Just about every movie that depicts an IT department seems to follow the same stereotype: basement dwellers, clusters of CAT-5 cable strewn out like spaghetti, and dark creaky hallways. In the case of Newman University Academic Computing, the team seems to embrace that stereotype.
When a student is having trouble with email or a faculty member’s printer gets a “PC Load Letter” error, the Administrative Computing team are the first responders to the scene. Armed with a computer terminal and fueled with day-old donuts, they will likely find the problem and have it fixed in no time.
Aside from normal day-to-day support related issues, the majority of their work consists of much larger projects. Technology is constantly evolving and keeping up with those changes is a daunting task. Newman University Chief Information Officer Icer Vaughan leads the Administrative Computing team into the future of Newman’s technology infrastructure.
“You have to keep going,” said Vaughan.
In 2015 Vaughan was a recipient of the Wichita Business Journal’s award for Wichita’s Top CIOs. Vaughan assumed the role of CIO at Newman University in 2011. At that time, the wireless technology infrastructure was already outdated. Over the past year, Administrative Computing made significant improvements on wireless connectivity and expansion availability on campus.
“That was a big achievement for me,” said Vaughan. “We’re here to serve the students; to give them the tools they need to complete their education.”
The Administrative Computing team is currently in the process of upgrading its computers - mostly those used by students in the library and computer labs. Those computers run on power provided by a central server, also referred to as a thin client network. Such a network is cost-effective because each computer does not require the processing power of a traditional computer. The upgrade consists of replacing old hard drives with new solid state hard drives that will allow the computers to operate much more smoothly.
The success of the department doesn’t rest on one person, it takes a group of skilled people who work effectively together. Vaughan gives the credit to his team:
“Mark always stays and gets the job done. Sonja Vogt takes a very dedicated interest in her student workers and students in general trying to take care of their requests in a timely manner. And the unsung heroes - Diane Cotter and Michael Mooney.”
Sonja Vogt, Help Desk and Technology Classroom coordinator, leads the Student Help Desk located in the Dugan Library. She recently held an appreciation dinner for the hard-working student workers at her home. The Help Desk answers university phone calls, assists students with setting up their online accounts and email, and many other technology-related tasks.
Administrative Computing staff also include Administrative Assistant Jessie Smith, Desktop Support Specialist Kelly McCarthy, ITV Manager and Tech Line Coordinator Harry Sherbet, and Telecommunications Specialist Mary Greier.
Newman University Network Administrator Mark Graber believes that Newman is set up for success years into the future. However, being able to predict what is going to happen in the next year is always a challenge.
“Information Technology is fast evolving and changing constantly,” said Graber. “Sometimes it is best to plan ahead but sometimes you can’t see over that hill.”