Towards the end of 2010 I was confronted with the reality of leaving the State of Ohio, a place I had grown to call home; a place where I spent my formative years. I accepted a position at the University of Colorado at Boulder as an Academic Technology Consultant (ATC). A place with a strong reputation for excellence and quality education, whereby students are valued, appreciated, and celebrated, and as such I could not resist the offer. Beyond the university’s reputation, the position offered another opportunity to grow personally and professionally in the exciting and complex world of higher education.
I joined a dynamic team of professionals working on various projects intended to accelerate teaching, learning, research, and innovation in various domains such as Learning Management Systems (LMS), Web Development, Data Visualization, Mobile Computing as well as Content and Resources Development. As I came on board we agreed as a team to provide integrated set of services to enable timely and effortless access to resources. All this was possible because we managed the campus community expectations as a service department. Managing the users expectations became an obvious ingredient to achieve long-term quality of service and the community of scholars’ satisfaction. As a team we had to make fuzzy expectations precise, implicit expectations explicit and unrealistic expectations realistic.
The presence of ATCs within the Office of Information Technology (OIT) provided a different mix of capabilities to transform projects being implemented in the office. As a team we provided a big picture perspective to ensure overall success of any projects, as we were always on the ground working with the end users. Becoming part of the ATCs’ group opened my eyes about the importance of listening and basing decisions on user’s needs and expectations. Our presence in the OIT office afforded any project access to just-in-time user’s experience, which is very important as successful projects are measured on user’s satisfaction. I felt like an agent of meaningful and realistic expectations.
My confidence grew and I started offering insights on a new LMS functionality, bottlenecks, faculty experience and perception on the system. That led to a new role in the project as a Solution Architect to minimize undesirable consequences in a long run. Beyond all the technical know-how and working with my dynamic team I have to manage relationships upward for personal and political reasons. My experience has been great because I always remember that I am working to achieve the best possible results for myself, my superiors, the OIT department, and the institution; this big picture does guarantee our success.