Fairfield University's Information Technology Services (ITS) department recognized nationally as "Model of Efficiency" by University Business magazine


Image: ITS awardFairfield University's Information Technology Services (ITS) department has been recognized nationally as a "Model of Efficiency" by University Business magazine in its summer 2014 issue. With this award, Fairfield University joins one of nine colleges and universities nationwide acknowledged for using innovative approaches in streamlining higher education operations through technology and/or business process improvements.

"A primary focus of Fairfield University's ITS department is improving the overall technology landscape on campus," said Paige Francis, Fairfield University CIO. "For our students to excel and remain competitive, the relationship between technology, higher education and education itself needs to be seamless. This award validates Fairfield University's efforts and demonstrates that we are on track to becoming one of the leaders in this area."

Fairfield's award centered on addressing the efficiency of the university's technology help desk which had historically existed without a training/professional development department and was not centrally located. Reference librarians and circulation desk staff would often be required to field technology questions - nearly 750 related to wireless, printing, software/hardware issues within a three-month period alone. And this represented approximately 20% of its total contacts every semester, causing library staff to be fettered by IT. Students also were in need of refreshers or even introductions to basics required in class - like Excel and PowerPoint.

To improve efficiency, Fairfield's ITS department, over the course of summer 2013, completely relocated its technology help desk, under new leadership by Marie Ernye. Newly coined and marketed as 'ITS4U,' the help desk moved to the DiMenna-Nyselius Library, a prime real estate spot on campus, on the library's main floor with identifiable signage and a staff of students always ready to help. In addition to continuing with its regular duties, this relocation offered opportunities for other improvements - ITS would be able to assist with basic software training for students, quick tip printouts for students, management of the WEPA student printing system which freed up a significant amount of library time, and the handling of technologies managed by other departments, all to better serve Fairfield's students, faculty and staff. In January 2014, Fairfield also purchased a site license for Lynda.com, which provided access to video training on a wide range of software programs and applications. These included programs such as Excel, Java and Word for Mac. During the first three months of access, 1,268 members of the campus community used Lynda, with 78% being students, viewing 501 hours or 7,681 videos.

"Thanks to Lynda's training videos, technology support staff can now answer true support questions," said Francis. "Support staff members are more available and visible, the help desk is now more easily accessible by students, and we have newly introduced policies and procedures regarding handling support requests. We are saving money by reducing the number of staff hours, a direct result of consolidation of duties, more efficient online and at-desk information and overall better campus technology service and systems. Salary savings alone total $30,000 annually. The overall feel of technology satisfaction has increased from faculty, staff and students."

In addition to Fairfield University, summer 2014 "Models of Efficiency" honorees include: Madison College (Wis.); Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Fla.): Western Michigan University; Pepperdine University (Calif.); Illinois Institute of Technology; Drexel University (Pa.); Houston Community College (Texas); and The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

University Business is a leading publication for senior managers at colleges and universities throughout the United States, reaching 75,000 leaders who manage enrollment, technology, business, finance, facilities and academic affairs. More information is available at www.universitybusiness.com. "Models of Efficiency" is an ongoing recognition program sponsored by Higher One, a leader in providing financial services and data analytics to colleges and universities across the U.S. More information about Higher One can be found at www.higherone.com.

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Media Contact: Mike Horyczun, (203) 254-4000 ext. 2647, mhoryczun@fairfield.edu

Posted on August 1, 2014

Vol. 47, No. 15