Board Applauds Agora

By Douglas Whiting
Director of Public Affairs

Members of the Board of Trustees received their first detailed review of recent University advances in high technology through a presentation on Project Agora at their Dec. 1 meeting in Burns Library.

After watching a film on the project and hearing a report from Information Technology Executive Director Bernard Gleason, trustees voiced the opinion that such advances give Boston College a distinct advantage in the increasingly competitive market for new students.

According to Gleason, Project Agora - which gives students and other members of the University community access to voice, data and video services - has begun to change life on campus in significant ways, and has drawn the attention of other universities, government agencies, professional technological groups and the media.

Admitting to early glitches in the implementation of Agora, particularly in the area of telephone service, Gleason said most problems have been ironed out and the system is being widely utilized by the campus community. Usage, especially for educational purposes, will increase further as people become more comfortable with the technology's various components, he predicted.

Gleason was joined in the presentation by Information Technology Assistant Director Paul Dupuis, IPS Educational Services Administrator Mary Corcoran and Network Services Director Clayton Jeffers.

In other action, Trustee Building and Properties Committee Chairman Patrick Carney reported that the Law Library construction was nearing completion ahead of schedule and on budget, and would be open for business on Jan. 8, 1996. Books are slated to be moved into the building on Dec. 22.

University administrators, he said, are still hopeful that the Middle Campus construction project - which includes a new student center and new academic building - can begin on June 1, 1996, pending appropriate approvals from various city and state agencies. While design drawings are being completed, cost estimates for the project are due in January and still must be approved by the Board of Trustees.

Carney also said that University administrators have begun to study the need for a significant renovation program for Higgins Hall.

Trustee Susan Gianinno reported that the Trustee Committee on Academic Affairs met with leaders and members of the University Academic Planning Council, who told board members that distribution of the planning study draft to members of the University community will take place in January. The committee also met with representatives of the Undergraduate Research Fellows Program and the Presidential Scholars Program.

According to Trustee Marianne Short, diversity and student issues were the primary focus of the meeting of the Trustee Committee on Student Life. Committee members, she said, discussed methods for continuing to improve the racial environment on campus with a group of AHANA administrators. They also met with representatives of the Undergraduate Government of Boston College, who reported on programming activities during the fall semester and discussed other issues, including student activity fees and meal plan options.

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