For a Luddite like me, the word "foundation" connotes the concrete walls of the basement of my house. And if that foundation became cracked and outdated, I'd need to undertake its renovation or replacement so that my house could continue to stand. That sounds like a major project, so I'd better prepare for some inconvenience and dust. And though it's doubtful that a piece of my kitchen chandelier will fall during the process, I'll be ready just the same.

It turns out (most non-Luddites already know) there is an informational "foundation" to an institution like Kalamazoo College. This virtual "foundation" is called its administrative database, and ours must change. The administrative database is an infrastructure most of us don't see, and Kalamazoo College's is getting a needed update and upgrade. As a result, the interactions between the College and all members of its community will improve. But in the transition--moving mountains of information from one database to a better one--there's bound to be some "virtual dust." Pardon us for it. This dust might express itself in information disruptions, or changes in personal mailing preferences, or other inconveniences as yet unforeseen. For example, perhaps you have been receiving your College mailings addressed to Dr. Jane Doe, a preference (over Ms. Jane Doe) you expressed long ago. If, as a result of the database change, your mailings revert to Ms. Jane Doe, we apologize, and ask that you inform us by contacting
"In the transition there's bound to be some 'virtual dust.'"
Feel free to do this for any "dust" you experience, and it's possible you will experience no dust.

Our "virtual foundation" is outdated and needs to be replaced. But the new construction is more than a necessity, according to Greg Diment, Associate Provost for Information Services. "It's an opportunity for the College to look at all of its practices and for us to work more effectively as a campus," he added. "And, ultimately, that will mean a better learning experience for students."

So, during this transition, pardon our virtual dust, and let us know about any glitches by contacting

by Jim VanSweden

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