Caring for the Campus
The pandemic has brought most of the Bronx Community College campus to a standstill. But for Interim Chief Information Officer Luisa Martich and BCC’s entire Information Technology staff, life has been more action-packed than ever since the mid-March shutdown, when virtually all of BCC migrated to cyberspace.
“In the beginning it was an adjustment for everyone. One thing we had to do at first was establish our entire department online, that took us about a week. Then we set up a system to remotely support all our users which took about another one-and-a-half weeks. Now we are completely remote.
“One of the surprises we had was how much we became involved in the academic side of BCC, because the computer labs were unavailable. We are responsible for all the loaner computers that have gone to faculty, staff and students during the pandemic and their distribution. I’ve spent the last few weeks on campus helping with laptop distribution among other projects. Because of our experience during the spring semester, we’ll be better prepared to handle those needs in the Fall.”
The job of IT is enormous during the best of times, Interim Director Martich observes.
“We are responsible for telephone services, whether they are land lines on campus or mobile devices. We are responsible for all support of campus computers. We prepare all classes electronically, remote or on campus. This means that we collaborate with faculty members and department chairpersons to ensure that we have the software available for students.”
IT also provides what instruction is necessary to use the equipment that it provides. By fulfilling all of these needs, IT touches the lives of virtually every BCC Bronco.
With COVID-19 forcing a limit to the number of BCC personnel on the physical campus at any one time, Ms. Martich is sometimes the lone human being in IT’s offices.
“I’m the only one on the floor today, but it depends on the workload. When there is construction on campus, our infrastructure team is asked to come in. We also work with other essential departments like our Physical Plant Services, where we are updating their work stations. We prepare laptops and other equipment for programs with special IT needs, like Future Now. As the semester begins, we will bring in three staff members three times a week to assist with different projects.”
Such staffing limitations becomes its own form of social distancing. “Public safety has been amazing in ensuring that I feel safe on campus.”