All posts by SIGUCCS Editor

About SIGUCCS Editor

The Special Interest Group on University and College Computing Services (SIGUCCS) is an association of professionals who support and manage the diverse aspects of information technology services at higher education institutions. SIGUCCS is one of 36 special interest groups of ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, the world's largest educational and scientific computing society. SIGUCCS focuses on issues surrounding the support, delivery, and management of those services, and provides professional development opportunities for its members and the other individuals in the field.

Meet Chris Olance

Hi, my name is Chris Olance. Back in 2011, I was making the transition from a technical position – manager of the student computer labs – to a management position as Manager of Support Services. I was struggling with the transition and I needed help. At that time, I was going to the LabMan lab manager’s conferences and I asked people at that conference about the transition to management.

Chris Olance

Someone at LabMan suggested that I check out SIGUCCS. When I contacted them, they mentioned that they had a grant for first time attendees. Adams State University is a small state university, and funding is always tight. Getting the grant allowed me to get to my first SIGUCCS conference.

The first thing I noticed was the people we were really friendly and extremely helpful. Because they are people just like me – IT people at colleges and universities – there is an immediate shared bond. It did not matter if they are from a large school or small, people wanted to help others. Speaking of helping others, they suggested that I sign up for the mentoring program. I took their advice and was paired up with a mentor. My mentor helped me in the decisions I had to make in my new management position. I got so much out of the process that later I signed up to be a mentor and enjoyed that as well. Currently, I am on the advisory board for the mentoring program. I highly recommend people consider joining SICUCCS and consider being either a mentee or mentor!

Without the SIGUCCS attendance grant program, I would not have been able to attend this conference and learn more about this community – a community that helped me transition in my job and become a better manager. I continue to attend SIGUCCS and support the mentoring program because of this. And my success has helped me bring others from my university to the conference as well!

Chris Olance, M.A.
Adams State University
Computing Services, Manager of Support Services
Professor IT345

April 2019 – Updates from the Chair

April showers are here, and I know the May flowers are coming because my allergies are in full swing! This week, I purchased my flights for the SIGUCCS 2019 Annual Conference and made my hotel reservations. The first draft of our conference papers is due soon – we will be together in NOLA before you know it!

The Executive Committee (EC) has been springing forward on many activities as well.

Continue reading April 2019 – Updates from the Chair

Showcase your Communication Projects

As graphic designers, media specialists, content managers, and communication professionals, our tasks are really pretty basic. The only expectation is to educate, promote, engage, persuade, and create full campus awareness and outreach to hundreds or thousands of students, faculty, staff, alumni, as well as the surrounding university community. There are also bonus points and loads of kudos, too, if the completed tasks succeed with originality, follow all university brand guidelines, and hopefully, include three or four original photographs of happy smiling faces, all while managing the entire project on a shoestring budget and delivering all components of the outreach and promotional campaign on-time.

comm awards winner

Ready? And, go.

All of these appear to be the challenges, and the fuel, for most communication projects. On top of that, deciphering IT jargon to distribute information legibly for the masses of the university can often require some crafty MacGyver skills. With our communications work having such a broad university audience, my golden rule is simple. If my mother wouldn’t understand it, revisit, review, and rewrite. 

Nerds unite. We take geeks to heart and passionately believe that everyone is a bit of a geek about something. The SIGUCCS Communication Awards provide an excellent stage to showcase your communication team’s design geekdom and to receive external written feedback from last year’s winning teams who serve as judges. As a submitter, preparing submission entries each year allows me the opportunity to step back with a broad range view to reacquaint myself with and critique our team’s portfolio. Reviewing the excellent work of other institutions when serving as a judge is a unique opportunity to compare our work with numerous successful communications teams from other higher education learning communities.

communication awards winners

With so many of us facing similar design challenges, the takeaway of participating in the SIGUCCS Communications Awards is seeing how other creative teams resolve similar IT communication hurdles. All of these things provide each of us with an aha moment and hopefully, just hopefully, an opportunity to understand why design matters. Because honestly, it does.

