Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Starting next fall, students should expect to have more efficient computer assistance. Students should also expect fewer dorm techs and more public area computers, due to the closing of Beardsley public area.
ITS goals, including improving the network and email system, are now frequently set aside for the sake of an increasing number of calls to the help desk from both students and faculty with computer woes. As a result, ITS is strongly considering outsourcing some help desk operations for the next school year.
Under the alternative system, students could call for computer assistance 24 hours a day and reach a support staff dedicated exclusively to Swarthmore. Staff members will try to provide assistance over the phone, only forwarding the concern to Swarthmore’s dorm tech manager if such help is inadequate. At that point a dorm tech on campus would be dispatched or the help desk would step in.
Intellimark, one of the firms under consideration for the new tech support system, manages schools such as Lafayette. For Lafayette, Intellimark handles about 70% of calls without the need for personal intervention by a dorm tech or similar on campus consultant.
The final decision on outsourcing will be made in a few weeks. As of now, negotiations are still under way with Intellimark and DSS. While DSS has no experience in the academic field, the organization is eager to get started in it. If the decision is made to switch to the new model, the system will be implemented during the summer so that the firm can become acclimated to typical Swarthmore issues before the fall semester.
Students with questions or concerns should contact Robin Jacobsen at jacobsen at swarthmore dot edu.