Information Technology: Unsung Heroes of Our Web

Ryan, Duncan, and Paul of Information Technology stand beside an IT Customer Service plaque.
Jared Libby

We live in a day and age where technology is constantly evolving, forcing us to step up to the plate and match the next generation of digital integration in an ever-expanding field. The wizards over at TMCC’s Information Technology (IT) department know this all too well, adapting to support faculty, staff and students with a variety of applications. Behind the scenes, they’re busy tailoring code so that it functions on all platforms our community uses, be it on or off campus. They are the skeleton for the strand of interwoven web that keeps our sites running and our responses timely. Not to mention, they’re a hot commodity with employers right about now.

Bringing People Together

IT bridges all kinds of TMCC infrastructure that we really would be lost without. They provide assistance for Student Services, manage hardware and software, administer customer service, and deploy media systems at numerous events and in the classrooms. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though. They are also responsible for streamlining admissions applications, maintaining a smooth-running Canvas, and last, but not least, library, bookstore and class schedule functionality. These covert champions unsheathe their talents not in the form of a sword, but through a mouse and keyboard.

Did you know that over 1,100 administrative computers are utilized by staff and faculty on a daily basis, and for our students that number is 1,600? IT oversees the purchase, maintenance, and troubleshooting problems with all of the computers belonging to the college. Security is paramount across all departments, ensuring safe protocols are in place for PeopleSoft, email, and the network. 700 security access requests are responded to annually, as well as 3,500 service tickets on average per year. They’re at the front lines when it comes to cybersecurity and internet safety, stopping phishing attempts in their tracks consistently.

Cheryl Jones, Director of Institutional Research, and currently Interim Director of Information Technology, brings a unique perspective from these two related fields as she works with the IT staff every day.

“If students are taking online classes, there’s a whole WebCollege area for them and IT supports this area as well. Support for students is part of the IT mission, from password resets, to help when your computer’s not working. We have all kinds of specialists in IT. Everything from a Mac expert to someone who knows iPhones or just regular operating systems. There is also support for students in other ways, like the loaner laptop program, or Wi-Fi hotspots for those who need them. We can help with almost anything that students bring to us. Our doors are open,” Jones said.

“Some of the IT operation areas, like customer service and media services, you’ll spot these folks all over the place,” Jones continued. “Other areas, like server, network, and programming are totally under the radar. You just hardly ever see these guys at work. We are also ‘back office’ as we support our technology infrastructure: every classroom has at least one computer, projector, whiteboard, and a teacher’s station in it. Maintenance of all of these items happens every year over instructional breaks when everyone is gone. Teachers and students alike expect the equipment to work and be available when they come to class, and we make sure that happens.”

Over the course of a year, over 150 events will require help from Media Services. They are also responsible for all Audio/Visual equipment found in the classroom. Distribution, maintenance, and replacement of equipment all fall under their expertise. If you’re impressed by their wide range of skills, then you’ll be thrilled to learn of the opportunities available in this sizzling industry.

Changing the World With Technology

If you find this type of career interesting, TMCC offers several programs to help you become a technical expert in this popular arena, and with the growth of the cybersecurity field, the number of careers will only continue to multiply.

Here at TMCC, our IT folks are making several quality-of-life upgrades across campuses this year. There are projects all the time that have, at their core, the idea that they must serve students, faculty, and staff better. Some things go unseen, like projects to increase the speed and protection around our Wi-Fi system and to establish more Wi-Fi access points for convenience. Other things are more high-profile.

“We received an Innovation Grant from the TMCC Foundation to pilot some IT kiosks. This Spring we will be putting them at the Meadowood and William N. Pennington Applied Technology Centers. It’s a space where, if students are at Meadowood Center, for example, and need our support, they can walk over, set their computer down, and easily contact our Customer Service help desk in the Red Mountain Building on the Dandini Campus, who can then remote in and lend a hand. This’ll be a little more high-tech type of support than we have had in the past,” Jones said.

Whatever your situation may be, the aces over in IT will take care of you. Next time you’re in their office or on the phone with them, be sure to show some appreciation for all they do!

For more information, please visit the Information Technology website or call 775-673-7800.