I teach six classes a year, from the basic public speaking course to upper-level classes. As a graduate student, I am involved in marketing USF as a great research university, through my various publications and conference presentations.
As you may know, Academic Computing has been having a lot of trouble with mail.usf.edu over the past year. The system crashes, e-mails are lost and folders disappear. It has gotten to the point where this is no longer a mere nuisance, but a full interruption of the services I am supposed to supply as a graduate teaching assistant (GTA). My students cannot contact me, nor can I contact them. Since I arrived at USF, the Information Technologies services I depend upon have crashed innumerable times.
Something needs to be done. This situation needs an investigation, and whoever is responsible needs to be dealt with swiftly and appropriately. There needs to be accountability for the IT disasters over the past year and a half.
I used to be the IT Coordinator for the College of Arts & Sciences at a university in the Midwest before I decided to pursue my doctorate at USF. In other words, I know what I am talking about. How can USF’s Academic Computing department not have sufficient servers? How is it that it does not have effective contingency plans? Why are we not using RAID? Why is it using expensive proprietary software and hardware rather than a cheaper and more efficient solution? Why are people installing new servers and software without properly beta-testing them before they go live? Why are the students the guinea pigs for these systems?
GTAs cannot perform the necessary requirements for teaching, research and service if they do not have a reliable manner by which to communicate to their faculty, student and community members. On the behalf of the USF GTAs, I beg of IT to get us off the mail.usf.edu system. Put us on the servers of our respective colleges. Just get us off mail.usf.edu so we can do our jobs.
Andrew F. Herrmann is a doctoral student in the mass communications department.