Robyn Huff-Eibl, Travis Teetor's article 'Overcoming Technology Barriers for Students' published by Project Muse

Robyn Huff-Eibl, Travis Teetor's article 'Overcoming Technology Barriers for Students' published by Project Muse

July 27, 2023
Robyn Huff-Eibl and Travis Teetor

"Overcoming Technology Barriers for Students," authored by Access & Information Services Department Head Robyn Huff-Eibl and Technology Manager Travis Teetor, was recently published by Project Muse

The University Libraries' Rhonda G. Tubbs Tech Toolshed technology lending program allows current University of Arizona students to borrow items such as laptops, cameras, hard drives, iPads, scientific calculators and more, for free. Many of these items are an expensive and sometimes unanticipated financial burden particularly for first-generation and underrepresented students.

Earlier this year, the technology lending program and Think Tank were recognized as Arizona (AZ) Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Consortium Evidence Based Practices. Think Tank is a program at the University of Arizona that provides a positive environment for tutoring, supplemental instruction, writing, and academic skills development where students master the skills to become life-long learners.

In April, Huff-Eibl and Teetor participated in a campus presentation highlighting the impact of the tech lending program and Think Tank. Access to technology disparities among University of Arizona students was the focus of their presentation.

In their article, Huff-Eibl and Teetor included stories from University of Arizona students who shared their personal experiences with equipment and technology: 

  • A junior majoring in microbiology—who was [also] Hispanic, first-generation, and a Pell recipient—said, “I was homeless for over a year (first 3 semesters). I did not always have access to Wi-Fi. I borrowed technology multiple times to help me complete and even attend class. As a nontraditional student, I also have to work and provide for my family. Having access to the Wi-Fi and laptop allowed me to continue engaging in my courses and studying.”
  • A junior majoring in film and television, who is Black, first-generation, and a Pell recipient, said, “As a fine art student, equipment are expensive, so borrowing technology from the school has saved me money and also exposed me to equipment that I may get in the future.”
  • A senior, first-generation biochemistry major who identified as American Indian or Alaska Native reported, “The laptop that I have had since high school not only is rapidly becoming outdated with advancing technology, but has also broken in multiple ways. Being able to rent out a library laptop has really saved me in regards to being a student. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to rent out and learn how to use new technology that I never would have been able to afford myself, such as an iPad, that will give me a better edge going into the workforce.”

The Rhonda G. Tubbs Tech Toolshed and Think Tank are among many services and resources in the 9-acre Student Success District located in the center of the university main campus.

Related news: University Libraries' Equipment Lending Program receives 'Evidence Based Practice' designation (2/27/23)

About the AZ HSI Consortium

Launched in 2021, the AZ HSI Consortium seeks to:

  • Strengthen the individual and collective capacity of Arizona HSIs to intentionally support conditions necessary for Latinx student success in Arizona.
  • Bring together all HSIs across Arizona to develop a community of practice to engage collectively in professional development, support the exchange of evidence-based and culturally relevant practices, facilitate successful transfer of Latinx students to Arizona universities.
  • Collaborate across HSIs when seeking funding opportunities and other important partnerships.