ITS understaffed

An ITS worker helps student with phone issues. Photo by Maddie Malat.

Downed printers, connection problems and email troubles have plagued students since the days of orientation. Several frustrated students have to wonder: why all the problems?

This year, Information Technology Services has been struggling with a shortage of staff members. With so few members on their staff, many problems cannot be addressed quickly.

Luke Papenfuss, Assistant Student Manager at ITS, said, “Generally, we lose somewhere between two and four people at graduation, so we don’t have quite as many staff members at the beginning of the next school year, but it normally isn’t a problem.”

“Due to the fact that this year not only do we have seven student workers gone, but also a full-time technician, so it has caused a few issues,” Papenfuss added.

Mark Switajski, a student worker at ITS, said, “Being understaffed causes the obvious problems.” With fewer staff members they can only help so many students per day and it’s “first come first serve.”

“The turnover rate is also a lot slower with less staff which can be a pain for college students,” Switajski said. “The quality isn’t any less but the speed is much slower.”

Bruce Vieweg, associate vice president/chief information officer, points out the magnitude of the shortage.

“We have some hours during the day when there is only one student in the Center,” Vieweg said.

At the start of the year ITS was overflowing with students, especially freshmen, asking for help with connecting the wi-fi and printer. Now, according to Papenfuss, on average ITS helps around 50 students per week, but it often varies.

“We just finished up interviews and have extended job offers to five students,” Papenfuss said. But ITS still needs a full-time technician. The new student workers will be able to help with some of the shortage problems but without filling the full-time technician spot, there will still be a large hole in ITS’s staff.

“I would like for them to see us as a resource, a service and as a support to their technical computing and software needs,” Vieweg said.

Both Switajski and Papenfuss agree that most students come in for help with the school wi-fi or viruses on personal computers, which they are happy to help with.

Along with wi-fi and virus issues, ITS can assist students with software updates and cell phones.

On the other hand, ITS cannot help with data recovery, hardware replacement or repair and OS installment.

But all questions are welcome at ITS; if they cannot fix the problem, they will refer you to someone in the area who can.

According to Switajski, ITS also helps with a lot of behind the scenes work such as maintaining printers.

If your lab computers, printers or wi-fi routers break down, ITS can fix it. But Papenfuss says that students need to notify ITS in order to get help.

Papenfuss said ITS is thinking of ways to promote exposure to the entire student body.

Vieweg said, “The best method is word of mouth; student to student.”

Another way incoming students were informed of ITS was during orientation week, when orientation leaders brought their clubs directly to the Center, where they were informed of the services provided.

A great resource many students are not aware of is ITS’s website, ITS is located in the Frances Frazier Comstock Theatre and is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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