January 18, 2006

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Don Sherwood, left, and Brian C. Mitchell.

LEWISBURG, Pa. - Representative Don Sherwood joined Bucknell University President Brian C. Mitchell to announce a $416,640 federal grant to help establish a wireless network to allow Internet access across the 450-acre campus.

The Bucknell funding was secured by Sherwood in the fiscal year 2005 omnibus appropriations bill containing the Department of Education budget. The funding is included in the Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education.

"Wireless technology is growing across the nation and establishing a wireless network at Bucknell is good news for the university community and for the region," Sherwood said Wednesday during a joint campus announcement.

Mitchell said the project, which began in May and will conclude this spring, "builds on Bucknell's strong reputation as a highly selective national liberal arts university with strong technology programs that support all of our academic programs. The wireless project is another important milestone in our efforts to strengthen our academic core and promote a seamless educational environment.

"In order for our students to transition easily from the hallowed halls of higher education into the ever changing workforce, the educational delivery system must approximate that which they will experience as alumni. To that end, Bucknell has committed to an aggressive and innovative technology structure that provides the tools for our students to be successful while at Bucknell as well as beyond."

The university president thanked the congressman for advocating for Bucknell in the grant process and said he looked forward to future opportunities to "work together to the benefit of our students."

The wired network consists of more than 180 wireless access points and extends the Bucknell computer and telecommunications network beyond wired locations. The network provides access to a variety of applications, electronic databases, the Internet, and television programming. The network delivers about 350,000 email messages daily and supports the downloading of 70,000 Bucknell web pages each day.

Sherwood is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittee on Labor/Health and Human Services/Education, which is responsible for drafting the appropriations bill that funds the Department of Education each year.

During his Bucknell visit, Sherwood also met with faculty and administrators who use wireless technology, including Arthur Shapiro, associate professor of psychology, Margot Vigeant, assistant professor of chemical engineering, Laura Denbow, director of the Career Development Center, Gene Spencer, associate vice president for Information Services and Resources, Brian Hoyt, director of technology integration, and several students.

Examples of how the wireless network makes a difference at Bucknell include:

  • Students can access email, the Internet and the Bucknell network in a multitude of places across campus including, the Bertrand Library, the Krebs Fitness Center, the Bison Snack Bar, the lounge in their residence hall, and classrooms across campus making learning spaces flexible and accessible.

  • Geisinger Health System physicians at the football stadium have instant access to treatment records during football games and practices to aid in their response to student-athletes.

  • Engineering faculty can integrate and support collaborative learning experiences that require extensive access to information, simulations or communications technologies.

  • Faculty and staff have unfettered access as they move between offices, classrooms, and meeting rooms.

  • The wireless network is an important tool for productivity and access for campus visitors, including prospective students and their parents, students, alumni and parents when they return to campus, recruiters, and attendees at summer conferences at Bucknell.

    Posted Jan. 18, 2006


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