Bradley University partners with T-Mobile to give students, faculty and some staff iPads
Bradley University is partnering with T-Mobile to give students, faculty and some staff iPads with 5G unlimited data.
The initiative is a first for T-Mobile and will be used to create a “digitally connected” campus at Bradley, according to an announcement from Bradley President Stephen Standifird.
Christopher Jones, vice president for strategy and innovation at Bradley, said this initiative will enhance students' college experience and will make Bradley stand out from other universities.
“Our first strategic imperative at Bradley University is to create a more diverse and inclusive environment,” Jones said. “And we see these iPads in the connectivity as a way for everybody to feel that they're on a level playing field at Bradley University. And then we see this also as a way to take a step forward to elevate and say, ‘Okay, how can we enrich the academic experience and bring students and faculty along?’”
Michael Stubbs, director of Peoria NEXT Innovation Center, said the initiative will begin this year with “discovery cohorts” of students and faculty. He said they are a few examples of ways to use them, but no set requirements for students or faculty.
“A lot of that's built on innovation from an academic perspective, to get students to think along with faculty, “how is the best way to use this new tool and platform?,’” Stubbs said. “And so not really prescribing this is what's going to happen, and this is why and this is when, but allowing that to naturally grow out of the fact that we're providing somebody a new tool to create off of.”
Bradley will collect data on key indicators such as academic performance, student retention and graduation rates to determine the success of the initiative.
This data will then be used by T-Mobile as they expand the program to other universities.
“Student Success is a big issue,” Jones said. “We want students to come to Bradley, be retained, graduate happily, and we really hope this first year will develop as a one stop shop experience, where students will have the ability to use the iPad essentially their passport to the community, but also a tool for student success where they can message their faculty members get academic resources, engage in curricular activities, use it for wayfinding to navigate the campus.”
The first cohorts will be selected based on different colleges within Bradley and other initiatives. Jones said deans and faculty within the colleges will select students for their respective cohort.
Other possible cohorts could be first-year students, community partnerships and student government. The full roll out will take place during the Fall 2024 semester.