By Natalie Hidalgo, with Robert Arena
April 30, 2012
NYU Accra, the University’s sixth study abroad location and first in Africa, opened in Ghana’s capital city in 2005. The program was established as a place for students to learn firsthand about African culture while completing coursework that counts toward their degree. Thanks in part to a strong partnership with the University of Ghana-Legon, the program has since continued to expand, attracting esteemed faculty and an increasing number of talented students to its diverse and growing array of course offerings, including African Studies, Public Policy, and Public Health. To support such growth and accommodate the evolving needs of the NYU Accra community, NYU Global Technology Services, Information Technology Services (ITS), and the Office of Construction Management, in collaboration with local vendors, have recently implemented a variety of improvements to the location’s technological services.
The Global Network University vision includes the “seamless mobility of faculty, students, researchers, and teaching and learning between branch campuses and across international study sites.” This is being achieved through objectives that focus on shared services. As NYU’s presence grows, having an established set of standards for core IT services is critical to creating a rich technological experience for community members around the world.
This past January, NYU Accra successfully completed the relocation of the Academic Center, which houses six classrooms, including outdoor learning spaces, a library, a computer lab, and a film editing lab. The Academic Center also offers wired and wireless Internet connections throughout to facilitate research and collaboration. This project also included significant network improvements that now provide a more resilient network and increased Internet capacity throughout the Center and the two NYU Accra residences: Church Crescent and Solomon’s Lodge.
Internet capacity was quadrupled at the Academic Center, and now students can work comfortably in their residences and do not have to depend solely on the Academic Center’s technology resources. No longer will students have to travel to the Academic Center because of the network limitation in the residences to video chat with family and friends. Students can now stream video, upload content, and video chat at better speeds than before. Wireless coverage was also extended to include student lounge areas and classroom spaces.
Improvements have also been made to the on-campus phone system. Because NYU Accra staff previously shared three phone lines at the Academic Center, phone service was unreliable and resulted in frequent busy signals. This made it difficult to collaborate with colleagues in New York, work with local vendors, and communicate with parents and prospective students. There are now eight lines, allowing staff to make and receive calls without disruptions. In addition, the recently improved telephone system gives added capacity and flexibility for placing long distance calls.
Technical equipment NYU Accra was at risk of being damaged as a result of the region's sudden and frequent unregulated power surges. This occasionally led to network outages affecting the entire community. The purchase of at least twelve uninterruptible power supply (UPS) units and six stabilizers will go a long way toward mitigating the service interruptions that result from the frequent brown outs and black outs on the local grid.
For more information about NYU Accra and NYU’s other Global Academic Centers, see www.nyu.edu/global/global-academic-centers1.
Natalie Hidalgo is a Service Delivery Manager for Global Technology Services.
Robert Arena is an IT Project Manager for Global Technology Services.