Mathematics Computer Lab


In the fall of 1991, the Grants office at the college was searching for ways to fund additional computer equipment. Phillipa Kassover (from the Grants Office) worked with Rick Keller (Director of Academic Computing) and Steven Janke (Mathematics Department) to develop a proposal for AT&T's Equipment Donation Program. From a total of 151 proposals, Colorado College was selected as one of 53 institutions that would receive computer equipment. Since AT&T had just acquired the computer firm NCR, the college was awarded a lab full (about 20 computers, a server, and a printer) of NCR equipment valued at about $145,000.

Lab space was carved from the storage area formed when the famous "Pit" lecture room on the basement floor of Palmer Hall was remodeled in the early 1960's. Following the stereotypical placement of computer labs, the room (Palmer 14) is actually in the sub-basement with no windows. Yet, the department was pleased to have the equipment necessary to integrate more fully computing into the standard curriculum.

By 1996 it was clear that the computer lab needed upgrading. That fall, Andrea Lucard (from the Grants Office) along with Tom Makofske (Director of Information Services), Steven Janke (Mathematics Department), Kris Jones (Academic Technology Specialist), and several others, prepared a proposal for the Booth-Ferris foundation. The college won the grant, and during the summer of 1997, Kris Jones supervised the complete remodeling of the computer lab, and then ordered new machines (Pentiums) and a projection system for displaying the computer monitor on a large screen visible to an entire class. Once some upgraded network wiring was added, the Mathematics Computer lab was once more ready for business in the fall of 1997.

There were computer labs on campus before 1997, but they had to be shared among many departments. This new lab, then, offered the Mathematics Department a chance to utilize computers in the classroom as often as was useful. The department uses the lab extensively in most calculus, statistics, and computer science classes. Upper level courses take advantage of software programs such as Mathematica and MatLab to investigate complicated functions and large systems of equations.


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