Telematics center opens in DuSable

By Beth Oltmanns

The department of communication will hold a grand opening ceremony at 3 p.m. today for the new Center of Telematics.

The center, which is located in DuSable Hall, Room 218, has been in the works for five years and was completed for the fall 2001 semester, said Lois Self, chair of the department of communication.

The center looks like a normal computer lab, but what really makes it special is the software and applications, said David Gunkel, an associate professor in the department of communication and co-director of the telematics center.

“It brings together stuff that is usually separated,” Gunkel said.

Software and applications for print media, television and video, filmmaking, audio and imaging are brought together in the lab, Gunkel said.

The Verizon Communications Foundation gave a $100,000 gift for use in creating the center. The department of communication then worked with the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the office of the provost to get matching funds to create the $250,000 center, Self said.

Students, faculty and alumni can benefit from the technology offered by the telematics center.

“We hope to have workshops and events for alumni, faculty and other professionals in the area,” Self said.

All students need basic skills in digital media to work in the job market, Gunkel said.

“Every year about 2,000 information technology jobs go unfilled,” he said.

The Center for Telematics will help give students the skills they need to get these jobs and work in new media markets, Gunkel said.

Students and faculty outside the department of communication can use the lab during open lab hours from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Speakers at the grand opening ceremony include Self; Frederick Kitterle, dean of the college of liberal arts and sciences; Michael Malone, NIU vice president for development and university relations; and Verizon Communications representative Tracy Scholle, an alumna of the department of communication