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Students and faculty will soon be able to reach out and touch someone a lot more easily, if the University's Electronic Mail & system is expanded. A newly-formed taskforce & created to examine the possibility of expanding the system, & known as PennNet, met last & week for the first time. The & committee will study the feasi bility of allowing students from all undergraduate schools ac - cess to the University's system. Currently only students in the Engineering School, graduate & students in the Medical and Annenberg schools and most faculty have guaranteed access to the network. "The goal is to explore the feasibility of providing electronic mail and electronic bulletin board access for all Penn undergraduates," said Daniel & Updegrove, the assistant vice & provost for data administration and information resource & planning. "Some faculty and students have called for itthere are some faculty members who believe strongly that E-mail would enhance student-faculty interaction," Updegrove said. PennNet currently allows & those with accounts to send and receive electronic mail via & modem, communicate with & friends or colleagues at universities around the world and log on to databases and libraries at many universities and institutions. Updegrove said that PennNet is now connected to about 1000 similar systems. Updegrove said the committee, which is also made up of officials from each of the four schools and from the Office of Student Life, will first examine the needs of students within the schools, and how much it would cost to service those needs with a new system. He added that students can hope to see results by Fall 1992. "It's more than just providing computers that people can log into and check their mail," Updegrove said. "There's documentation, training, and [assistance] hotlines that would be needed." Ben Goldstein, who came & from Harvey Mudd College in California on July 1 to become the School of Arts and Sciences' Associate Dean for Academic & Computing, said the project & holds many possible benefits for students and faculty. "What E-mail would give five or 10 years down the road is the ability to produce more scholarly work," Goldstein said. "We are in the era of communications it is important for students to be able to communicate among themselves and & with faculty." Updegrove said he looks forward to the presence of "one big electronic university nationwide, where you could do a lot more of your work from wherever you happen to be." He also said that students at the University could feel its impact as soon as they receive a fat envelope from the Admissions Office. "What I imagine is as soon as high school students are accepted, they would get an account," he said. "They could & commmunicate with their faculty advisors, roommates and take care of some of the bureaucracy, before they get to & school."

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