I have three full-time employees that work for me, and (this semester) 7 student workers. Our Help Desk is open 7AM – 9PM during the week, and 12-9PM on Sundays. After-hours and Sunday shifts are entirely student-run. Student workers are occasionally at the Help Desk unsupervised during the workday hours.
Generally, we expect our student workers to handle “Tier 0” and Tier 1 tasks. What I mean by Tier 0 is non-IT stuff – we’re the building Lost & Found, for example; other Tier 0 tasks include directory assistance, etc. In general, we find that our student workers are excellent at triaging support requests from *other* students. They know the typical student needs / procedures better than the professional staff, in many cases; and almost all of the after-hours traffic is from students.
Some of our student workers are also great at assisting faculty/staff, but most of those tasks fall to the full-timers.
As Brandon said, we also recruit on customer service skills first, technical skills second. I can train the technical skills. It’s a bonus when we can hire a CS or Engineering student with technical skills, but it’s not a requirement.
We do allow students access to sensitive information (faculty / staff file shares, passwords, etc.). Many things here at UVA fall back on the student-enforced “honor code,” where a student who violates privacy or who cheats, steals, etc. can be expelled from the school.
One thing we’re now considering is the idea of a “Senior Student” or “Team Leader,” drawn from our veteran staff, who would have more responsibilities than the other students. Maybe manage shift change requests, substitutions, etc. This might be a graduate student (typically we hire undergrads) or it might be an 4th year undergrad that has 1-2 years’ experience with us. I’d be curious to know how many of you use varying “levels” of student workers.
Eric J. Rzeszut, CISSP
Help Desk Manager
McIntire School of Commerce
University of Virginia
I am new to the group and relatively new to my current position. We have a Technology Support Center that includes our support desk for all faculty, staff, and students. We only assist with university owned technology, no personal devices. I currently have one fulltime Support Coordinator in the TSC with a rotation of student workers. The TSC takes support calls/walk-ups and open ticket requests via phone, email, or walk-up. We use Dell KACE for support ticketing. I am sure this is generally how everyone is structured.
In reading through a thread that posted the other day, I noticed many of you appear to have a more heavily student ran/staffed support desk with oversight by a fulltime employee. I am slowly working my way toward a more student ran TSC here also. I am wanting the student employees to have ownership of the support desk and have oversight by the fulltime employee. I have a couple of questions that I would like to ask the group. Please feel free to respond offline if you prefer.
Do you allow the students to be unsupervised? Meaning, if your coordinator has to step out, go to lunch, or they are out sick; do you allow the students to be in the TSC without that employee there?
How do you recruit students for the positions? Since you need someone with some technical knowledge, do you reach out to your CS or Engineering schools to get workers?
How do you handle access to sensitive information with student employees (ie Banner information, account passwords, etc)?
I have other questions, but these seem like a good starting point. I look forward to your responses. Thank you.
Matthew S. McFall
Director of Technology Support Center
Jacksonville State University
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