5.16.2 Technical Support – Colleges, Administrative and Student Service Units

Background

The current nature of technical support on campus needs to be defined so that SCSU can plan and develop a coordinated technical support infrastructure for SCSU within the next five years. This planning must address how to ensure responsive, comprehensive, up-to-date, and discipline-sensitive technical support for various units across campus. Planning also must take into consideration compliance with appropriate use standards.

Technologists provide valuable services to students, faculty, staff, and administration. Specifically, they work directly with users on particular projects and problems and are generally assigned to college or administrative units. This structure ensures that technologists develop a greater understanding of the technology environment of the people they support. Additionally, each college/administrative unit technologist spends part of the week (approximately 3-4 hours) at the Miller Center HelpDesk. This contact with university-wide support staff provides a wider perspective of technology advances and challenges across campus and enables these individuals to facilitate a high level of communications about current and evolving technology across campus. Finally, technologists provide leadership and coordination to ensure that various users' technology needs are met.

Currently, full-time college technicians are assigned in the Colleges of Business (COB), Education (COE), and Fine Arts/Humanities (COFAH). A half-time technologist is assigned in the College of Social Sciences (COSS), and the College of Science and Engineering (COSE) does not have a college technologist although some departments within COSE have technologists. Some departments in the COSE have little if any technical support other than the HelpDesk. This lack of technical support has lead to a number of problems, particularly for COSE computer labs. The anticipated expanded demand for Geographical Information Systems (GIS) software across campus may require increased technical support, and it’s likely that the current level of support in some colleges with full-time technologists is still insufficient. In addition to these needs within the colleges, Student Life and Development has requested full-time technical support. Other administrative units might benefit from more locally assigned technical support too. Although additional staffing may seem costly, additional technical support strategically placed can actually reduce downtime and save money.

An additional area of concern is legal use of software and hardware. Technologists have varying levels of understanding and training in the areas of quality assurance and compliance with copyright and appropriate use policies. Since the institution is held to legal standards, technologists must be trained to maintain standards of appropriate use of technology across campus and in their assigned units.

Goals

The following goals provide a framework for evaluating the needs and efficacy of assigning technologists to colleges and administrative units. Annual review is part of the process, but a final evaluation will be completed in five years.

  • A campus-wide audit of technology support needs will identify college, administrative, and student service units that are under-supported and review the collaborative reporting model.
  • Each of the five colleges will have sufficient full-time technical support person to meet user needs based on the technology audit.
  • Based upon the audit, the Provost will identify and assign appropriate funding for hiring technologists and supporting current and newly hired positions (including salary, equipment, other resources, and ongoing training of staff).

Specific Actions and Timeline

By the end of September 2003, the Provost will establish a committee that includes representatives of all stakeholders, including the Dean of LR&TS and Director of CIS-AdC, to evaluate the technology support needs in college, administrative, and student service units. The committee will adhere to the following schedule rather than the standard timeline for carrying out and reporting on specific actions:
  • Based upon the audit, the Dean of LR&TS and the Director of CIS-AdC will establish unit priorities and a timeline for hiring new technologists. They will also evaluate and establish a framework to ensure timely and adequate training of current and newly hired technologists.
  • By March 15, 2004, the Dean of LR&TS and the Director of CIS-AdC will report to the TLTR, who will review the report and offer implementation suggestions.
  • After review by the TLTR, the Dean of LR&TS and the Director of CIS-AdC will forward recommendations to the Provost by April 15, 2004.
  • In consultation with the Dean of LR&TS and affected college deans and/or appropriate supervisors in administrative units, the Provost will assign appropriate funding for hiring and training as well as adequate resources for current and newly hired technologists.
  • By August 15, 2004, the first position(s) will be filled and individuals trained. Additional positions will be filled based on funding to ensure newly hired technologists are on duty by August 15th of each subsequent year.
  • The process of filling the identified positions should be completed by August 15, 2007.
  • During the 2007/2008 academic year, the committee will conduct a follow-up audit of technology support to assess the model of college/administrative technologist. By March 15, 2008, the committee will provide a report to the Dean of LR&TS, the Director of CIS-AdC, other college deans, and supervisors of administrative units employing technologists.
  • By April 15, 2008, the deans and supervisors will evaluate the report and submit a final report to the Provost with future recommendations for technology support.

Resources

The process outlined above will allow the university to determine the number of technologists needed to provide effective technology support to all units. The costs listed below are per position for salary, benefits, equipment, and training. Additional staff training will be an ongoing cost and will be scaled based on the number of positions.

Per staff costs in 2002/2003 dollars (which should be adjusted for inflation):

Full-time position $52,000
Annual training of current/new staff – annualized 4,000

Evaluation

  • Has the initial audit been completed and the results and recommendations forwarded to TLTR, the Dean of LR&TS, the Director of CIS-AdC, and the Provost?
  • Has the Provost assigned appropriate funding for hiring, training, and equipping current and newly hired technologists?
  • Have the recommended technologists been hired and trained?
  • Has the follow-up audit of technology support been completed, including assessment of the model of college/administrative technologists? Have recommendations regarding technology support been made based upon this audit and forwarded to the Provost?

Revised: May 2003