Lack of computer techs causes overload
April 22, 2004
Filed under News
There are only five computer technicians at work at EC and there are more than 2,800 computers on campus.
No, crisis. This means that for every technician at work, there are 560 computers he or she must tend to on any given day.
Budget cuts and an 18-month hiring freeze have kept the computer technicians busy, to say the least, as they try to keep up with problems here and at distance campuses in Inglewood and Hawthorne.
The budget cuts have not affected the availability of new technological equipment on campus, but the cuts don’t allow for the campus to bring in more technicians.
“EC doesn’t want to hire new people now and then have to let them go due to a lack of funds.” said Donald Treat,supervisor of technical services. “It wouldn’t be right to have them make a commitment and then let them go.”
Currently, technicians are working hard trying to keep up with the needs of every department on campus.
“Everyone wishes they were top priority,” Treat said, “However, it’s hard to maintain priorities when you want to get everyone serviced.”
The shortage of personnel has been dragging on from past semesters and has even begun impacting the student workers.
“This is my second semester alone,” computer lab specialist in the business division Dave Murphy, said. “I used to have two student helpers, but now they’re gone. There is a slight delay in getting things done.”
Among the delays experienced due to the technician shortage are updating computers, installing virus protection software and even repairing software.
“To prepare computers for new software, I first have to install it in a different computer to see how it works.” Murphy said, “Once I work out all the details, I have to update the rest of the computers.”
Being the only person in his division updating computers, combined with having to work around class schedules, Murphy manages to get work done as quick as possible.
“I try to work in the most heavily used labs first.” Murphy said. “In general, I try to jump on things and get them done as soon as I can.”
“We always consider student service areas to have top priority.” Treat said. “Fortunately, there is a good working relation among the departments and they understand we have a large amount of equipment to maintain.”
However, the heavy workload for these technicians will be here for a while longer. With the tuition increases scheduled for next semester, and the possibility of student enrollment numbers falling in the fall, funds to hire more people might not be available.
“Our student population directly effects the economy of the college,” Treat said. “The number of students enrolled at EC determines how much money we receive from the state.”
The state has created an outside study group that sets guidelines as to how many computers each technician should be assigned. However, these guidelines have not been integrated into the EC technology plan.