Pre-Conference Workshops

The Pre-Conference Workshops have been cancelled.

Finding Empathy in IT Decision Making
March 10, 1p – 4p Eastern

Presenter: Trevor Murphy
Design thinking describes a series of techniques that are frequently used in start-ups and large institutions to encourage innovative solutions that are user-centered. The techniques help to frame the problem after interacting with real people; to understand the wants and needs of these users; and to map the experiences that we are seeking for them. This empathy stage is followed by a creative stage consisting of divergent thinking to encourage many ideas before converging on a few potential solutions; then creating rapid prototypes to explore users’ reactions. And finally the execution stage aimed at crafting solutions so they engage your audiences/customers/users. Divergent thinking benefits from input from a variety of perspectives, so design thinking also embodies techniques for fostering creative collaboration, where judgment is deferred and wild ideas are encouraged. The process also emphasizes effective story-telling or narrative to facilitate adoption and implementation of your ideas. Design thinking is used as a fundamental competence in service oriented start-ups, major corporations responding to rapidly changing market conditions (IBM, Proctor and Gamble, Capital One, Accenture, McKinsey), NGOs (Unicef, Gates Foundation, Mayo Clinic, Kaiser Permanente), and government agencies (CDC, VA). This session will offer a highly participatory engagement with attendees, demonstrating design thinking through projects exercises and projects. The outcomes from the session should lead to increasing creative confidence and understanding ways to take risks that will encourage innovation and user-friendly solutions.


Presenter Bio:
Trevor Murphy has served as an Instructional Technology Specialist at Williams College for the last 20 years. At Williams, Trevor supports science and humanities faculty with their technology use in research and teaching. He supports a music technology lab and supervises student workers that staff a help desk. He has taught five Williams College courses as an adjunct on the topic of storytelling with animation and video. His first SIGUCCS conference was in 2001 in Portland, Oregon. Despite his best efforts to blend into the background, SIGUCCS attendees pulled him into increasing levels of participation. He authored 18 papers for SIGUCCS and was inducted into the SIGUCCS Hall of Fame in 2018. His educational background includes a BA in Physics from SUNY Potsdam and a MS in Scientific and Technical Communication from Oregon State University. Outside of work he likes to repair old clocks, teach mandolin, and work on his graphic novel.


Participants will take away skills for listening and creative problem solving, and recognize a wider number of possible paths and solutions. Participants will be able to be better able to shape services to user needs, and let customer service drive decision making. Participants will find ways to have creativity defeat habit.

SMART Performance Management
March 11, 12p – 4p Eastern

Presenter: Tom Wilk
Are you struggling with employee engagement and performance management? Do you need guidance on how to improve your one-on-one meetings, performance evaluations, and performance improvement plans? Are you stumped by SMART goals? When you do everything right, does it still sometimes go wrong? In this workshop, Tom Wilk will share tools, tips, and processes he uses when working with employees to promote good career performance. The focus is on helping managers and leaders work with their employees to improve their performance, enhance their careers, and provide career growth.


Presenter Bio:
Tom Wilk is the PC Engineering manager at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. He has become a performance improvement leader helping employees find their way along their career path. Recently he has started mentoring others and consulting to help others become performance management leaders. Tom is involved with the SIGUCCS community as a 2021 SIGUCCS Conference Co-Chair of Programs. He also serves as the President of the HDI Steel City Chapter in Pittsburgh the Committee Chair for National Sponsorship Programs for HDI Local Chapters Inc.


1. Understanding of how performance management can work for you and your team. Understanding how to work with individuals at various stages of their careers to build a team.
2. A set of tools to take back and use with your team. In this workshop we will use them but also make them available to attendees.
3. Knowing how to help struggling employees become successful whether that is on your team or helping them find their right fit somewhere else.