Microsoft Ranked Most Responsive Technology Company By U.S. Colleges and Universities

REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 28, 2000 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that it has been named the most responsive technology company by more than 81 percent of U.S. colleges and universities in a new study by International Data Corp. (IDC), the Framingham, Mass., market research firm. The survey, part of IDC’s
“State of Technology Usage in Higher Education Institutions, 1999,”
examined the attitudes of technology decision-makers nationwide. The high rating of Microsoft is in keeping with the company’s long-standing commitment, not only to developing the technology tools schools need to enhance teaching, learning and communication on campus, but also to offering innovative programs and resources that help the higher-education community effectively use technology for teaching and learning.

“As a market that spent more than $3 billion on IT in 1999 and will spend almost $5 billion by 2003, higher-education institutions will continue to challenge IT vendors to offer innovative programs, effective support and comprehensive customer-focused solutions,”
said Sau Lau, an IDC analyst.
“Most of the companies included in our survey already have specific programs targeted at the higher education community, but we found that Microsoft by far has the most programs, including professional development, technology planning, and grants and charity.”

The 1999 Higher Education Institution survey probes two- and four-year colleges and universities about current and future ownership and purchases of technology. As part of its survey, IDC asked colleges and universities which companies have the best reputation for meeting the IT needs of higher education. The survey found that 81.4 percent of both two- and four-year schools ranked Microsoft No. 1. In addition, the survey found Microsoft ÒWindows NT® is the leading operating system in higher education, with 48 percent of the schools surveyed selecting Windows NT as their network operating system. More information about the 1999 Higher Education Institution survey is available at .

“Education is on the top of our agenda at Microsoft, and we are thrilled by this vote of confidence from the higher-education community,”
said Bryan Watson, general manager of the Education Group at Microsoft.
“Today’s colleges and universities face more challenges than ever as they strive to give faculty, students and staff the technology skills they need to succeed in teaching, learning and in the workplace. We are committed to listening to our education customers and trying to provide technology as well as the support and resources they need to address these concerns.”

To ensure that its technology products and solutions meet the needs of the higher-education community, Microsoft spends many hours talking with college and university faculty members and administrators as well as various higher-education associations, such as EDUCAUSE, the League for Innovation in the Community College and the American Association of Community Colleges. As a result, Microsoft has developed a variety of programs and resources designed to help colleges and universities provide all students with access to the latest technology as well as offer faculty and IT staff the training and development opportunities needed to effectively integrate technology into classroom learning and administration.

“I am happy to see our partner – Microsoft – receive high praise from the community of schools it serves,”
said Richard N. Katz, vice president of EDUCAUSE, an international nonprofit association dedicated to transforming education through information technologies.
“Microsoft has taken increasing care to understand and meet the needs of higher education. This survey suggests that this care is being felt and appreciated.”

Microsoft Commits to Training More Than 20,000 Faculty Members This School Year

Recognizing that one of the greatest challenges to making the most of technology at colleges and universities is keeping faculty members and IT staff up to date, Microsoft’s No. 1 investment in the higher-education community is through its commitment to expanding training and development opportunities. At the heart of this commitment is the Microsoft Mentor Program. Launched in 1998 with faculty from the League for Innovation in the Community College, the program’s goal is to train 1,000 Microsoft Mentors, each reaching at least 20 additional faculty members by the end of the 1999-2000 school year, which will result in the training of more than 20,000 educators.

Based on a train-the-trainer model, the Microsoft Mentor Program offers faculty members free training workshops on the Microsoft Office suite so that they can enhance classroom teaching by designing course Web sites and creating PowerPoint® presentations to accompany lectures. To date, the program has helped train more than 500 Microsoft Mentors at institutions such as the California Virtual Campus (Statewide Rural Region), the Appalachian College Association, the historically black colleges and universities, and the Minnesota state college and university system.

Kathleen Canney Lopez, a computer science professor, became a Microsoft Mentor to help Southwestern College in Chula Vista, Calif., make the transition to Office 2000 last fall. What began initially as informal one-on-one help sessions for interested faculty in Canney Lopez’s office soon grew to include regularly scheduled training classes in a campus lab as a result of growing interest from faculty and support from Southwestern College President Serafin Zasueta.

“Our faculty have been extremely enthusiastic about this opportunity to keep abreast of the latest software in a very easy way. It is local. It is free. It is immediately effective,”
Canney Lopez said.
“This year, thanks to the Microsoft Mentor Program, for the first time our instructors will be well ahead of changes in the classroom. They will have time to learn and use the newest functions instead of trying to just keep up with what they need for the next class.”

Microsoft Promotes Access to Technology

Offering all students and faculty access to technology is another hurdle that Microsoft is helping colleges and universities overcome. For example, Working Connections, designed to help disadvantaged individuals prepare for information technology jobs, enables community colleges to develop and implement technology-training programs that directly address the work-force needs of their local communities. In January, Microsoft announced the Working Connections
“Class of 2002,”
the third set of community college grantees in this five-year, $7 million philanthropic program. This year eight recipients, representing 35 community colleges, have been awarded cash grants ranging from $240,000 to $300,000 to develop and implement technology training programs that directly address the work-force needs of their local communities.

Microsoft initiated the Working Connections program in 1997 in collaboration with the American Association of Community Colleges, an organization based in Washington, D.C., that manages the program daily. As of today, Working Connections grants have been awarded to more than 60 community colleges in both urban and rural areas that focus on supporting students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

For example, Microsoft responded to the needs of local businesses in Blackwood, N.J., including four major health-care facilities, for workers with technical skills by selecting Camden County College to join the Working Connections program in 1999 and awarding it a grant needed to begin a program to train medical coders who translate physician and hospital codes into billing terminology for insurance companies.

“With the help of Working Connections, we were able to develop an IT curriculum that directly responds to the needs of our community, and local businesses are already trying to hire students that are still completing the program,”
said professor Phyllis Owens, program director for Working Connections at Camden County College.
“We are excited to continue adjusting the program as the needs of our local businesses expand and change.”

More information about Microsoft and higher education can be found at . Microsoft is committed to helping colleges and universities build 21st-century campuses in the Connected Learning Community, where learning isn’t limited by walls, material on a library’s shelves, credentials of a university’s faculty, or the usual barriers of time, distance, convenience and access.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software – any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft, Windows NT and PowerPoint are either trademarks or registered trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

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