Deans Of Duplication
Though college and university in-plants take on many different sizes, shapes and functions, the same basic issues affect them all.
Visit any two college or university in-plants and you're apt to encounter two remarkably different operations.
If you're in Seattle, walk into the University of Washington's vast in-plant, and you'll see big offset presses, high-speed digital printers and sophisticated mailing equipment all cranking away.
Stop into Philadelphia's Temple University, on the other hand, and you won't see any offset presses at all, just copiers.
Saunter down to Austin and you'll find two unaffiliated in-plants at the University of Texas: UT Copy Services and UT Printing.
Facilities also differ widely. Some in-plants have been stuffed into spare rooms, their growth inhibited by immovable walls. Others have managed to obtain whole buildings for their own use. Still others have opened satellite copy centers all over campus.
Despite their differing sizes, shapes and functions, though, college/university in-plants handle many similar issues: course packs, copyright permission, competing with off-campus quick printers and university politics, to name just a few.
In-plants also play an important role in attracting new students and donors, since the quality of their printed work reflects on the quality of their schools.
Most college in-plants have noticed a big increase in the demand for color printing over the past few years. This has sparked a need for updated equipment, and many in-plants say that obtaining funding for this equipment has become their biggest struggle.
"I've been trying for a number of years just to get a true two-color in here," remarks John Bowser of Miami University, in Oxford, Ohio. Justifying the cost of new equipment, he says, is a tough task. The viability of offset at the university has been challenged, and may be challenged again, he says.