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Editor's Note

Recently while doing some research for a story, I was caught off guard when I found a web log purportedly written by Philip Eaton, president of Seattle Pacific University (Wash.). The blog was casual and witty, and, judging by the comments, apparently enjoyed a devoted following of readers.

A few weeks ago I attended a higher education media dinner, at which college and university presidents engaged in a freewheeling discussion of a number of issues raised by journalists. One topic that came up was the coverage, or lack of coverage, of community colleges. And they were right. Most media attention is given to four-year schools. Not too long ago, the community college was seen as the place you went to when you couldn't get into "real" college. Of course, that wasn't true then, and it certainly isn't true now.

The annual fall dust-up over the rankings published by U.S News & World Report, The Princeton Review, and others has finally died down.

To paraphrase Mark Twain's Comment about the weather, it seems that everyone complains about IT security, but no one does anything about it. A higher education "report card" survey released at the end of October showed that although security was named a top priority among administrators and IT directors, that concern isn't necessarily balanced by policy and resources.

Days after our last issue hit the mail, Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast with Category 5 ferocity, decimating the fragile levee system that had protected New Orleans from flooding for more than a century. Even now, several weeks after the fact, officials still haven't fully assessed the death and destruction wreaked on Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Tulane University and Loyola of New Orleans announced they wouldn't reopen until spring 2006.

It all started with the living room drapes. As my wife stood back to appraise the job I did hanging the drapes, I had an eerie sensation that something wasn't quite right.

"It's strange, isn't it, how the new drapes make the walls look so... dingy," she said.

Last month I asked How readers got past roadblocks to integrating multimedia technology into the classroom. With this technology being no small budget item, I was curious about what colleges and universities were doing to help make this convergence successful. Gary Friesen, director of Academic Technology at Indiana's Taylor University, wrote in to explain how they did it at his institution. TU is a private liberal arts college in north-central Indiana with an enrollment of 1,850 residential students. Every classroom has a ceiling projector as well as computer/multimedia podiums.

How important is technology to your institution? Is it a deeply ingrained part of the educational environment? If not, then why not?

Before I read the "2005 Educause Current IT Issues Survey" that annually ranks hot issues for higher education CIOs, I took a stab at guessing what three issues are top-of-mind for IT folks. Well, I nailed two out of three. Funding IT was the winner, followed by security concerns, and strategic planning came in third.