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Do ICT Create Academic Departmental Identity and Community?: Navel Gazing

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Clara M. Chu, Professor and Department Chair (Creator)
Institution
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: Most universities have access to information communication technologies (ICT) that enable the professoriate to interact beyond hallway discussions and faculty meetings. Professors have access to ICT for conducting their duties: research, instruction and service. Our challenge is how to use ICT to improve our practices and create identity and social community as an academic departmental community (administration, faculty, students, staff and alumni). It is often said with respect to technology that “if we build, it they will come,” or as university administration hopes: “if we supply them, they will be used.” Are ICT being used?, how are they being used?, and are they being taking full advantage of to enhance our real communities? This paper aims to address these questions, and discuss the use of ICT to support research, instruction and service, but more specifically, the use of ICT to enhance a sense of identity and community across all members of a department. The authors draw from their observations of having had academic exchanges in different university social science departments in North America, Western Europe and Latin America. Although different versions of hardware and software, languages, university systems and extent of economic development exist in university departments across the Atlantic, the authors’ combined experiences and observations revealed very similar limited uses of ICT in academic departments. Web based community strategies are proposed in the form of best practices and represented in a model to assist in the strengthening of academic departmental identity and community as a whole. As a result learning and intellectual engagement becomes a two-way communication process and decision-making is informed by the participation from the department as a whole, whether physically, virtually or both. In an economically, politically and technologically integrated, information-intensive world, the proposed democratic web based academic departmental community model takes into account that local practices need to respond to global needs and challenges.

Additional Information

Publication
Proceedings of the International Association for Development of the Information Society (IADIS) International Conference on Web-based Communities 2005; 23-25th February 2005; Algarve, Portugal. Lisbon: IADIS Press, 2005; pp. 191-198
Language: English
Date: 2005
Keywords
Academic Department Identity and Community, University, Web Based Community, ICT