Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) has donated nearly $400,000 in equipment to California State University, Long Beach to create an innovative, technology-based and interdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning, according to CSULB President Robert C. Maxson. The grant to the Colleges of Engineering and Business Administration has established the Hewlett-Packard Interdisciplinary Learning Laboratories.
Networked between two locations in the colleges, the Interdisciplinary Learning Laboratory Program (ILLP) facilitates collaboration between information systems majors and computer science majors working on joint projects.
"On behalf of the university, I want to thank Hewlett-Packard for its generosity," said Maxson. "This donation provides our students with the technological resources to be fully prepared for the challenges of today's workplace."
Computer science students focus more on mathematical foundations and software architecture, while information systems students emphasize business skills and enterprise management. The collaborative curriculum offered through ILLP enables students to learn software development and acquire the increasingly critical skills of project management and interdisciplinary teamwork.
The program represents CSULB's response to the need for employees capable of working comfortably and productively in self-managed, interdisciplinary teams. In the future, ILLP will be expanded to accommodate majors in other disciplines.
"Collaboration across diverse functions is crucial in today's business environment," said Tony Napolitan, Hewlett-Packard's university grants manager. "HP's University Grants Board approved this equipment grant in recognition of CSULB's attempt through the ILLP to address this."
Students receive their primary course content within their respective colleges, but they share lab access, arrange selected meetings each semester and meet as interdisciplinary teams to develop and present term projects. Each college's curriculum has unique strengths that are complemented by the focus of the other college.
The grant provides HP UNIX servers and NetServers, multimedia workstations, desktop clients and HP peripherals to support the distributed learning environment.
"We are very honored that Hewlett-Packard selected CSULB as the recipient of such a large grant," noted Barbara Crutchfield George, CBA's interim dean. "It indicates their recognition of the quality of students and faculties in both of our colleges."
The ILLP labs, which are open six days a week from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., can be used 100 percent of the time for classes, and they allow 24-hour access via the World Wide Web for collaborative student projects.
"The equipment is the lab," commented Richard Williams, the College of Engineering dean, "and the lab is already very heavily utilized for teaching students a wide variety of computer applications. It is of tremendous benefit to our college as well as Business Administration."
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