SIGUCCS 2018 Conference Takeaway – The “I” in Team

The “I” in Team: How developing individual strength builds a great team

Presented by: Tom Wilk (Carnegie Mellon University)

Tom WilkManagers face three types of employees on their teams: struggler, “average Joe”, and rock star. Each type requires a different management strategy. Managers need to set SMART goals and document progress as part of performance management (don’t just tell them to do better). Tom uses 1-1 meetings with agendas, performance appraisals, coaching, shared documents, and other tools to assist him in building a team.

We discussed special needs of each of the three types of employees. For example, the struggler can be struggling for one of three reasons; lack of skill, lack of will, or personal issues. You need to identify which one and focus on how to address it specifically. Another example is to not let your rockstar get burned out and do not just give them the work that your strugglers are not getting done. Pay special attention to your “average Joe” as he/she can rise to the top if given a new or special project.

Tom left us with three key factors to build a great team: Trust, Clarity, and Transparency.

Read the paper at:

Review the slides at:


Tom’s Trello screen with the following categories: inbox, employee’s items, projects, career development, and his own items – with cards under each for items to discuss during 1-1 sessions with his staff. He creates a similar item for each employee to keep track of things throughout the year for performance appraisals. – Kathy Fletcher

See an example at : or

SIGUCCS 2018 Conference Takeaway – Best Practices for Small Group Communications

Best Practices for Small Groups Communication and Efficiency

Presented by: Ella Tschopik, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Ella TschopikElla gave us some great ways to run meetings and tied in a few workshop-like activities in this presentation. Her presentation immediately followed the opening keynote where we were reminded that the most important skills that a student can learn in college are the soft skills, like communication. Ella’s presentation was a great way to start the conference!

As part of this presentation we learned some best practices for successful meetings, including identifying individual behaviors during group communication. One of the group activities was about observing these in action. We were challenged with answering questions that were clearly opinion answers. It was great to see how we were able to apply some of the tools Ella spoke about during the presentation.

Group dynamics were also discussed and the stages of group development – forming, storming, norming, and performing. The idea that if you have a new project, be sure to give group members time to get to know each other and get to that performing stage.



One of my main takeaways from this presentation is to be thoughtful about meetings. Don’t have a meeting just because it is on the calendar, make sure that there is a purpose and an agenda. Share the agenda ahead of time. And finally focus meetings on things that require in-person participation. – Lisa Brown

Good meetings have: decisions, not updates, action items, an agenda, and topics that we have to come together to talk about . – Laurie Fox


SIGUCCS 2019 Conference Committee Introductions – Melissa Bauer

This article is part of a series introducing the SIGUCS 2019 Conference Core Committee. Each Committee member submitted answers to questions created by the SIGUCCS Marketing Committee.

Melissa BauerMelissa is the Conference Treasurer – our recent habit has been to encourage treasurers to stay in their role for two years. If you’d like to read more details about Melissa, check out her previous answers at SIGUCCS 2018 Conference Committee Introductions – Melissa Bauer

How many SIGUCCS conferences have you attended?

SIGUCCS 2019 New Orleans … what is your favorite french food?
I love champagne, croissants, macarons, French fries, café au lait, and the list goes on.

SIGUCCS 2019 Logo

SIGUCCS 2019 Conference Committee Introductions – Keith McIntosh

This article is part of a series introducing the SIGUCS 2019 Conference Core Committee. Each Committee member submitted answers to questions created by the SIGUCCS Marketing Committee.

How many SIGUCCS conferences have you attended?

Which previous SIGUCCS conference was your favorite, and why?
My first one, in 2014, was my favorite because it was new. I enjoyed meeting folks and experiencing the camaraderie of such a tight knit community. I had heard so much about SIGUCCS through a colleagues so I was happy to finally get to attend.

How did you get involved as a volunteer in SIGUCCS?
I got involved in SIGUCCS initially through the strong encouragement from Cindy Dooling who I worked with at Pima Community College. I was contacted by Bob Haring-Smith to participate on the 2019 Conference Core Committee.

What’s an accomplishment that you are especially proud of?
I am especially proud to see the positive impact I may have had on someone’s life and career. To me this is what life is all about…helping others when and where possible. So if something I spoke about, wrote about, or helped someone directly enhanced or enabled someone to achieve more in their life, this makes me proud.

SIGUCCS 2019 LogoYou could always stop and talk to me about…
Probably just about anything because I love speaking with people especially about topics that interest them. I usually have something I can say about the topic and if I don’t, then it is a learning opportunity for me. These are topics that I am passionate about on a personal level are: (1) my family, (2) diversity, equity, and inclusion or DEI, (3) golf, and (4) movies.

