Behind the Scenes of DASA Tech
DASA Technology Services is a team of technology professionals committed to serving the programs, faculty, staff and students in the Division of Academic & Student Affairs. The team works to develop, maintain and constantly improve the technology that DASA units and people need to “promote the success of the whole student.”
Director of DASA Technology Services Leslie Dare explains, “we are responsible for ensuring the integration and leverage of technology for every operation in the division. Basically, if you think it’s tech then we support it.”
Who is supported?
DASA Tech was developed from DASA specific needs. While the Office of Information Technology (OIT) acts as the central leader in campus wide, enterprise technology, DASA Tech covers a range of departments and services.
For example, organizations covered by DASA Tech include student media, which requires special hardware needed to run the student radio station, WKNC 88.1. University Recreation uses card swipes to keep track of attendance and teams. Student Health Services relies on DASA Tech to keep the Electronic Health Record system running smoothly. DASA Tech supports academic programs as well. A resource used by many DASA departments is the Student Success GPS system, which is an advising platform for students. Different departments vary in needs. As a result, DASA Tech is a multi-faceted division.
NC State University strives to Think and Do beyond the traditional 9-5 work day. With a school of driven students and faculty, special events occur often. A special event could be a program, conference, arts, or sporting event that occurs outside of the expected hours or location of NC State.
“There is always a need for support during special events. You do end up working at night or an occasional weekend,” said Dare.
During events such as the upcoming RecFest or Convocation, DASA Tech will ensure the necessary technology is set up and running smoothly.
“We support move-in weekend with housing. University Recreation has special hardware and software that monitors chemicals and water temperature in the pools at Carmichael Gym.We work with summer conferences that will use the gym and other facilities, even off campus events,” said Dare.
The broad scope of needs for a special event at NC State is constant. The biggest issue faced with meeting needs is communication.
“Communicate with us early on. When we need to work with your department, the earlier we know the better we can prepare,” said Dare.
When a department wants to purchase or utilize new technology, DASA Tech will often purchase the first trial pieces to ensure the tech team understands how to best support it. From there, DASA Tech will deploy the technology to the unit and let the unit test the capabilities for their needs.
DASA Tech also has standard loaner equipment such as laptops, tablets, projectors and other event equipment available for departments to borrow. Individuals can also use the loaner equipment based on individual needs. The loaner equipment is used heavily for event support.
Student Organization Websites
DASA Tech is looking to revamp and reboot student organization websites. Working with OIT, DASA Tech is encouraging student organizations to use NC State resources to register and update their student run webpages.
Student organizations are required to maintain registration of their organization through the platform Get Involved at NC State. This platform provides a base for all of the organizations to list their officers, display events and allow interested students to join or learn more about an organization.
Many student organizations also have additional websites with more information. DASA Tech has worked to create a new website which will serve as a base for student organizations. It is a WordPress style site that creates simple templates and plugins for students to easily manage news, events, members, documents and forms beyond the registration site. In addition to student friendly use, it will allow the site to be transferred to the next leadership team of an organization once students graduate. This provides consistency and clarity for members of an organization.
“Across the world there is a huge focus in data security. It has been the number one issue addressed in annual reports for the past two years. It is a structural campus-wide decision to implement stronger security means within google and Shibboleth,” said Dare.
“In the immediate future, we really want to meet that October deadline for the two-factor authentication,” said Dare.
DASA Tech also works to provide standard technology budget tools. The concept of budgeting needs is explained to every department so they understand what money is being spent on technology, services, software and hardware. DASA Tech also works to discuss new initiatives that will be utilized by technology in each department.