New head of IT has plans to improve Internet connection, organization

Joshua Farmer

Cathy Bates joined Appalachian State University at the beginning of last semester as the new Information Technology Services chief information officer, and has set several big projects in motion, including upgrading the campus’ Internet connection.

Bates said that IT has started to implement an upgrade to the campus’ wireless Internet connection.

“Right now we’re at a one-gig connection. We will be going to a 10-gig connection,” Bates said.

The upgrade would improve the connection, making it 10 times better than it is now, Bates said.

Bates said there have been two connections delivered to Boone to make the change possible, one from Charlotte and another from the Durham area.

“We need two connections so if one fails we have another,” Bates said.

Bates said the equipment is being ordered and installed, the cost for which totals about $450,000, with another $40,000-$50,000 for maintenance.

“I don’t know if we’ll get it in place before students leave, but I’m hoping that we will,” Bates said.

Bates is also working on getting the technology services on campus to work together more to make it easier for students to find what they need.

“Governance is probably one of the biggest things we need to work on,” Bates said. “There really wasn’t a lot of governance processes in place, ways for technologists to come together and prioritize, or even just make sure they were using the technology resources wisely.”

Bates said that a service catalogue, a listing of all the applications and technology services available to the community, has been started.

“About half of the technologists here on campus are in central IT, and half are distributed out in the departments,” Bates said. “So, one of the things we need to do is come up with a cohesive way of bringing everyone together. Right now, I don’t really feel like we have a great place for students to come tell us what their technology needs are.”

Bates said that they are collecting all technology services and adding them to this service catalogue.

“Now, you’ll be able to go online and learn every kind of service that you could get across the university,” Bates said.

Bates said that there will likely be a special website set up for the catalogue. For now, the website is

Bates also said that there is “great interest” in developing mobile applications.

“Different groups are very interested in coming together to work on where we would go with mobile apps,” Bates said.

Bates said that she is deliberately holding groups back from developing applications just yet to make sure an organizational framework is put in place first, which she expects will be done within a month.

Story: JOSHUA FARMER, News Editor