such as the Informatics and Communications Technology Complex, the Campus Center with conference rooms and other multi-functional resources, the Herron School of Art and Design, and IUPUI Help Desk. The campus is adjacent to downtown Indianapolis, providing easy access to many state and city sponsored cultural facilities closely related to the training of library and information professionals. For example, the Indiana State Library, the Indiana Historical Society, Indiana State Museum, and Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art are all within easy walking distance of the University Library. These institutions have provided numerous employment and internship opportunities for SLIS students.
SLIS Indianapolis uses the university’s rich technology infrastructure in support of teaching, learning, and research. The university-provided wireless coverage in most areas on campus, including the library and most classroom buildings allows SLIS students to make effective use of their laptop computers. The IT Help and Oncourse support for instruction are other examples of UITS infrastructure that supports information technology university-wide. This consistent, high-level support provides SLIS faculty and students on both campuses with software and hardware, data storage options, web publishing capability, multimedia utilities, training opportunities, security protection, policy enforcement, and access to a sophisticated scholarly cyber-infrastructure.
VI.2 Instructional and research facilities and services for meeting the needs of students and faculty include access to library and multimedia resources and services, computer and other information technologies, accommodations for independent study, and media production facilities.
Instructional and Research Facilities
SLIS Bloomington provides excellent access to technology for both students and faculty. All SLIS students have access to high-end computers in computer labs, providing more than 50 workstations (combination PC and Mac). These labs support a common suite of software applications listed on the SLIS website.
In addition to the computer labs that are open to all SLIS students, the school supports a doctoral student office/lab with 12 computers (number has doubled in recent years) and several research office/labs that support collaborative research projects. Students and faculty have access to several shared and dedicated servers for general computing and specialized research. All computers in the school are on a three-year life-cycle replacement plan. The seminar room has a state-of-the-art video conferencing system for use in distance education and meetings of committees whose members are on both campuses.
SLIS Indianapolis provides both face-to-face and web-based courses to meet student needs. Classrooms for on-campus instruction are assigned to accommodate SLIS pedagogical approaches. Most classes are offered in the University Library building; when classes need to be held in other buildings, they are within walking distance. All classrooms are internet connected and about 95% also have multimedia facilities including video and audio tools. SLIS Indianapolis purchased the instructional equipment that has been installed in the University Library classrooms and is maintained by the library. Other special-purpose rooms in the library, such as the 100-seat auditorium, are generally available if needed.
The school has a small conference room in the office area, which is equipped for distance teaching and learning. Instructor(s) in the conference room use a polycom unit for live, visual contact with students in several distant locations. Currently, the interactive video course (VIC) system connects SLIS Indianapolis to several locations in the state including Gary, South Bend, Fort Wayne, and New Albany. In each of these cities, SLIS has an agreement with the local IU campus that provides SLIS students with necessary facilities and internet connections. All these remote locations have compatible polycom units. This delivery mode has allowed SLIS to offer quality instruction, which students consistently rate high.
SLIS has developed several web-based courses, which are especially convenient for students who have full- or part-time jobs or live far from the campus. As of early 2011, some 29 courses were offered online, including most of the core courses. The Oncourse learning and collaboration software supports SLIS online courses and has a 24/7 on-call service, provided by Helpnet Technology Services at IUPUI. The Center for Teaching and Learning also provides assistance, with appointment-based, walk-in, and telephone support.
Many online SLIS courses make extensive use of virtual library services such as online databases, e-textbooks, and e-reserve materials. The campus has been active in initiating e-resource support for online instruction. In addition, SLIS faculty have explored alternative technologies such as websites, social technologies, web-based audio and video, as well as online productivity and collaborative tools to support online courses.
VI.3 The staff and the services provided for a program by libraries, media centers, and information technology facilities, as well as all other support facilities are sufficient for the level of use required and specialized to the degree needed. These facilities are appropriately staffed, convenient, accessible to the disabled, and available when needed, regardless of forms or locations of delivery of the school’s program.
Libraries, Technology, Staff, and Facilities
Appendix 6.1 provides detailed information about information technology at each campus.