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April 3, 2014

Pitt honored for tech support improvements

Pitt was one of eight colleges and universities honored by University Business magazine in its spring 2014 national “models of efficiency” program, which recognizes innovative approaches for streamlining higher education operations through technology and/or business process improvements.

Tim Goral, senior editor of University Business, said: “As the expression goes, it’s all about the location, and for the University of Pittsburgh, the location of its tech support center made all the difference in its ability to service students. Even better, there were no capital expenses.”

Despite 24/7 Help Desk availability and in-person technical consulting, Computing Services and Systems Development (CSSD) believed its services were being underutilized. They thought they knew why: Although walk-in consulting was available at some locations, appointments were required for service but were not always available on the same day; students had to remain with their hardware while it was being serviced, and commuters had problems finding the room where their computers would be worked on.

The new University Store on Fifth now houses a walk-in technology support location where students, faculty and staff can receive a variety of technical services without an appointment. Hardware repair also is offered, and students do not need to stay with their equipment while it is being serviced. A similar support area was set up in the Litchfield Towers residence halls lobby. Both locations also serve as software distribution centers.

Usage is up. In fall 2013, CSSD provided support to 4,452 students, nearly double the number it supported in fall 2012.

The “models of efficiency” program is sponsored by Higher One, which offers a wide array of technological services to help colleges and universities lower their administrative costs and improve graduation rates.