What do you do for fun?
Golf, trivia, and going to the movies. I also love to dance, but I don’t do it as much anymore.

SIGUCCS 2019 New Orleans … what is your favorite French food?
Probably Crepes or perhaps Coq au vin.

October 2018 – Updates from the Chair

SIGUCCS ECThe SIGUCCS Executive Committee (EC) had a great series of meetings at the 2018 Annual Conference in Orlando. While we “see” each other once a month during our regular meetings, our in-person meetings are always productive and enjoyable. I also appreciate the opportunity to host an Open Board Meeting where we welcome input from the community.

My favorite part of the conference is celebrating our annual awards – the Penny Crane Award 2018Hall of Fame 2018, and Communication Award Recipients 2018. Thank you to all who attended the general session, where we celebrated these achievements together!

danger sign from hotelHere are highlights of the SIGUCCS EC’s accomplishments this quarter:

  • Created a SIGUCCS “elevator pitch” and materials to spread the word about SIGUCCS. See the resources online at: Share SIGUCCS
  • Hosted a champagne reception for the 2018 award recipients and conference committees
  • We are working on identifying volunteers interested in roles in the Mentoring Program Leadership, Awards Committee, and future Conference core committees. If you’re interested – or would like to recommend someone – please email us at
  • Exploring new ideas for marketing, such as promoted ads on LinkedIn and Facebook, advertising in print media for higher education, and leveraging our enthusiastic community. Did you know that the #1 way people hear about SIGUCCS is from a colleague?
  • Formalizing policies and procedures related to our operations, including: marketing committee roles and responsibilities, SIG travel expense policies, award guidelines, and EC-sponsored conference activities (plenary speakers, pre-conference seminar facilitators, and events).

In addition to these initiatives, we have also identified projects and plans to work on in the upcoming months. If you are interested in reading more details of our activity in the Executive Committee’s meeting minutes, they are posted online: Executive Committee Meeting Minutes.

SIGUCCS 2019 LogoWe are looking forward to SIGUCCS 2019 in New Orleans. Join us November 3-6 at the InterContinental New Orleans.

The Call for Proposals will be announced in January.

Why is mentoring important?

Mentors are one of the not-so-secret weapons to a successful career and subsequent promotions. This person is not likely to be your boss. Instead he or she is a personal coach guiding you through job challenges toward new opportunities. A mentor starts out as a stranger, but will become a substantial part of your professional network.

At the last team meeting before my boss’ retirement, he gave us all a piece of paper with the word career on it. He explained that for him, a successful career was staying ten years at his job. Advancing came through hard work and loyalty. Promotions came when your boss noticed your hard work.

He told us, “Those days are over. No one ‘advances’ in that way anymore. You need to learn how to take charge of your job and your career”. Then, he asked us all to write down the name of one person who had contributed to our success in our prior job. And to write down the name of one of our references for our current position. He stated that at least one name on that list was one of the many mentors we had already had.

One can find mentors in many places. SIGUCCS is one of them. Our organization is small enough to meet and network with people about real-world problems and solutions. It is no surprise there is a free SIGUCCS Mentorship program for members, or that 128 people have gone through the program in the past four years.

SIGUCCS harnesses the power of its members –many people contribute a little bit instead of one person doing it all. This high level of involvement allows the mentoring program to match mentees with practicing professionals who have similar jobs at similar institutions and the specific experience a mentee needs.

The unique aspect of the SIGUCCS mentorship program is its diverse focus. While mentorships can focus on management or leadership, or preparation for a position as a CIO, past mentorships in the SIGUCCS program have focused on project management, training, desktop support, and network operations. This truly is a customized personal yearlong program with proven success. Participants have reported a satisfaction rate of 82% over the past five years.

If you are looking for someone to help you and guide you in your career, regardless of your current role, consider joining the mentoring program as a mentee. Be sure to list the specific types of skills that you are interesting in working on. The mentor program will look to match you with the best mentor available.

If you are that practicing professional, consider being a mentor. Mentors have the option to list the skills and areas they want to mentor. The time commitment is approximately 1-2 hours a month. Past mentors have found the program to be as professionally and personally rewarding as the mentees, citing they learn as much as they share.

Do not wait for your career to come to you. Take stalk of your strengths, weaknesses, and your goals. Then make a plan to work on them through the SIGUCCS mentoring program. People are waiting to learn from you and with you.

