Baylor ITS hosts faculty seminars

By Stephen Strobbe

Baylor Information Technology Services will offer various technology training seminars beginning Wednesday and ending on April 13. The seminars are geared toward faculty and staff who have trouble using the technology required for their job or for those who want to remain on the forefront of newly available technology.

The seminars, a listing of which can be found on the front page of the Baylor ITS website, are freely available to faculty and staff and typically cover how to use new or updated computer software and hardware that has become available for university use.

Vicky Gerik, assistant vice president for ITS client services, said her department’s primary role is to ensure that computers run correctly for faculty and staff, and provide installation, upgrades and repair.

“All the staff that work in their offices depend on us very heavily,” Gerik said. “And as part of that, we provide training. Because whenever we have a new upgrade of an application, that usually means things are different, and so what we do is provide some type of training to make that transition.”

The schedule of upcoming seminars is typically set by the instructors teaching the various courses and were originally created as a result of an influx of similar help-desk calls.

“Way back in the day, the reason we started the training was that we would start getting help calls for particular tasks. So, by providing training, we cut down on the number of times people have to call,” Gerik said. “And most people need to be shown something. If it’s not something that could be easily explained over the phone, they get lost.”

Faculty and staff are able to sign up for the classes directly from the Baylor ITS website by clicking on the listing. The system is then able to track the courses being taken by that staff member, allowing them to chart their progress and — hopefully — growing technological prowess.

Dr. Elizabeth Bates, assistant professor in the journalism and media arts department, said she found the training useful and appreciates the ease with which she was able to sign up for seminar classes from the ITS website.

“I appreciate the help from someone there who knows what they’re doing,” Bates said. “I’m glad that it’s there. It’s helpful, rather than spending many hours trying to figure it out yourself.”

Many of the seminars are topic-specific, with upcoming seminars this week including a seminar on using the TRAX financial system in the ITS-Dutton offices training rooms. TRAX is Baylor’s implementation of PeopleSoft’s financial transaction system. The TRAX training, according to the listing on the Baylor ITS website, will specifically cover end of year fiscal issues and is to be held at 3 p.m. Wednesday, and is recommended for more advanced users of the system.

A series of seminars set to introduce staff members to the TRAX financial system will be starting next Tuesday and is intended for new users.

Aside from the required training for new hires, the rest of the classes are considered supplementary and can be taken as frequently or infrequently as the faculty or staff member desires.

“We’d like to require it sometimes, but we’re not allowed to require the training,” Gerik said, laughing. “We do always suggest using these seminars when we talk to them on the phone, though.”