In order to advance Centre College’s innovative use of technology in a liberal arts educational environment, Information Technology Services (ITS) has made significant strides toward increasing its campus engagement, accessibility and efficiency. Under the leadership of Keith Fowlkes (pictured right), director of ITS and chief information officer, the department has made customer service its top priority.
“We see our students, faculty and staff as our customers, and we work as hard as possible to meet their needs,” says Fowlkes. “Everything we do in ITS is geared to serve the campus community: our online services, our staff and our facilities.”
Enhancing customer service is the primary motivation behind renovations to the first floor of McReynolds Hall, where ITS is located. This past spring, ITS unveiled a new Technology Support Center (pictured above), where visitors can bring their equipment, mobile devices and questions to the technology support staff. The center offers computer and mobile device configuration support, personal computer virus and malware assistance, personal computer purchase consultations and much more.
“We needed a central place on campus equipped with trained staff that could take walk-in customers needing technology support, training and consultations,” says Fowlkes. “This renovation allows us to better welcome visitors with technology problems and give them a warm and inviting physical space to get help.”
Thanks to the new support center, ITS has seen a notable increase in campus members who visit the department with issues or questions. Prior to the opening of the support center, ITS averaged about three customers a day; now the department sees an average of 10-15 or more a day.
In addition to the Technology Support Center, ITS has built a new datacenter facility to safely store core server systems and network equipment in a dry, environmentally controlled area that includes state-of-the-art power, air conditioning and fire suppression.
According to Fowlkes, this renovation is the first in a three-phase project intended to increase the accessibility of all members of the ITS staff, not just its support services. Future plans involve updating the offices closest to the support center and a larger-scale remodeling of McReynolds’ north wing, which houses many of ITS’s senior staff and has not undergone remodeling since it was used as a residence hall.
Beyond improving its facilities, ITS has effectively streamlined its customer support operations across the board. With the help of a new Helpdesk support call tracking system, ITS successfully closed 3,446 support calls over the course of the 2013-14 academic year, troubleshooting issues with computers, mobile devices, software, network connections, printing, logins, the College internal portal Centrenet and more.
ITS has also honed Centrenet’s functionality as a portal, and further improvements are in progress. The addition of the “LaunchPad” icons on the home page of Centrenet provide easier navigation and login to the most popular systems for campus communications, academic work, scheduling and reservations. The department’s goal is to make Centrenet the single source for information for the internal campus community.
Fowlkes notes that members of the Centre community should not hesitate to contact ITS with any and all issues, questions or concerns and are available through a range of outlets: by phone at 859.238.5575; by email at firstname.lastname@example.org; via online chat on Centrenet during regular business hours; or by visiting the Technology Support Center, which has new extended hours, Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Ultimately, the ITS staff is committed to providing strategic technology services that will most effectively advance the mission of the College, and they strive to equip students with access to the best technology for lifelong learning.
“In the larger picture for Centre College, it is obvious that the effective use of information and creative use of technology are major keys to a strong future for our students and for our institution,” says Fowlkes.
by Caitlan Cole
Oct. 8, 2014