Technology and Computing Services said goodbye to two of its staffers last Friday. About 30 people attended the joint retirement reception for Nancy England and Kay Shireman, who have a combined 62 years of service at TCS.
“I’m here because the people who support faculty are some of the most important people on campus,” said Deborah Gerish, associate professor of social sciences, at the reception. “Kay and Nancy are the people who have always been there when I needed help. I needed it fast, and sometimes I didn’t even know what I needed exactly, but they could figure out what my problem was and help me solve it.”
England said she has mainly worked with IDL support, Zoomerang Surveys, Channel 8 support and course evaluations. Shireman said she has worked with blackboard and web conferencing.
With their retirement there are three staff members remaining in the Academic Technology office.
“We are going to be short of people,” said Rob Gibson, director of Academic Technology for TCS. “We can’t refill these two positions because of the state requirement, so we’ll have to wait.”
Gerish said she has worked with Shireman on blackboard for four years. She said when she saw the message that Shireman was leaving, she had a “sad puppy face.”
Gerish said that last week she had an issue with a class podcast. She immediately went to Shireman for help. Shireman assisted Gerish but also made her do the process herself to learn.
“That is exactly what I needed,” Gerish said. “Any technology expert can say ‘let me just do it for you,’ but that doesn’t provide a long-term solution. What Shireman did is smart service – that’s efficient. It’s useful and it makes me feel more confident that I can solve these problems by just getting help once.”
But Gerish said she is happy that England and Shireman will get to enjoy life without her calling for help “every five minutes.”
At the reception, England and Shireman also talked about their favorite memories of ESU, one of which was in 1979, two years before ESU had online enrollment.
“You would stand in line all day, waiting to, hopefully, get a seat in a class,” England said. “If by the time you got to the beginning of the line, if the cards were all gone, you didn’t get the class. So then you have to go stand in another line, to try to get a card for class. So when we first started doing online enrollment, (the students) were thrilled.”
Gibson said the office will have to find other solutions or get rid of a lot of services that England and Shireman used to help support, like test scanning, teacher evaluation and some of the digital signage.
“We are going to have to let those services go,” Gibson said, “and we are going to try not to have too much impact (for students and faculty) if possible. So that’s our goal, to reduce that.”