Standard 8. Physical & Technological Resources - Description
- Physical and Technological Infrastructure
- Compliance with Legal Requirements
- Physical Resource Planning
- Systems Security and Reliability
The College has only one physical campus, which is located 25 miles south of Boston, on 384 acres in Easton, MA. The College's campus is vibrant and well maintained, encompassing 57 buildings. College-owned physical resources include 1.1 million sq. ft of building space, and our student residence halls comprise 373,000 sq. ft. The College also holds long term leases on a large parking lot (Lot 17), intramural fields, a 150 bed residence hall (Holy Cross Center), a residence hall in New York City, and an off-campus childcare center.
A variety of departments reporting to the Associate Vice President for Operations Management in the Finance Division are responsible for maintaining and improving these assets. The Associate VP for Operations Management oversees Facilities Management, Campus Police, Planning and Design, and Conference and Events Services. The Department of Operations Management is charged with the design and implementation of the Campus Master Plan.
The Department of Facilities Management is responsible for the management and operation of all grounds and facilities. The Facilities Department is managed by a Director of Facilities Management and three managers: Director of Skilled Trades, Director of Maintenance and Operations, and a Director of Custodial Services and Special Events. There are 94 full-time employees within the Department of Facilities. The Facilities Department outsources all painting, large construction projects, trash/recycling removal, and other projects and tasks. The Department dedicates two full-time ground employees that focus on maintaining the athletic fields and tennis courts for the College's NCAA Division II sports teams. These two employees also maintain the College's intramural fields.
The Department of Campus Police is responsible for the security and safety of the campus. The Department consists of the Chief of Police, a Lieutenant, a Sergeant Detective, three Sergeants, eleven full-time Police Officers, a Night Watchperson, and a Community Service Officer. Planning and Design is accomplished by one director-level employee reporting to the Associate VP for Operations, and the Department of Conference and Events Services, which is responsible for renting campus facilities to outside users, is made up of a director and three supporting staff.
A variety of campus committees enable community representatives to provide input to the Facilities administration and to report developments back to their constituencies. The Campus Master Planning Committee reports directly to the College's Strategic Planning Committee and includes a sub-committee on Classroom Utilization. This committee is responsible for upgrading classrooms and monitoring their utilization. During the past ten years, the College has upgraded each of its classrooms (see classroom technology upgrade table). Many of these renovations include carpeting, re-painting, new ceilings & lighting, new classroom furniture, and multi-media equipment.
The Classroom Utilization committee meets several times each semester. The Committee periodically surveys the faculty for feedback. A classroom utilization study conducted for the fall semester of 2008, indicated classroom utilization was 66% for the time period 8:30AM to 4:00PM Monday through Friday, demonstrating that there is some room for course growth.
The College's technological resources are managed by the Department of Information Technology (CIO). This department offers a wide array of services to the Stonehill community. The goal of the department is to provide the necessary technology tools and solutions to fulfill the needs of the College. The IT Department is led by the CIO/Director of Information Technology and consists of Media & Videography, Systems & Networks, Administrative Computing, Telecommunications, Computer Technicians, a Technology Trainer, and the Help Desk. There are 27 full-time employees within this group. The CIO reports directly to the Vice President for Finance. IT is also supported by the College's committee structure through the Information Technology subcommittee of the Strategic Planning committee. This representative group advises the Strategic Planning Committee, the Chief Information Officer and the College leadership in the planning for and use of information technology in support of the academic and administrative functions of the College. The Committee has produced a draft three-year IT strategic plan and will continue its efforts to finalize plans for implementation.
The College strives to ensure access, safety, security, and a healthy environment. The College has appointed our General Counsel as the Disability Compliance Officer. Disability services for employees are handled by the Department of Human Resources. The Disability Services Committee ensures that the College is committed to providing all students equal access to learning opportunities. Academic accommodations for students with specific disabilities are provided by the Center for Academic Achievement in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Stonehill refers to the "Guidelines for Documentation of a Learning Disability in Adolescents and Adults," developed by the Association of Higher Education and Disability in verifying documentation submitted by students with specific learning disabilities .
The Disabilities Services Committee advises the College on all matters relating to the accommodation of students with disabilities. The Committee consults with administrators directly impacted by compliance issues to determine effective procedures and policies that meet federal, state, and municipal statutes and regulations. The Committee has recommended improvements in accessibility over the last several years for our buildings that were constructed before accessibility requirements were in place. In the last two years, for example, the College has replaced and automated the exterior doors on the west side of the Roche Dining Commons; automated doors on the north side of Sally Blair Ames recreational facility; and upgraded automated door openers in Residence Halls where remote transponders failed after the College implemented card access using the C-Cure System.
In terms of other health and safety, a number of initiatives demonstrate the College's compliance with high standards. For example, the Department of Facilities performs routine campus-wide maintenance checks twice a year. The maintenance staff visits each building and does a thorough inspection of all doorways, windows, furniture as well as other equipment. Most items in need of repair are attended to immediately; otherwise, the staff generates a work order, and the work is scheduled. In some instances, larger discoveries are brought into the maintenance schedule during the next budget process. The Trades Staff conducts similar audits. The HVAC department changes filters three times each year on HVAC units with filters. The electricians test all alarm systems twice per year. Generators are exercised weekly and are inspected by a mechanic.
