Thursday, January 25, 2007

A Letter to the Editor of the State Press...

I’m writing as a follow-up to the article in the January 24th edition of the State Press, USG Takes Tech Fee to Student Voters. I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce the University’s perspective on this important issue and assure students that we’ve been working closely with their representatives. Beginning in November of last year, I began working intensively with a group of student government representatives, including: Maria Ronan, Elizabeth Simonhoff, Ross Meyer, Christopher Gustafson, Amanda Confer, Devin Mauney and James Alling. Along the way, I’ve provided them with written details and participated in a series of face-to-face meetings to discuss the fee. This past Sunday, I posted a summary of the information I shared with these student leaders on my blog. I hope students interested in this issue will have a look at the post and feel free to share their comments there.

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Student Technology Fee

Taxes.1.jpg

No one is particularly fond of new taxes (or fees), especially those people called upon to pay the tax/fee. But sometimes new sources of revenue are needed to help an organization meet its obligations. As Oliver Wendell Holmes said, "Taxes are what we pay for civilized society."

At the November 22nd meeting of the Arizona Board of Regent’s, ASU proposed a student technology fee of $100 per student, per year. The proposed fee is intended to supplement ASU’s existing state technology budget and allow for continued investment to meet student’s growing technology expectations. The fee is slated to be considered at ABOR's March meeting. While we'd all like to keep the cost of education as close to free as possible, I support this fee because I know how crucial it is to maintaining and advancing technology in support of the learning enterprise here at ASU.

As a student, your first instinct may be to oppose this fee, but I'd like to ask you to reconsider. I believe technology support is an important priority for many of you and supporting this fee is one way to ensure that ASU can continue to meet your growing and changing technology needs. At the UTO, we are working with ASU student government leaders to get them up to speed on the rationale behind the fee; as well, we're planning a series of open forums to be held in February on all 4 campuses so students can teach us more about their ideas and concerns. I'll be writing more on the timing of those Forums in a future post, but I wanted to share some of the background on the fee here, and in the podcast I did on Friday.

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Work-Life Balance

Economist Cover

There is an interesting article in the 2006 Holiday issue of The Economist that covers ASU's technology alliance strategy. It uses ASU's embracing of Google Apps for Education and Apple's itunes University as examples of how "consumer technologies are invading corporate computing". The article has an unusual title, "Work-Life Balance", describing not the usual balance we all must strike between work and family, but instead the balance that companies must now strike between their use of consumer technologies and more specialized "business-grade" technologies.

As technology becomes increasingly central to daily life, consumer technologies, produced for wider markets at greater revenue and profit, can quickly outstrip more specialized technologies, even when those specialized technologies started out in the lead. There are lots of examples of this phenomenon in technology: the way video games commoditized and dramatically accelerated the development of 3D graphics technology particularly for personal computers; the way the military and intelligence establishment embraced private sector information technology because of its superior pace of innovation.

As the Economist article points out, in the web space "as everything else migrates to web-based services, software will increasingly resemble the web technologies of the consumer market".

Nice to see that ASU is not alone in thinking that strategic technology alliance is a significant trend whose time has come.

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