Category Archives: 2017 Conference

SIGUCCS 2017 Conference Takeaway – What’s Your Story

What’s Your Story: Creating a Narrative for Training

Presented by: Casey Davis, Arizona State University

Getting participants, let alone instructional designers, excited and engaged about creating and facilitating training for faculty and staff is a challenge. Instead of leading with required number of training and looking at average attendance, start with a story. Humans are hardwired for stories. We all want to be the hero, or work alongside the hero of the story.

During the session, Casey asked us to flip our traditional understanding of training (content is king) and instead focus more on the human aspect – the story behind what we are doing and why. This helps us connect better with our learners for more effective results, and align our training with the overall operations and function of our larger IT teams.

Read the paper at:


I’m getting ready to embark on a MAJOR training initiative where I’ll be creating everything from scratch, so I was very much in the mindset of CONTENT FIRST. This presentation gave me ideas about how to make my upcoming trainings more relatable and appealing to the learner by turning my focus to a STORY, rather than just the dry how-tos of a new software product. – Becky Cowin

SIGUCCS 2017 Conference Takeaway – Big IT Projects and No Staff

Big IT Projects and No Staff: How to build and activate a campus community

Presented by: Brennan Atchison and Amanda  Johnson, University of Minnesota Duluth

Challenge Accepted TurtleThe University of Minnesota Duluth made the decision to transition the majority of its websites into Drupal, a content management system (CMS). Additionally, during the process the university’s website underwent a complete redesign as well as a content overhaul. Prior to the move to Drupal, there were few technical, design, or brand standards being enforced; each department or unit took its own unique approach to web design, development, and maintenance. Tight budgets meant that there were no staff available to commit full time to the project. The historical approach of letting units manage their websites however they wished also meant a huge cultural shift for members of the campus community. In this paper, we will address how through the formation of user and technical groups, we built trust, harnessed technical expertise, addressed bugs and feature requests, created training opportunities, developed documentation, provided viable channels for feedback, and successfully united a previously fragmented campus community to successfully get the job done.

Read the paper at:

Slides available at:


This presentation was a shining example of effectively using various disciplines—e.g., organizational, motivational, collaborative, and agile—and succeeding despite resource constraints. Many institutions are asked to do more with fewer resources, yet Brennan and Mandie showed us that it is possible to deliver by doing more outreach, listening to our constituents, and developing a project plan which allowed for both customer feedback and regular, iterative changes. This was a good “No Money, No Problems” case study. – Mo Nishiyama

SIGUCCS 2017 Conference Takeaway – You Know You Want to Read This

You Know You Want to Read This: Communicating Effectively in Tech Support

Presented by: Robert H. Guissanie, Bucknell University

Robert GuissanieRob provided some tips on effective communication for an IT department which start with common sense:  be clear and concise, make sure it is relevant and meaningful, provide timely information, and do it in a respectful way. However, once the presentation started, you knew that good communication strategy was more than that…

This session reminded us to take into account the amount and types of messaging that you do. For instance, Bucknell has a message center that is used for informational messaging – for example, at the start of Cybersecurity month, an email will go out to welcome people but direct them to future weekly messages in the message center. Rob also makes use of targeted email lists so that people are not getting messages about things that are not relevant to them. He also infuses some humor into messages when appropriate so as to gain and keep people’s attention – dry and formal messaging will lead to “skim reading”.

Read more at:

Slides available at:


One main takeaway from this presentation is to remember that while we work in technology, we deal with and support people. The product that we produce (students) is more important than any other industry. Remembering this as we deal with messages in both good and bad situations is paramount to our success! – Lisa Brown

SIGUCCS 2017 Conference Takeaway – You’re not the Boss of Me

You’re not the Boss of Me: How to Entice Reluctant Faculty to Use the LMS

Presented by: Laurie Fox, SUNY Geneseo

Laurie Fox

SUNY Geneseo recently transitioned to a new LMS and thus was required to do a lot of faculty training. Laurie offered advice on how to both get faculty to use the new LMS, and how to get them to training. One piece of advice is as simple as the naming of the training – Canvas Essentials instead of Canvas Basics. What faculty member wants to admit that they need “basic” training? Laurie also made use of web training offered by Canvas; however faculty did not watch these on their own, instead they came to sessions hosted by Laurie to watch as a group. This offered them the opportunity to ask questions of a live person.

Other advice for getting faculty to use the LMS included enticing faculty to start small and try new things, as well as showcasing use of the LMS from other faculty in training sessions. She also had advice for working with different types of faculty – those that love the old LMS, those that hated the old LMS, and those who have never used the LMS and still don’t want to!

Slides available at:


Lots of training approaches – Allan Chen

I think that the “personal” approach that Laurie highlights where she had different approaches for different types of faculty makes great sense and reminds us that not all problems can be approached in just one way. – Lisa Brown


SIGUCCS 2017 Conference Takeaway – A Leadership Framework

A Leadership Framework

Presented by: Kelly Wainwright, Lewis and Clark College

The IT management team at Lewis and Clark College (“the CIO Council”) implemented quarterly goal setting for the whole team. Every quarter, each team identifies their goals within their group including how they will measure success. While their focus is on short-term, achievable goals, they also keep an eye on how their goal setting aligns with that of the College.

