Unit Profile: Information Technology Group
December 19, 2013
Western Engineering’s Information Technology Group is a team of dedicated IT experts working directly in the Faculty of Engineering at Western. Not all faculties on campus have a dedicated group of information technology staff. Western Engineering benefits from this model as faculty, staff, and students have available to them on-site assistance for computers, web, classroom technology support, and more. Western University also benefits from this model as the ITG team members investigate opportunities and implement solutions to meet Engineering's needs that may also be applied elsewhere across campus.
"The Faculty of Engineering is fortunate to have its in-house IT Group,” says Luiz Capretz, Western Engineering’s Assistant Dean (IT and e-Learning). “This decentralized model allows our IT specialists to work closely with users and they are at the frontline to provide the best support possible for faculty, staff, and students. The IT Group strives to meet the operational needs and expectations of the Western Engineering community."
Craig Reed, Western Engineering’s Associate Director (Information Technology) further explains, “Western Engineering’s Information Technology Group is a team that lives in Engineering. We are onsite to provide first point of contact services for faculty, staff and students.”
For this reason, members of Western Engineering are encouraged to contact ITG first with their service requests and inquiries.
“Our staff have knowledge of engineering specific systems to support faculty members instructional needs,” explains Reed. “Members of Western Engineering should contact our area first with their technology-related requests. If their inquiry is something for ITS, or another unit on campus, we will point our colleagues in the right direction.”
Reed further explains how ITG does not work in isolation. “We work with ITS and others on a number of projects and participate in a number of working groups and university level committees.”
Working together, ITG and ITS are able to provide Western Engineering faculty, staff and students with assistance for their specific information technology needs in support of Engineering's academic, administrative, and research needs.
Over the past year, ITG has been involved in numerous initiatives and we are proud of these accomplishments in keeping Engineering current with technology. Examples include:
- Support of e-Learning initiatives. Working with faculty members to incorporate various technologies into their course delivery.
- Investigation in, and implementation of, a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) computer lab in TEB 454. Work continues in testing the VDI environment to gauge its ability to support more of Engineering's computational and graphics-intensive applications. VDI may also be an enabler for a BYOD strategy.
- Migration of many of Engineering's web sites into Western's new brand/web format utilizing the Cascade Content Management System (CMS). This project has consumed significant time and involved many faculty and staff members across the Faculty. This project continues, as there are a number of sites still to be migrated.
- Investigation, and implementation or use of tools to support collaboration such as SharePoint and Blackboard Collaborate.
- Continued support of videoconference offerings to enable audio and video services to link remote participants in meetings, presentations, and classroom instruction. Work continues in the planning of additional facilities to support videoconference, and working with faculty members as they plan for connectivity with remote locales as part of their research projects.
- Rolling out Office 365 cloud services to Engineering. Watch your email as details of this service offering is on its way.
- Implementation of a virtual server environment and migration of aging physical servers to the new virtual servers. This effort is supporting the decommissioning and replacement of aging servers.
- Exploration of possible cost efficiencies related to software licensing by creating a software inventory and participating in various campus license agreement discussions.
How To Access Service From ITG
In 2010 Western Engineering established an I.T. Help Desk to improve IT support services and response times for faculty, staff and students. Last summer (2012) a new ticketing system, Zendesk, was implemented to assist with the tracking and managing of help requests.
“People seeking service get immediate response,” says Reed. “Over the years we have developed a knowledge base for our front line Help Desk staff to answer frequently asked questions quickly and efficiently.”
You can contact the I.T. Help Desk by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (519-661-2111 , ext. 88112) or in person (SEB 1010A). The I.T. Help Desk is open September to April between 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and May to August between 9:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and 12:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.
When the I.T. Help Desk receives questions they cannot address, they contact an ITG staff member for assistance. The ITG team consists of:
- Craig Reed, Associate Director
- Eric Daugavietis, Senior Applications Specialist
- James Dobravec, Systems Support Specialist – Web
- Joel Eckert, Desktop Support Specialist
- Tim Hunt, Senior Network Specialist - Unix Administrator
- Lyle McLean, Systems Support Specialist
- Lisa Vink, Systems Support Specialist
- Support for computer lab hardware and software
- Support for UNIX and Linux
- Network Administration
- Server Management (build, maintain, administer, backup, restore)
- Software License Management
- Engineering Computer User Accounts (create/disable, password reset)
- Desktop Support (hardware, software)
- Purchasing (hardware, software, services)
- Virtualization (servers, desktop)
- User Support
- System Backup
- Mobile Devices
- Web Services, Design, Development
- Cascade CMS
- Email/Calendar Support
- Wireless network connectivity
- Mailing Lists
- Cloud Computing
The IT Group's website may be found at: www.eng.uwo.ca/itgroup/