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LCSC Units Consolidate in
The idea has been around for years and in planning stages
for the past 6 months, but on July 1st it becomes reality: Three major
technology-related units on campus will consolidate into one entity. Those
three groups--the current Information Technology (IT) Department, the
Educational Technology Center (ETC), and the technology components of
Extended Programs (EP) will combine to become the new Information Technology
Carmen Rahm, LCSC’s Chief Technology Officer and the Director of the new
consolidated IT Department, remarked on the action: “While the current
budget climate is certainly one justification for consolidation, the real
rationale for the groups to join together is much simpler,” Rahm said. “It
makes great sense and it’s the right thing to do for the college.”
With the new structure implemented, he believes the group will be able to
provide better service to faculty, staff and students while maintaining or
even lowering operating costs.
He sees the consolidation as much more than just placing three existing
groups under the same management. A lot of time, effort and deliberation
went into the decisions. “We started with a blank sheet of paper and
identified what every employee did and who their ‘customers’ were. Then we
looked at information gathered from interviewing employees involved in the
consolidation and feedback received via customer interviews. We combined
that information to come up with a plan for a solid organization that
eliminates previous inefficiencies and creates economies of scale.”
Collecting information from technology users around campus was a big part of
the process, Rahm said, “I’m a big believer in MBWA (Management by Walking
Around) and, during my first months on the job, I asked everyone who would
meet with me what they thought. Most were more than happy to tell me.”
Offering examples, he said, “I was asked by several faculty members why some
computers in the classrooms were supported by IT and others by ETC; why most
monitors that ‘shine in your face’ were supported by IT, but the monitors
that ‘shine on the wall’ were supported by a different group…. Or why the
technology in some classrooms was supported by the Ed Tech Center—which had
a video component, but the video conferencing classrooms were supported by
Rahm and other planners felt there were few good answers to these questions
and began to look at consolidation as a way to reduce duplications and
meandering authorities and responsibilities. The concept also presented
options to improve communication and make services more readily available to
the campus community.
Rahm pointed out another important benefit: Consolidation provides more
opportunities for cross training and backups for key positions. “For
example: In Extended Programs, a single technician supported the numerous
outreach centers around the area. If he was busy with the Elk City center,
an emergency situation in Orofino had to wait.” Rahm said, with the new
consolidation scenario, other technicians could be dispatched to support
Orofino—and likewise, the first technician could be available to assist in
supporting the main campus at other times.
“Everyone wins in a situation like this,” he said.
While the plan for consolidation was the work of many people, Rahm
identified Kathy Martin of Extended Programs and Dave Taylor of the Ed Tech
Center as key elements in making it happen. He also applauded Dr. Rita
Morris, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs—who was a driving
force behind the effort—for her vital support and guidance. “Rita was the
one we bounced ideas off of. She kept us in the ballgame and let us know
when we were approaching foul territory.”
As director of the new department, Rahm has identified several major goals
for the fiscal year 2003. Following “seamless and professional consolidation
of the ETC, IT, and EP technology groups resulting in a single technology
center for the college,” Rahm plans to reduce or maintain overall technology
support costs while increasing the level of service provided. Some of the
efforts already underway include:
• Filling the former ETC Director position, now called the Associate
Director of Media Services.
• Updating the IT Long Range Plan, Disaster Recovery Plan and other related
policies and procedures to include the new responsibilities.
• Implementing cost accounting/work management tools to track work and
assure users (internal and external to the campus) receive the full support
they are paying for.
• Centralization of the IT Help Desk to handle all areas of service,
including the traditional IT calls as well as calls for classroom technology
support, IVC support requests and others.
• Expansion of key customer feedback channels so IT can measure progress and
make course adjustments as needed.
• Consolidation of the various technology web sites so that customers and IT
staff have a single place to go for support, information and other IT
• Implementation of new reporting structures, along with updated and
accurate performance standards for all employees.
Rahm invites everyone to stay tuned for upcoming developments and visit the
IT web site for helpful information any time.