As associate provost and chief academic technology officer at George Washington University, P.B. Garrett has a keen sense of who her customers are -- 10,000 undergraduate and 14,000 graduate students on three campuses in and around Washington, D.C., and the faculty members, administrators and staffers who support them.
With that mission in mind, Garrett says she's most proud of projects that directly enhance the student's experience. On the micro level, one recent example is GW Mobile, an app developed by student interns that offers course details, maps, campus news, emergency alerts, an events calendar, a shuttle bus schedule and more. The interns gained real-world skills programming in Objective-C or Java, and the university was able to deliver a low-cost, student-centric app that gives the community information they truly want on their mobile devices.
On the macro level is the George Washington School of Nursing's new Clinical Skills and Simulation Lab. AV engineers from Garrett's unit designed the lab from the ground up, and Garrett says that made it possible to offer a higher level of service with more technical features at one-third the cost of commercial systems.
"We worked very closely with the dean of the School of Nursing and the faculty to understand their exact requirements," Garrett explains.
By all accounts, the collaboration was a success. "By working with P.B. Garrett's department, we were able to create an effective space that encourages us to be adventurous," says lab director Patricia Davis. "Best of all, I can see the 'aha' in the students' eyes as it all starts to come together for them."