IT budget not keeping up

MCTC’s computers are outdated, our Information Technology (IT) department is doing its best with a less-than- adequate budget to meet staff, faculty and student’s needs.

Tiffni Deeb, the director of the IT department, has a budget of about 3 million dollars, and nearly over 2 million goes to personnel. This doesn’t leave much in terms of replacing old computers. “We had developed a life cycle of computer replacements a few years ago that would have required us to get approximately 900,000 a year for new equipment. In our current budget we don’t have that kind of funding,” she stated.

This is how the current system is setup: what is left from non- personnel funding is used on replacing hardware or buying new computers. Since much of the money needed to do the bare minimum is hard to come by the IT department finds the necessary infrastructure through contracts with other companies that are paid off on a regular basis.

“The majority of our desktops throughout our institution are probably five and six years old; we are really kind of pushing our luck with that.” Many students wonder where this significant change is, how has the IT department done what it’s supposed to do? Some observable improvements have been that “this year we did replace just a little over 200 devices, we did some over in our I-Tec area, and then over in graphics.”

The lack of funding is a concern when compared to other MnSCU colleges. “We’ve done some comparison to other institutions that are comparable to us, there is a significant difference in our budget compared to others,” said Deeb. Other two year colleges in Minnesota have received a significant more amount of money then MCTC. Normandale has $5,717,933 and Anoka-Ramsey’s $4,463,827, for example. Their IT departments have significantly larger budgets than MCTC’s $3,742,054.

“My style is certainly a collaborative style, my style is to ask my users, the students and faculty, are your needs being met,” said Deeb, “That’s our bottom line, how do we ensure our students are successful?”

The pressing need for more money in the IT department has called for students to respond. The student senate has seen the need for more funding and has decided to put $50,000 towards this cause. “This is really important to me,” said Robert Ellis, president of the Senate.

“Our current life cycle is 5 years, then we replace a computer, we might have to change that in order to keep up with the demands,” said Deeb. As we continue to push the quality of our computers we ask where do you think the money should come from? “I don’t know,” said Deeb, “I can’t say that any one depart needs are any more or less important than we do, it’s just not my place to say…. But we have hope, and we know that we will keep working hard, trying to do what best for our students.”

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