5/23/11 Ask Charlotte

Week of May 23, 2011


Question: Thanks Char, for always being on top of things. I read your column, always fascinated by the questions that come your way and wonder why you don't get more. I'm graduating and I've enjoyed your column over the last four years. It would be nice if you had a column in Hilltops - can you do that? More people might read it and write in. It could be something great in improving all of the inconsistent communication on campus. I hate to see so many unanswered questions - and the sad fact is THERE ARE SO MANY. I've always gotten a kick out of asking different offices the same question to see how many different answers you get. It could be made in to a fun drinking game.

Answer: Congratulations to you--and the rest of the Class of 2011--on your impending graduation!

And thank you for your kind words, as well as for the suggestion regarding Hilltops. If the Hilltops newspaper staff would be interested in reprinting my online column in the paper, I would welcome that opportunity--particularly if it's felt that my humble column can help to improve communication on campus.

Question: Hi Charlotte, I was wondering if Hartwick is becoming a harder school to get into since it is now a Tier 1 school.

Answer: According to Admissions, our admit rate has dropped over the past 3 years from about 90% to approximately 60%. This year 5600 applicants competed for 1 of 500 spots. The Class of 2012 will have a GPA of an 89 and a 50 point increase in SAT scores.

As you can see, Hartwick has become a considerably more selective school.

Question: I think it's a great idea to charge us $0.03 per page to print! What I don't think is a good idea is that the printers are always out of toner/jammed/broken and tech services only works 9-5 M-F. I don't think it's a good idea that no one refunds your money when you have to print a document on 3 different printers before you find one with enough toner/ink/etc. that you actually have a legitimate document in your hands.

Answer: From my friends in the TRC:

First we should clarify that the Technology Resource Center maintains both the Clark computer lab and the Johnstone Science Center computer lab. The Library maintains paper and toner for the Yager computer lab. You are correct that the TRC's normal working hours are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. At this time, we don't feel we can provide evening coverage for computer labs and still provide adequate support during the business day.

That being said, we do "lab runs" twice per day to monitor and replenish paper and toner, and to assess the equipment in the labs. We keep spare toner for each lab printer at the TRC, and during business hours, a quick call to x-4357 will bring one of us over immediately if there is a jam or toner problem. If a printer is in disrepair and we cannot resolve it ourselves, we call in a repair person, though that has happened only once this academic year.

If a student has been charged for a print job that was unsatisfactory because of low toner or some other printing problem, they should contact the TRC with their name, student ID number, the date and approximate time of the print, and the number of pages. We will verify the charge in the print logs and credit their Uniprint or WICKit funds.

It is our goal to provide Hartwick students with quality labs. We will continue to do our best to improve that service and welcome your comments and suggestions!

Question: Why isn't the library open twenty-four hours the week before finals? I get the sense from many students who have been in the library this past week are working overtime to get final assignments done FOR finals. Many people have final assignments due the week before finals that, in turn, are presented during finals week. So by the time the twenty-four hour period rolls around during finals week, most students are already done with the majority of their work.

Answer: From Paul Coleman, Director of the Library: The library is not open continuously the week before finals because of our perception that it is not warranted - that is, that the "demand" is not sufficient to mandate the staff scheduling required to provide that service. That perception might be mistaken, however. We will consider your suggestion, and our observation of usage patterns during the extended pre-finals-week hours we implemented this year, in planning our schedule for next year.

Question: I think that the person asking questions regarding the townhouse wireless for May 16 should have asked why is the wireless Internet completely unusable in some townhouses, how can it be improved, and why won't the wireless be improved? (Please answer these questions as I would like to be able to use the wireless internet when I visit my friends in their townhouses).

Also, why do we still use the SUMMAS? I feel that they are useless and that our staff and students could create a better questionnaire. Will we stop using them any time soon?
P.S. Is there air conditioning in the library and if so why is it not utilized more? Please don't refer me to another post.

Answer: According to the TRC, when wireless was deployed in the Townhouses, IT put in one access point per building. It has become clear that this does not provide adequate coverage. This summer we will be working to improve the wireless coverage in the residence halls including the Townhouses. The TRC thanks the students for their patience.

As you may know, SUMMAs are used to obtain student feedback about faculty teaching. It appears that others share your opinion of the questionnaire, as a task force has been formed to explore other options (many thanks to Prof. Matt Voorhees, its chair, for this information!). The task force hopes to have a shorter, more useful form available to pilot in select courses next year.

P.S. I refer you, not to another post, but to the answer to the following question, as the cooling system described is used in both Anderson AND Yager.

Question: Is the issue of the radically fluctuating temperature in Anderson EVER going to be addressed? Especially in the music department, this is a huge problem as it can cause severe and sometimes irreparable damage to the instruments. It seems as though actual solutions are never reached, and instead it is merely a stop-gap solution of maintenance being contacted and asked to address the issue. I am fully aware that maintenance probably has its own set of guidelines that dictate how much they can manipulate the climate control in a given building, but there have GOT TO be ways that Hartwick, as an institution can address this. This is something that directly impacts not only current students, but also future students as well. No student wants to utilize the lockers that are available to music majors when we know full well that the climate can do serious damage to our instruments, which in turn severely hinders our abilities as musicians! This also hinders non-major students interested in studying a particular instrument, especially a string instrument as this fluctuation in temperature renders many of our "lesson instruments" unusable, which sometimes results in having to discard thousands of dollars worth of equipment! This is completely unacceptable!

And turning on the Air Conditioning after students leave (as I have stayed in Oneonta and used Anderson as a practice facility in the past) does no one any good either. As part of the music department student body it seems ridiculous that we have to go through the equivalent of pulling teeth to get anything accomplished when it comes to bettering our department. Is the music department really that unimportant in the eyes of the school? Sure seems that way. I would have thought that maybe at some point someone would listen to and address the concerns of the music department and want to see not just the music department, but ALL the different departments at this school be able to improve.

Answer: From Joe Mack, Director of Facilities: The air conditioning system is a complex series of cooling towers, chillers, pumps and controls. It is not a simple turn of the switch. The system is not programmed to come on until it reaches at least 70 degrees outside. Sometimes inside temperatures rise faster than the outside air, then when it's warm enough to activate the system it begins to cool off. A system this large should not be turned on or off frequently; once it's on we like to leave it on for a long period of time. That is why it seems like cooling is better when the students leave, as it is then warm enough to justify the equipment staying on. (It is interesting to note that three weeks ago last Wednesday facilities employees were mobilized to salt and plow!)

Unfortunately the issue in Anderson is compounded by the fact that a large heat source, foundry, glass blowing, and ceramic kilns are located directly under the music department.

Updating the cooling and heating systems is certainly recognized as a priority on campus. A more efficient and responsive system has been designed and thanks to the progressive planning and campaign by President Drugovich funding for these capital projects is actively being sought.