Although the Campus Police have primary responsibility for day-to-day campus safety, the College staffs a Crisis Committee, which reviews policies and procedures for bomb scares, building evacuations, emergencies, community health issues, critical incident follow-up, large-scale student protests, risk management and natural disasters. While the primary function of the Committee is to prepare proactively for crisis situations, it is critical that the committee be ready to respond and assist the management when such situations occur. Like many Colleges and Universities, Stonehill has also recently developed a comprehensive Emergency Management Plan.
The College publishes an annual report on Campus Safety initiatives that contains a review of the security measures that have been completed during the past year and a projection of security initiatives planned for the current year.
Completed in 2003, the College's Campus Master Plan was developed with the help of architecture firm Bruner/Cott & Associates. While modified slightly since 2003, the College's Campus Master Plan helped to inform the College's long-range plan as well as to provide the strategic context for the current comprehensive fundraising campaign. In addition, in August 2003, the College hired William A. Berry & Son, Inc. to conduct a Deferred Maintenance Assessment of all College facilities. The final report states that level of deferred maintenance is low and the condition of our buildings is in the highest category. Both the Master Plan and the Berry Report have informed strategic planning and the annual allocation of funds for new construction and maintenance of our current buildings.
In FY2004 we implemented the master calendar project, a collaborative effort to develop a unified event calendar. This system delivers real-time daily event calendars incorporating academic courses, departmental events, student activities, and external programming. Subsequent to the implementation was the campus-wide training program of the master calendar. These training sessions focused on efficiently reserving facility space online and seeking venue availability via the link on the College's home page. The successful implementation of this software has proven to continually enhance the mechanism of scheduling facilities in a timely and efficient manner.
The Facilities Scheduling Committee oversees the procedures for requesting space additions and changes. The Committee also reviews the philosophy and practices of scheduling events on campus and provides recommendations for improvement. In an effort to plan efficiently and effectively for alterations or redesigns to academic, residential, athletic, recreational and administrative space, any project that alters space requires completion of the Preliminary Approval for Space Improvement & Renovations Project Form. This form details the project scope, including an outline of the project objectives, timeframe, schedule, equipment and furniture needs and programmatic impact and relationship to the Campus Master Plan. The requesting department must have VP-level approval to move forward to costing the project and seeking approval within the budget process.
Each year the Department of Facilities also compiles a comprehensive budget request report that lists all deferred maintenance items in order of priority. Those items with the highest priority are generally funded as the College budgets generously for adaptation and renewal of facilities in order to ensure that deferred maintained is minimized.
Technological systems have been a high priority for Stonehill in the last three years, as described in detail in Standard Seven. The college ensures the reliability of the technology infrastructure through annual operational and capital funding. Classroom technology, central servers and network electronics are replaced systematically using capital allocations. Desktop computers and laptops for labs, for classrooms, and for employees are replaced through allocations in the Information Technology operating budget. Aging equipment is renewed based on volume, critical need and priority of use.
Information security is a primary focus of the IT department. In Fall 2007, we engaged PricewaterhouseCoopers to conduct an information technology audit. Stonehill corrected identified problems and established policies and procedures to reduce risk on servers hosting critical data and to define responsibilities for safeguarding information resources. In 2008, the College enacted a stong password policy and an information security policy. These changes are aimed at even better ensuring the privacy of personal information in compliance with new Massachusetts regulations and with Federal privacy regulations such as FERPA. Training on the new security policy will be conducted over the summer of 2009 and also in conjunction with end user training for the new Banner modules. The security policy dovetails with the Records Retention policy which was enacted in 2007. This policy sets limits on how long to keep information and defines secure methods for information destruction.
This Spring we completed construction on a data center which houses all servers and core network electronics. An expansion of power and cooling and a new generator enable a secure environment for critical services. An enterprise backup system that incorporates backups to a Storage Area Network (SAN) and to tape adds another level of security to critical data and systems. Tapes are regularly removed to a secure off site location. The department of IT began implementing VMWARE for server virtualization to provide system redundancy, to enable server recovery, and to meet increased demands for new applications. Additional technologies enhance security and reliability, including RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) disk arrays, redundant hardware, enterprise level virus protection, anti-spam protection, virtual private networks (VPNs), and network firewalls.
As Stonehill prepared for its recent Strategic Planning process, a survey of employees revealed a number of perceived weaknesses in the area of technology. For example, members of the community did not understand the long-term strategic vision for technology at Stonehill and did not believe that the College considered technology to be a high priority. Respondents assigned low scores to the rate at which the College is keeping current with technology advancements. This survey was conducted in advance of hiring of a new CIO, the adoption of the Banner Suite of products, or the purchase of the Angel Learning Management System, but it should help provide a context for future technology planning and communication.