Chatham announces changes to IT to improve department


Students can seek IT-related help in Woodland Hall on Chatham’s Shadyside campus. Photo Credit: Abigail Hakas

Abigail Hakas

Chatham University’s Information Technology Services announced several big changes for 2022 in an email to students and faculty on Feb. 4.

As of this month, ITS will be renamed IT Support Services. This rebranding was the decision of Chatham’s Chief Information Officer Paul Steinhaus. Alongside the name change, the management has taken on new hires, including manager Paula Love, who previously was a tech at Chatham for four years. She will replace Andrew Kraus. 

Each campus will have one senior tech: Betsy Austin at Shadyside, Mark Briski at Eden Hall and Jeremy Young at East Side. Jason Lemon is another new tech at Shadyside. Leland Claus will join as a full-time AV in March. Until April, Josephine Friedman will be working as a part-time tech/AV. Finally, Craig Olear was hired as the manager of Technical Services/AV.

Olear is “going to mainly be here for the classroom. He will be going in and doing updates to the classrooms,” Love said, adding that he will be managing “any of the projectors, going in and possibly upgrading those and doing things to better the campus.” 

The ITS department currently has eight student workers and about 22 total staff members, according to Love. IT Support Services told students to expect more updates as the team grows and moves forward. 

These changes come on the heels of five days of tech issues that plagued both faculty and students. At 8:27 a.m. Jan. 28,  ITS sent out an email informing students that had gone down, meaning students would have to obtain a link to access Brightspace, their emails and Cayuse. This issue seemed to be resolved about two hours later at 10:56 a.m., according to an email from ITS, but both and went down the next day. 

At 11:17 a.m. Jan. 31, ITS sent an email stating that phones to financial aid, the help desk and student services were not working. Later that day, ITS sent two emails informing students that both sites and the phones were fixed at 4:04 p.m. and 4:41 p.m., respectively.

 “They just had certification issues, backend issues that needed to be taken care of. They had to deal with a third party,” said Love when asked why the sites and phones stopped working. 

Chatham ITS has taken steps to try to avoid this from happening again, including a reorganization of staff to ensure that someone oversees the certification and any issues that may come from it. ITS will also be implementing new software: TeamDynamixs TDX and Sassafras. The TDX software will be available as a landing page for students sometime in the summer or fall.

The software will allow IT to get “classroom updates, if there is a classroom with an issue we will know,” Love said. 

Information on fixing IT issues will be available on the page, including a resource that informs students what sites are down. The essential sites for Chatham students, like Microsoft programs, will be included in the down detector. 

Alongside these essential sites are sites unaffiliated with Chatham like Discord, which Love said will be added to the down-sites list along with other gaming-related sources, which came as a decision from the IT department. 

“We will be putting the other alerts for Microsoft and necessary sites, and we thought we might as well add those,” Love said. 

Tutorials and training on using the TDX site are to be expected.

“We’ll be doing trainings for it, for staff and faculty, and I think they’re going to put a training out for students also,” Love said. 

These changes will benefit students, but internal changes are being made in IT, as well. 

“There is another software we are implementing, Sassafras, that is for our inventory. It takes care of software and inventory of all our devices,” Love said. The IT department has planned a “total reorganization for internal communication and external communication” to help improve the service for students and faculty.