Morton Hall: UNCW’s resident dinosaur

Brett Henley

The ignoble English student faces a daunting challenge upon approaching the doors of Morton Hall, lost in the shadows of the new Computer Information Systems building currently under construction. It, specifically the facility expected to house Information Systems and Operations Management, both part of the Cameron School of Business, will also provide a home for the Department of Computer Science.

The new facility will feature a 45-seat financial markets room, offering students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in trading financial assets. What exactly does this mean? Well, a recent university press release mentions that universities with similar facilities have witnessed a combination of increased enthusiasm from both students and prospective employers. Donors stand at the ready, because Larry Clark, dean of the Cameron School of Business, evidently intends for his students to have access to applicable technology in their chosen field of study, as well as offering naming rights for the room to the highest bidder. Try this terminology on for size: networking. Doesn’t it just roll of the tongue with linguistic ease?

But beware UNCW alumni and community entrepreneurs, because the mighty English department is armed with asbestos, urine-stained floors and an astronomical 20 computers in Morton 204 to send its students into 2006 with a collective whimper. I can see the admiration and awe on the faces of prospective students and parents when faced with electronic information kiosks, walls pulsating with high-speed networking and the kind of fiber that blows open the doors to industry connections, all neatly packaged in the new CIS building. English students will have to settle for a box of Total.

These same wide-eyed visitors will turn to glance at the plastic pillars beside Morton Hall and laugh. Students will pile by the two’s and three’s at a single computer, its software inadequacies apparent, smoke rising as the gerbil wheel turns at a numbing pace, and wonder why the neighboring giants in the CIS building are too busy to share. In the midst of practicing with emerging technologies, their fingertips vessels between a global market and grand aspirations, there just isn’t adequate time to offer a handout.

English students will just have to put our collective heads together and find a way to slosh through a blizzard of technological shortcomings. If all else fails, then the department can always scrap the unreliable computers in Morton 204, and invest in a slew of Wheelwriter series typewriters. After all, English students must be too busy discussing long-dead authors to care about the real world.