In Fall of 2017, Hiram College launched Tech & Trek™, a mobile technology program that instantaneously connected our beautiful, rural campus to the world. Tech &Trek equips student, faculty, and staff member with an iPad Pro and most classrooms with Apple TVs and other equipment. All of this makes it easy to Skype in experts near and far, converse with students at different colleges, and share class materials with people near and far at the tap of the screen. With Tech and Trek, Hiram College became the first four-year college in the State of Ohio and only one of a dozen or so in the country to implement a 1:1 mobile program.
While students are thrilled to get an iPad, Tech & Trek is about more than distributing the devices. It is about weaving technology in promising yet thoughtful—mindful— ways throughout a student’s undergraduate journey. experience.
As part of this mindful use of technology, faculty increasingly use a “flipped” classroom. Here, students watch a video or read the classroom “lecture” on their iPads before the class and then spend classroom time in debate, small groups, or working through the key issues presented in the pre-digested lecture. The same devices allow students to capture and document the learning opportunities they undertake during their study abroad and internships. Additionally, state of the art equipment is now available in several of our science laboratories and at the 550-acre James H. Barrow Biological Field Station. These upgrades fuel faculty and student research in new and exciting ways.
Hiram has made huge strides in technological updates over the last several years. Thanks to donor support, we proudly tout top-notch wi-fi connectivity, dozens of smart classrooms, charging stations, and technology-based research equipment. Since technology is never static, though, we must be able to keep the momentum going. Gifts for in these areas will allow us to continue with the next technological upgrades and enhancements. Below is a sampling of these needs.
GELBKE ART AUDITORIUM
Retrofit the art auditorium to add modern task and gallery lights; renovate student and instructor workspaces in ways that allow them to more fully use the ever-growing technologies.
Replace existing audio/visual equipment with contemporary digital sound equipment and large-scale projectors. These upgrades will not only enhance campus events, but generate a potential revenue stream by allowing us to rent the space to conference and corporate event planners who require state-of-the-art media production.
Renovate the college media center so that it has the capacity to video record and offer green-screen production for presidential or leadership messages, classroom activities and assignments, and multimedia productions of various sorts.
Upgrade six computer laboratories on campus. Each of these labs represents separate naming opportunities. While students have iPads, some disciplines are still better served by laptop or desktop computers, and, fundamentally, we still need to prepare our students for a workplace that uses all forms of technology.
eSports have become very popular co-curricular activities on campuses across the country, and have proven to be an enrollment driver at several of our peer institutions, particularly for students in computer science and data-driven fields of study. As increasing numbers of colleges field teams that compete at the intercollegiate level, Hiram, too, has started an eSports club. Our club would benefit greatly if we could raise enough money to renovate a space in the basement of the Library (next to the Media Center) or elsewhere on campus and to purchase necessary equipment.
Now that classroom technology has been significantly improved, we aim to equip others areas, such as the dining hall, with updated technology. We are interested in using this space to deliver presentations, show movies and videos clips. Since the dining space is one of the few large spaces to hold alumni, parent, and guest meetings, upgrades will allow the space to be more heavily utilized.
RADIO STATION / PODCAST STUDIO
Consistent with our emerging programs in the Communications Department, it is time to remodel the space in the basement of the Kennedy Center dedicated to radio broadcasting. We must update that space and technology within it to create a podcast studio. A gift in this area would support students across a number of academic disciplines who are interested in rolling up their sleeves and putting theory to practice.
In addition to technology items related to Tech & Trek, there are other technological improvements that Hiram must implement in order to be competitive in the market place. They include:
CAMPUS SECURITY INTERFACES, CAMERAS & EMERGENCY PHONES
Safety and security is of paramount importance to Hiram College. A gift of this size would upgrade the monitoring and response systems in the Campus Safety Office by funding the installation of indoor and outdoor security cameras and upgrades to the exterior door security of administration buildings and residence halls across campus.
Timing is key when attracting transfer students. Students today expect a transfer evaluation in relatively short order. In order for us to compete with our peers, we must automate our transfer evaluation system.
We have very few digital signs at Hiram, and the campus would benefit from purchasing and displaying them around campus. These signs would help guests, parents, and new students find their way to Hiram’s places, activities, and events while also allowing us to push messages out in designated buildings throughout campus.
SCHOLARSHIP AWARDING & TRACKING TECHNOLOGY
Like other processes described above, we need to morph the highly manual scholarship processes into a largely automated one. To make this move, we need to purchase two interrelated software products that streamline the scholarship awarding and tracking processes. These same products will help us pull and report the data we need to provide to the Department of Education.
We would like to better serve our guests, visitors, students, and alumni by purchasing, installing, and managing a microchip system that would provide a self-guided tour on mobile devices of memorial benches, plaques, trees, campus buildings, gardens, other points of interest, and donor-funded gifts to the college.
DATA SECURITY ANALYSIS & UPGRADE
To ensure the appropriate data security systems are in place, we seek to contract with a third-party reviewer who will examine existing and proposed systems and make recommendations about the data security protocols we have in place or those we need. The same consultant would be contracted to draft a security implementation plan and a description of any remediation that needs to be in place. DIGITAL RECORDS
As we continue to migrate from manual to technological and cloud-based data solutions, a gift in this area would help us secure and preserve historical data and paper files with a digital scanning solution.