University Practices: What’s Working and What Isn’t

by All Around CMU-Q


By Abhay Valiyaveettil

There are several instances during the day when we students start wondering, “Okay, this isn’t fair, we really need some more tech support!” or often there are times where we ask “Why is so much paper being wasted by this other student, perhaps we should have a printing limit?” Well this article will deal with some of the common questions that most students ask in times of inconvenience and also, what can be done about it perhaps.

IT Services

Last week, a good friend of mine was working on her assignment for a writing course. That was when her Microsoft Office trial had expired and she was forced to come to university in order to complete the paper. The following day, she approached the IT department requesting for a copy of the MS Office suite. Unfortunately, they responded saying that it was against their policy to do so. This really is an issue that we probably need to address. CMUQ is perhaps the only university in Education City that does not provide individual laptops to students for professional use. The justification for this is that CMUQ is indeed equipped with the most number of clusters and high processing power computers. But at a minimum, students still do expect to get support in the form of software versions for something as basic as Microsoft Office. Well, one can always come to university to work but then again, this might not be possible all the time, especially for students living far away from campus.

Printing and Library hours

This came to my attention when I visited the printing room in the library and noticed that the rack of papers was placed on top of the printer instead of placing it inside. Well, of course no, that’s just my attempt at being a little funny here but the truth is that someone had actually printed a 178 page book from the printer. Better yet, it was printed single sided! This led me to think if there are times when we tend to print more than what’s required. In the discussions with other students, I heard a lot about the Pittsburgh campus policy on printing. There is a fixed limit of free pages that can be printed and any additional printing would be charged for a small fee through the student account. This really works well in Pittsburgh and I’m pretty sure no one would be printing a 178 page PDF document there. Even in terms of sustainability, printing so many pages and that too single sided is just plain wrong. Another issue that came up last semester was the mistreatment of printers. It’s really disappointing to know that someone actually kicked and damaged one of the printers in the room. This eventually led to other printers being overloaded and students getting queued up for printing etc. As students we really need to respect the university property especially since we pretty much contribute towards this property through fees.

Now that we are approaching finals week, there is a significant demand to increase the library hours, particularly on the weekends. A lot of students come to work during the weekends at this time of the semester only to find the library closed. Also, during the weekdays, the library is open only till 10pm while several students would like to continue working at least till midnight. Security concerns and lack of staff was the reason provided by the university earlier but efforts are being made to work out a solution for this problem.

Mid-semester evaluations

A group of my junior friends were complaining that mid-semester evaluations are hardly considered and not a lot is really done about them. In their opinion, a few professors address each comment and bring it up in class whereas most of the professors choose not to discuss them. We believe that this feedback can be really helpful and really appreciate the professors who take the time to look at each issue carefully and try and make the situation better. Of course, in the end it is up to the professor to decide whether or not to do anything about the evaluation but it is definitely worth considering. On a side note, this evaluation process works both ways. Students must try and provide honest feedback and meaningful suggestions in order to bring about a common message for the instructor.