Oct

25

ESC: A Visit from Dean Peña-Mora

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ESC gathers to listen to the wise words of the dean

Sean Zimmermann gives you the scoop from last night’s ESC meeting.

  • Dean Peña-Mora spoke to the council last night in search of student feedback. He first clarified that the Engineering Library in Mudd is not closing. The new Northwest Corner Building library does not have many books (it’s a “library for the 21st century”), but it will not replace the current Engineering Library.
  • Peña-Mora next explained that Columbia’s bid for the city’s $100 million engineering school grant was “at the printer.” Earlier this year, Mayor Bloomberg promised a location and funding for “infrastructure upgrades” to a selected university’s proposal “to build or expand a ‘world-class’ science and engineering campus in New York City.”
  • When asked about the new Gateway program, Peña-Mora detailed that the current course was created based on recommendations of a special committee, and will be an “evolutionary process.” While “there will be changes over the next two years,” all engineering school classes are under constant review and the current Gateway course “is not a pilot.”
  • Regarding the potential centralization of university administration, Peña-Mora replied “I have not found any movement…to centralize,” though the President does want to encourage greater “collaboration across schools.”
  • Dean Peña-Mora also briefly spoke about the school’s Integrated BS/MS program. Certain departments (EE and MechE) in SEAS allow students to begin taking Masters’ classes in their senior year, when there are still able to receive undergraduate financial aid and housing. This year IEOR will begin offering the program, while other departments (including Chemical) are in the process of instituting the program. However, financial support for students in their fifth year (once they have completed their undergraduate requirements) is “limited.”
  • After the Dean left, the council discussed Columbia’s difficulty in adopting Gmail as a replacement to the old Cubmail system. The problem appears to be that the Google offering is not ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant. Though Cubmail is also not ADA compliant (and hardly email compliant), the older system was created before ADA standards came into effect, and is therefore unfortunately allowed.
A most classy council meeting via Wikimedia Commons

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7 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    SJP in the diana center right now?!

  2. LOL  

    hardly email compliant. too true

  3. Anonymous  

    What does ADA have to do with gmail?

  4. Anonymous

    Why doesn't Barnard have to comply with ADA standards then?

    • Aaron Burr

      Everything at Columbia is about money. This particular instance, to take a wild guess, sounds like a federal research funding thing. The government wants schools to support ADA standards so they tie some amount to compliance (that's how they got the states to raise the drinking age), schools whined so they allowed a grandfather policy, schools that don't take in tons of research money (like Barnard) just bite the bullet for a real email system.

      Seriously, take a look at any of the other Ivy League email systems. They're all custom, ancient, and horrible. Here's a quote from Princeton's: "Via your WebMail email account, you can send email to any active mailbox account on the Internet. With the powerful HTML-Editor feature (IE4/IE5 only) you can send stunning HTML emails, or, for compatibility (plain text message) use the plain-editor to send standard emails."

      Yes, IE4. They're all dark age because nothing actually meets the ADA standards and it's in their financial interest to be compliantly noncompliant.

  5. ...  

    people with disabilities use specially designed local e-mail clients for reading and composing e-mail. the idea that they're looking for "ADA compliant" webmail serves only to show that these people don't have a single, solitary, iota of a clue as to what it is they're actually supposed to be doing.

    but hey, i bet they pull down six figure salaries all the same.

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