5.16.1 Technology Support - HelpDesks - Teaching, Learning, Technology Roundtable - St. Cloud State University

5.16.1 Technology Support - HelpDesks


Coordination and support for the various HelpDesks on campus need to be evaluated so that SCSU can ensure sufficient staff and resources to provide optimum effectiveness for the various HelpDesks on campus.

Five HelpDesks on campus and one off campus provide services to various users. Most users are familiar with the Miller Center HelpDesk, which provides campus-wide software and hardware support. The Reference Desk (also in the Miller Center) helps users locate and acquire information and answers numerous technology related questions. The Open Computer Lab HelpDesk on Miller Center second floor (commonly referred to as MC 201), assists students and faculty working in the open lab — and those in adjoining computer classrooms — with software and hardware in those spaces. The ResNet HelpDesk provides student support services relative to Internet connections.

Service Area Hours per wk Staffed by Audience
MC HelpDesk 77 Staff and students Students, faculty, staff, and community members
Reference Desk 76 Faculty Students, faculty, staff, and community members
ResNet 69 Students Students in the residence halls
Miller Center Computer Lab Desk 93 Students and
Faculty/GA roving
Students, faculty, and staff
CIS-AdC HelpDesk 43 Staff Administrative and student service staff

Additionally, the Center for Information Systems, also known as administrative computer services (CIS-AdC), provides a HelpDesk and two full time technologists to support administrative and student service areas of the campus. Finally, an ISRS/MnSCU HelpDesk, representing a system-wide resource, is available off campus and funded by the Chancellor's office. In other words, the various HelpDesks fulfill specific service needs, and the interactions among these units facilitate coordination — enabling staff to resolve user problems, answer questions, and identify reoccurring concerns that can lead to development of services and training to address user needs.

The operations of these various HelpDesks should be evaluated. Evaluation should include (but may not be limited to) scope of service provided by each HelpDesk, delivery of services, service hours, staffing resources, staff training, user satisfaction, communication within each HelpDesk unit, communication among HelpDesk units, and communication to users of services available. (See 5.7 Communication about Technology.)


  • Evaluate the operations of each HelpDesk
  • Determine optimum staffing and operations for each HelpDesk, including
    • scope of services provided
    • service hours
    • use of student workers
    • training for all employees
    • coordination among HelpDesks
    • interaction among campus technologists
    • delivery of support
    • technology upgrades
    • new technology applications to enhance support
  • Allocate resources to accomplish optimum staffing and operations for each HelpDesk
  • Evaluate current user satisfaction procedures and update or refine if necessary
  • Establish continuous quality assurance procedures for technologist training and user satisfaction

Specific Actions and Timeline

TLTR will establish a committee to evaluate HelpDesks across campus. This committee will be composed of staff from the HelpDesks and various users.
  • The committee will follow the standard timeline (see 5.0) for carrying out and reporting on specific actions.
  • The committee will determine the "current" state of training, support and barriers to delivery of services and report their findings in a work plan to TLTR, the Dean of LR&TS, and the Director of CIS-AdC. Multiple approaches to information collection are recommended: some examples are open forums for HelpDesk staff, users and both; focus groups with staff, users and both; online surveys of staff and users’ needs and problems.
  • After consultation with TLTR on the committee work plan, the Dean of LR&TS and the Director of CIS-AdC will establish unit priorities and a timeline for implementing them. These might include hiring, continuous technologist training, HelpDesk coordination, acquisition of new technology for newly hired and current technologists, or other strategies that will allow the various HelpDesks to continue providing excellent service.
  • As needed, the Dean of LR&TS and the Director of CIS-AdC will report progress on the work plan to TLTR and re-evaluate. On an annual basis, the Dean of LR&TS and the Director of CIS-AdC will review progress with the Provost and determine resources necessary for the next academic year.
  • During 2007/2008, the committee will submit a final report and recommendation for the next cycle of technology based on the standard timeline.


The cost to implement coordinated training, support, and a service evaluation plan will need to be determined by HelpDesk staff with input from users. At this time, it would be unwise to provide specific resource needs, either in personnel or supplies/equipment, until an analysis of needs has been completed.

Below are the current personnel costs as a guide for that component of requested resources.
Per staff costs in 2002/2003 dollars (which should be adjusted for inflation):

Full-time position $52,000
Annual staff training – annualized (est.) 4,000


  • Has the committee developed an evaluation process and used it to make recommendation?
  • Have administrative personnel read and responded to the committee’s recommendations and facilitated implementation?
  • Has training, coordination and user satisfaction improved over the past five years?
  • Has the process outlined by the Master Plan been effective in accomplishing improvements in technology support? If not, what recommendation would committee and/or Administrative personnel make for the next Master plan?
  • Has the committee submitted a final report to TLTR in the spring of 2008?

Revised: May 2003