The next mentoring session will run from January through October 2019.  If you want to participate, please complete the online application form by November 23rd.  Mentors and mentees must commit to meeting (virtually) at least 1 hour a month, set goals, develop strategies to achieve those goals, and advise and support each other. Virtual training and support resources will be provided to participants. You must be a member of SIGUCCS to participate – membership is just $25 per year.

~ Gail Rankin

SIGUCCS 2019 Conference Committee Introductions – Becky Cowin

This article is part of a series introducing the SIGUCS 2019 Conference Core Committee. Each Committee member submitted answers to questions created by the SIGUCCS Marketing Committee.

Becky CowinHow many SIGUCCS conferences have you attended?
3 (2016-2018)

Which previous SIGUCCS conference was your favorite, and why?
2017 in Seattle was the first year I really got involved, and that totally changed the experience for me. I enjoyed my first SIGUCCS, but being a volunteer and really making an effort to get out of my shell and meet people in 2017 made a huge difference in not only the experience AT the conference, but afterward, sustaining new professional relationships and friendships.

How did you get involved as a volunteer in SIGUCCS?
I don’t remember! Somehow I ended up on someone’s list and it snowballed from there.

What’s an accomplishment that you are especially proud of?
Raising my twin daughters. They are five years old and I’m so proud of the clever, thoughtful, goofy girls they are growing up to be.

SIGUCCS 2019 LogoYou could always stop and talk to me about…
Scooters and motorcycles, sheepadoodles (mine is called Scout), and sewing

What do you do for fun?
I love flexing my creative muscles by sewing clothing for myself and my kids, designing graphic t-shirts for my shop (, and writing a little fiction when the mood strikes.

SIGUCCS 2019 New Orleans … what is your favorite French food?
I’m not one for a lot of classic New Orleans foods but you can always hook me up with some Cajun pasta – is that French enough?

SIGUCCS 2019 Conference Committee Introductions – Bob Haring-Smith

This article is part of a series introducing the SIGUCS 2019 Conference Core Committee. Each Committee member submitted answers to questions created by the SIGUCCS Marketing Committee.

Bob at the Great WallHow many SIGUCCS conferences have you attended?

Which previous SIGUCCS conference was your favorite, and why?
The 2005 fall conference in Monterey. It was the first conference for which I served on the core committee, so I got to enjoy the whole process of planning the conference and then seeing it benefit the attendees.

How did you get involved as a volunteer in SIGUCCS?
I signed up to be a session chair at the first conference I attended. The next year, the conference was taking place in the city to which I had just moved (Portland, OR), so I volunteered to help out and was put in charge of the email room. Of course, now people carry the email room in their pockets.

What’s an accomplishment that you are especially proud of?
Helping to raise a smart, well-adjusted, caring son, who is now working on doing the same for his own sons.

SIGUCCS 2019 LogoYou could always stop and talk to me about…
Travel. I was born in Taiwan, finished high school in London, backpacked around the world after college, and worked for three years in Egypt in the late 90s.

What do you do for fun?
Competitive swimming, travel, NYT crossword puzzles.


SIGUCCS 2019 New Orleans … what is your favorite French food?
Crepes and galettes.

The SIGUCCS 2019 Site Visit

Many of us have just enjoyed the 2018 ACM SIGUCCS conference in Orlando, but now we want to let the good talks roll into New Orleans for next year’s conference, taking place November 3-6, 2019. You can help by thinking about presentations you could make and informing your colleagues (including those at nearby institutions who may not be familiar with SIGUCCS) of all that SIGUCCS and its conference have to offer. The call for participation will go out in January, but people can sign up now to the SIGUCCS mailing list and connect to SIGUCCS via social media. Visit for details.

2019 conference teamWe ramped up planning for the 2019 conference in August, when the conference’s core committee gathered on site to brainstorm about the conference and experience New Orleans as those attending next year’s meeting will. The conference hotel will be a great venue for the diverse programming and interpersonal networking that are SIGUCCS hallmarks, as well as putting us in walking distance of Bourbon Street and other New Orleans sights. Plan now to participate in the 2019 ACM SIGUCCS conference and encourage others you know in higher education IT support to do the same.

#SIGUCCS18 – How to Make It Work

You’ve seen the hashtag, but wonder “how can I contribute?”

This post by Lisa Nielsen (The Innovative Educator) provides tips on using social media to its fullest during conferences and events –

People with social media conceptLet’s make #SIGUCCS18 a hashtag that people who cannot attend the conference want to follow. Let’s make this a conference that people wish they were attending. Let’s make people say “I want to attend that conference next year!”. Contribute to #SIGUCCS18 during the conference by providing quality posts about our content to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.