It's hard for students to imagine the dark days before technology ruled college campuses, but there was such a time here at Colby-Sawyera time before many of our students were born. Two decades ago, Director of Information Resources Bill Bitzer led the evolution of the college's technology infrastructure, as he discusses in an InfoBeat podcast with WSCS-FM radio co-hosts Barb Marty and Jean Goldborough. Listen to the interview.
Bitzer joined the college back in 1982 as a staff member in the Maintenance Department, and before long he jumped to manager of Administrative Services in Admissions position (1984 to 1986), then to acting director of Admissions (1986-87) and on to director of Administrative Computing (1987-1995). In this last position, Bitzer and his staff began building a Quodata administrative system, which allowed Admissions and Development to create electronic databases filled with information about their constituents.
In 1995, Bitzer assumed a new position, director of Information Services, at a time when the technology infrastructure began to infiltrate the college's academic areas as much as its administrative services. By 1999, his role expanded to director of Information Resources, which marked the merger of the college's library and information services, all of which were powered and unified by new information technologies.
The biggest growth has come in the last six or seven years, says Bitzer, who will retire shortly after 25 years at Colby-Sawyer. First we built the technology infrastructure and then came all the different programs and applications that we use today, from the electronic databases and catalogs in the library to Blackboard Learning and Content Systems, which support our academic and co-curricular programs. We now have technology-enabled classrooms across campus which have greatly enriched and expanded the teaching and learning environment.
The college has both fiber optic and wireless technology systems across campus, up-to-date applications and good security protections, according to Bitzer, and is ready for the next phase in its evolution: an enriched technology environment for teaching and learning.
I think that I have been driven to some extent to bring technology to a level the college could be proud of, says Bitzer. It's important to me that we meet students' criteria and stay just beneath the bleeding edge. Students become so used to technology in K through 12 that they take it for granted they will have the technology they need in higher education.
We now have all the foundations and tools in place, and the next development will be about responding to our faculty and students' complex communication and collaboration needs, adds Bitzer. That will be our next frontier, which will include document management and electronic workflows.