WMU News

WMU debuts at No. 62 on 'Most Wired College' list

Sept. 18, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University has been named one of the nation's Most Wired Colleges in Yahoo magazine's fifth annual listing of the top 100 institutions it calls "the most mod quads in the land."

WMU debuted at number 62 in the 2001 ranking, which is based on a survey of more than 1,300 colleges and universities across the nation. The listing appears in the October 2001 issue of Yahoo, with Carnegie Mellon University topping the list.

The magazine based each college's WQ, or "wireless quotient," on six categories used to evaluate how much schools have incorporated network technologies into campus life. Letter grades were assigned for each of these weighted categories: infrastructure, student resources, Web portal, e-learning, tech support and wireless access.

"This is a very impressive first appearance on the list, and we have every reason to expect we'll rank even higher in the future, since the survey predates some of our most ambitious infrastructure and student resource initiatives, such as wireless computing," says Viji Murali, WMU vice president for information technology and chief information officer. "I'm very grateful for the tremendous administrative and staff effort that has gone into putting us on the map by making our computing resources among the best in the nation."

WMU received grades of "A" in two of the six graded categories, Web portal and tech support. The Web portal category, which accounted for 22 percent of the overall score, is based on the institution's Web site, which Yahoo calls a school's "online ambassador." Design and navigability as well as availability of information were key factors in grading that category, with an "A" reserved for a Web site the magazine considers "a work of art." WMU's Web site underwent extensive redesign in 2000.

The tech support category, which also garnered an "A," accounted for 11 percent of the overall score, with grading based on hours of free technical support available, Web-based technical support, and the availability of on-site technical support, as well as computing and Internet orientation courses led by real instructors.

"Simply put," say Yahoo editors in answer to questions about why they focused the survey on wiredness, "technology plays a crucial role in higher learning today. It's spawning powerful interactive tools for professors in the classroom, providing scholars with access to vast digital libraries, and functioning as a social forum for students, who are engaged in that at age-old pastime: flirting with classmates."

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 616 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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