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Lewis & Clark created an “IT Communications & Culture Platforms” document that lists all recurring meetings and team-building events. This is something I’m taking back to my IT management team, and hope that we can implement something similar here! It’s a fantastic resource to have for the whole department. – Laurie Fox

I found that the alignment of the IT organization mission directly to the College’s mission was an important step in creating a strategic partnership. – Lisa Brown


SIGUCCS 2017 Conference Takeaway – Beyond Geek Speak

Beyond Geek Speak: Dedicated Communications Expert is Critical to Successful Campus IT Shop

Presented by: Vicki L. Smith, University of West Virginia

Vicki Smith, a seasoned journalist and communications professional, shared her experience entering the IT world and selling her services as a marketer of theirs. From her position in the office of the CIO at West Virginia University, Vicki has overseen major communications initiatives and responded to crises with foresight and planning hard to come by when communications are outsourced to a centralized organization. The session focused on lessons learned from her experience, as well as guidance on how IT professionals can shift their thinking to accommodate an “outsider’s” expertise.

This session really indicated the need for an investment in the right people to provide communications channels. The right person can bridge the gap between geek speak and campus lingo. This person also knows which tools and medium to use to reach the intended audiences. Establishing a rapport with the community is an important step in developing a communications strategy, along with establishing processes and procedures for communications during crises.

Full session description & PP slides are available on Sched:

Read more in the ACM Digital Library:


“Make communication a priority, not an afterthought” by involving the communications person in projects from the start. This will allow them the ability to help craft messages to the community throughout the project. – Lisa Brown

Vicki is such a dynamic presenter and not afraid to tell hard truths. As a communications professional in a lower-tier role at my university, I liked hearing her perspective from working at a higher level with broader oversight and decision-making authority. – Becky Cowin

Vicki’s presentation resonated with what I frequently encounter at my institution—working with engineers and technicians who are often resistant to see technology tools as a customer-focused business solutions. It’s reassuring to know that there are others in the SIGUCCS community who are experiencing similar challenges. After the conference, I immediately shared with communications experts at my school the highlights from this session—my colleagues were very ecstatic and encouraged! – Mo Nishiyama

SIGUCCS 2017 Conference Takeaway – Giving More Effective Feedback

Giving More Effective Feedback

Presented by: Ella Tshopik, University of Wisconsin

This session provided general information followed by guided discussion on the subject of both giving and receiving feedback in positive and effective ways. This include how to approach giving both good and bad feedback as well as receiving both in ways that build towards goals instead of creating resentment.

Ella opened her presentation with a short meditation exercise to help us prepare for the session. It was a very powerful start, whether or not you enjoy meditation. She then began to share with us how to give feedback that is more specific and meaningful then the “good job” we so often share. We broke into groups together to talk about examples she provided of scenarios of excellent – and poor – work behavior. It was very helpful to hear how people in the room would respond to each scenario.

Read more at:


I found that this session included lots of great strategies for working with others, particularly in a support role where I feel like I’m either gently correcting or carefully encouraging users. Great to see a session that focused on soft skills, particularly since feedback is such a core function of most IT jobs. – Alexa Spigelmyer

The meditation exercise was fantastic. Ella shared with us similar resources. She also talked about how important it is to be able to accept and respond positively to feedback we receive. – Laurie Fox

I took away many points to give better feedback as well as things to remember when I am at the receiving end. I understood about mindfulness but never thought it to use in feedback. Also, discussion was very useful for me to see there are always many approaches to scenarios and we all need to keep in mind that we need to listen and find out why first before making judgement. – attendee feedback from Sched

Call for Proposals: Connect, Discover, Share at SIGUCCS 2017

The SIGUCCS 2017 Program Committee is pleased to announce that the SIGUCCS 2017 Call for Proposals is open. We invite you to Connect, Discover and SHARE your expertise in Seattle this October 1-4, 2017. Write a paper, display a poster, present, or participate in a panel. By contributing to SIGUCCS 2017 and sharing your knowledge and experience with colleagues, YOU help shape the conference. In addition, you can become a published author and enhance your public speaking experience.

Submit your proposal by February 17, 2017 at

Program Tracks

The Program Committee has developed the following program tracks:

  • Help Desk and IT Service Management Track
  • Instructional Technology Track
  • Lab Management and Desktop Support Track
  • Infrastructure and Emerging Technologies Track
  • Training and Documentation Track
  • Management & Professional Development Track
  • Poster Track

Head over to the SIGUCCS 2017 conference website for details and a list of suggested topics. We’re excited to bring you an engaging program in Seattle this October 1-4, 2017, and we want you to be a part of it!

Your SIGUCCS 2017 Program Co-Chairs,

Chris Wiesemann, University of Oregon
Kristen Dietiker, Menlo College