Visit the SIGUCCS Communication Awards webpage for a full list of categories, criteria, and instructions for submitting your communications projects.

Gary Garbett, Senior Communications Coordinator
Virginia Commonwealth University

SIGUCCS Leaders Attend ACM Meeting

Laurie Fox and Dan Herrick recently travelled to Chicago to attend an ACM SIG Governing Board (SGB) meeting focused on planning and sponsoring a single annual conference. SGB leadership invited a group of SIG and conference leaders to discuss issues related to smaller conferences like ours.

Dan and Laurie

The meeting agenda included:

  • ACM Publications Board presentation
  • Disability Inclusion Discussion
  • SIG / Conference Interactions and Associations
  • Best Practice Sharing
    • SIG Programs
    • Conference Practices

We always enjoy sharing the best practices of SIGUCCS and the SIGUCCS Conference. Here are the items we shared with other SIG leaders:

  • SIGUCCS Programs
    • Professional Development (Mentoring Program, Webinars, Subsidized Pre-Conference Seminars)
    • Community Engagement (Marketing, Travel Grants, Book Club, Listserv/Slack/Social Media)
    • Community Recognition (Communication Awards)
  • SIGUCCS Conference Practices
    • Lightning Talks as a presentation format
    • Conference planning procedures & documentation
    • Generating post-conference webinars with popular conference presentations

The meeting attendees were most impressed with our webinar series and our marketing / community engagement efforts. Our biggest takeaways are ideas to improve our disability inclusion efforts at future conferences. We were fortunate to spend time learning from other leaders (and with each other)!


Celebrating Women in Computing – Frances Elizabeth Holberton #SheIsWhyICode

Frances Elizabeth Holberton (1917 – 2001)

During World War II, Betty was hired as a “computor” – women that were hired to manually compute ballistic trajectories for the Army. These manual calculations were complex and took 30 hours to solve. But in 1945, the Army built a machine to replicate the work and Betty was part of the team of six women commissioned to program the ENIAC machine. All six women earned a place in the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame.

Continue reading Celebrating Women in Computing – Frances Elizabeth Holberton #SheIsWhyICode

Celebrating Women in Computing – Sister Mary Kenneth Keller #SheIsWhyICode

Sister Mary Kenneth Keller (1913-1985)

An American Roman Catholic nun, she was the first woman to earn a PhD in computer science (1965, University of Wisconsin-Madison) in the United States. During her graduate studies, she worked with the National Science foundation workshop in Computer Science at Dartmouth College (all male at the time) and participated in the implementation of the BASIC programming language. She later went on to found the computer science department at Clarke College (now University) and directed the department for twenty years.

note sheet
Continue reading Celebrating Women in Computing – Sister Mary Kenneth Keller #SheIsWhyICode

Celebrating Women in Computing – Grace Hopper #SheIsWhyICode

Grace Hopper (1906 – 1992)

Known for creating COBOL, the first programming language, Grace Hopper is referred to as a pioneer computer scientist. After earning a PhD in mathematics from Yale and teaching at Vassar College, Grace Hopper joined the Navy Reserves during World War II. There she began working on the Harvard Mark 1 computing team.

Continue reading Celebrating Women in Computing – Grace Hopper #SheIsWhyICode

Celebrating Women in Computing – Ada Lovelace #SheIsWhyICode

Ada Lovelace (1815-1852)

As the daughter of poet Lord Byron, her mother wanted to make sure that she did not have her father’s artistic temperament and insured that she was taught sciences and math as a young girl. Her work brought her into collaboration with Charles Babbage, “father of computers” where she was asked to translate an Italian article about a military machine – the Analytical Engine.

Continue reading Celebrating Women in Computing – Ada Lovelace #SheIsWhyICode