OIT's Partner Campuses Technology Services Handles over 2,000 Service Requests Annually for the FAU Broward and Northern Campusesby Roberto Santiago | Saturday, May 01, 2021
The Partner Campuses Technology Services group ensures that the FAU Broward faculty, staff and students have reliable and secure access to the internet, computers, software and a range of integral peripheral devices. The Partner Campus Technology Services group is comprised of over 20 professional full-time and part-time employees, who are organized into two separate units: Broward Technology Services (BTS), and Northern Technology Services (NTS). The IT department in the Broward campuses was created in the late 1990s. At that time, the department was called Broward Technology Resources (BTR) and the director reported to the vice president of the FAU Broward campuses. BTR were responsible for the Commercial campus (now closed), and campuses in Fort Lauderdale, Davie and Dania Beach. The name of the department was later changed to Broward Computing Services (BCS).
In 2007, the University merged Broward Computing Services (BCS) with the main IT university unit, the Information Resources Management (IRM) office. Names of both areas changed to better reflect what they do, to the Office of Information Technology (OIT) and Broward Technology Services (BTS). As part of FAU’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) Division, these units (BTS & NTS) provide a local source of technology services and accountability for the university's clients in its partner campuses of Fort Lauderdale, Davie, Dania Beach, and Jupiter while remaining fully compliant and compatible with FAU's technology policies and standards.
"On average, we process over 1,300 help desk tickets per year in the Broward campuses and over 700 tickets per year in the Northern campus," said Dr. Alberto Fernández, Director of OIT’s Partner Campuses Technology Services group. "Most of the tickets are troubleshooting computer hardware issues, viruses, problems with printers, network support and support for events."
The BTS group has accomplished a lot since it was established in the late 1990s. The campuses transitioned from an old analog telephone system to a new VoIP telephone system. It upgraded over 150 facilities with the installation of state-of-the-art technology in classrooms, conference rooms, multipurpose spaces, and public areas. Some of the technologies added or upgraded were videoconference equipment, network switches, computers, or audiovisual equipment such as televisions, projectors, and sound systems, among other things.
Throughout the years, BTS has also been essential in upgrading the campuses network security, including the addition of a mandatory Internet authentication in public areas, which ensures additional security to FAU’s network environment. The BTS group also renovated the network infrastructure of the Broward campuses with new switches that allow for a 10 times faster network speed for students and faculty, as well as faster connections in all the classrooms and labs.
In addition, BTS supports all of the events that take place at the Broward campuses with their technology needs – which ranges from guest speakers and presentations to events such as the annual Mu Alpha Theta mathematics competition that draws over 1,000 middle school and high school students to the FAU Davie campus on a Saturday. The group is also responsible for organizing OIT’s Teaching with Technology Showcase on the Broward campuses, which provides faculty with the opportunity to interact and exchange ideas on how to use and incorporate technology into their course curriculum.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the BTS staff assisted faculty and staff with their technology needs while the majority of them were working from home. They also trained many on effectively transitioning to remote work.
What is in store for this year or next? "We look forward to bringing back the Teaching with Technology showcase to the Broward campuses as soon as the covid-19 pandemic is over, as well as helping the faculty and staff transition back to the campuses," Dr. Fernández said.