Brigham Young University-Idaho has a brand-new addition to its robust campus-the newly formed Academic Technology Services Department. This new area was created to establish a first-class customer service base, a one-stop shop students and faculty can turn to for all of their academically related technology needs.
"We want to be efficient," said Fenton Broadhead, Academic vice president "We want faculty to see this new department as an asset to them, a polished machine that runs like a very good business."
Previously, for example, faculty would need to call one department for help with online learning tools, another for help with a classroom video shoot, and another for help using a classroom projector. Now, they can turn to just one department, whether they have a burnt-out light bulb or need high-level technical support.
Among the department's many objectives, the main ones are to: 1) provide an integrated one-stop-shop for all academic technology related issues; 2) provide strategic direction for all campus technology applications, initiatives and support services; 3) build partnerships with other campus departments; and 4) advocate on behalf of faculty and students in campus matters related to teaching and learning with technology.
Part of what makes this all possible is the department's unique organization. Rather than following the traditional structure of housing the department under one main parent area, it is housed under two-Academics and Information Technology.
"We wanted to create an atmosphere where both IT and Academics work as a team and are equally invested in academic technology issues," said Vice President Broadhead. "Organizing the department in this way will provide resources to faculty in a more user-friendly manner and will increase efficiency."
The Academic Technology Services Department is directed by Kent Barrus, formerly director of Career & Academic Advising, and has four working groups:
• A/V Support (led by Keland Draney): provide support for classroom technology, video conferencing, smart boards, photography, classroom video shoots
• Technology Consulting & Training (led by Arlen Wilcock): maintain technology centers, consult with and train faculty in the use of classroom technologies, develop instructional materials, train the Help Desk
• Academic Applications (led by Steve Hancock): research and implement new technologies, (podcasts, wikis, e-books, etc.), I-Learn level 2 support
• Help Desk (led by Paul Jeppson): student and faculty troubleshooting services, provide one-stop-shop support, support laptop initiative, I-Learn level 1 support
In the past, three of these four working groups were housed under IT, and one was housed under Academics. Now, all four groups will work as a team to provide academic technology resources more efficiently.
Generally, faculty and students should see an increase in the overall quality of service as they go to just one place for their needs. The department has been designed so faculty and students can receive accurate information and assistance with their technology related projects in a timely manner.
"One of our main goals is to act as a ‘partner' with the faculty and students. We're here to help them in the most effective and efficient way possible," said Barrus.