This year is a rebuilding year. As I wrote about in my reorganization post in the summer, I have three new staff members in my department this year. We are physically spread all over the school, creating divisions that can negatively effect department cohesiveness if we do not stay in frequent contact.
To work around this, we’ve been meeting bi-weekly as a whole department. I meet daily with my Network Administration and Technical Support Specialist. I have also scheduled bi-weekly meetings with individual department members. I know, you’re saying, that’s a lot of meetings. But these meetings are critical to keeping things going. To check in and move projects forward. To know how my staff is feeling. As we grow more cohesive, I can see taking some time off of these meetings, but for now, they are critical.
In the support staff meetings, we have been digging through our network settings (active directory policies, Internet settings, and router and switch configs), desktop and laptop image creation and configuration, policies and procedures, and how to communicate with faculty and staff. These conversations allow us to share best practices. It allows us to know what our technical issues are and to wrestle with making decisions for next September.
In full department meetings, we started by discussing how we are communicating internally, what we have been doing over the semester, and which tools we will be rolling out to the academic community over the next year. We’ve used so many different technologies over the past few years, that keeping up is tough. So we created a list of the department blog, wiki, and our web help desk. We discussed how to use each one. We use these tools in our day to day work with the school and the department.
So is this and effective management technique?
In order to evaluate them, I need to look back to the goals of my department:
- To provide reliable and consistent access to technology for students, faculty, and staff
- To develop technology skills in students, faculty and staff that support the curricular goals of the school
If I measure us against those goals, we are definitely more prepared to support our faculty and staff. This is a slow process because we are going through all of our configurations with a fine tooth comb, but we’re fixing support issues that have been nagging us for years and we’re looking to the future for major improvements.
On the classroom integration front, I see progress in taking our more technology savvy faculty to the next level. We are also making progress in implementing student and faculty curriculum standards. We are building out our Intranet where we can support WordPress MU, Gallery, Moodle, and some group Drupal sites. We’ll be concentrating on how we use these tools in the spring.
How do you manage staff transitions?
How do you keep a dispersed department cohesive?