|Steve Machuga, director of administrative systems for Information Technology Services,
helps lead projects for Student Services, University Relations and Financial
Systems and HR/Payroll.
Director of Administrative Systems Pushes Technology in ITS, University
Q: You have the ultimate responsibility for the
success of ITS administrative systems projects. Please explain what
“administrative systems” are.
A: Administrative systems are used by the administrative offices of the
University and their student, faculty and staff customers. The
administrative systems cover the business side of the university. I’d divide
them into three major categories: Student Services, University Relations and
Financial Systems combined with Human Resources/Payroll. They include
student services offices such as Student Accounts, Financial Aid,
Registrar’s Office, Admission, WesCard Office, the Graduate Services Office
Q: Who works on these operations?
Daune’ Oliveira, PeopleSoft product manager in Finance and Administration;
Dan Koepf, Rich Langer and Tom DiMauro, analyst programmers in ITS have a
lot to do with these. Dan’s 25-plus years of experience are one of the keys
to our success. Deb Treister, director of University Relations Operations
and analyst programmers Jane Jylkka, Sharon Cwirka and Doug Baker all feel a
real responsibility to help UR meet their fundraising goals. Working with
University Communications, we are continually improving our e-mail
communications, WesNet (the Alumni Portfolio) and basic outlook and
We have worked with Financial Services, Financial Planning and HR/Payroll to
put more and more self-services in the Portfolio. Ed Below, director of
Administrative Applications for Finance and Administration; and analyst
programmers Annette Howard, Barbara Spadaccini and Darrell Lawrence work on
these systems. We get additional support
across all applications from Pat Leone, world wide web administrator, Mary
Glynn, application technology specialist and Steve Windsor, database
administrator as well as the network, server specialists that work with
James Taft, assistant director of technology support services. I know that I’ve given an awful lot of names, but everyone is
important to getting stuff done.
Q: Why do you promote the appreciation and utilization of technology
A: At a very basic level, technology is simply a tool. I think of tools as
incredibly humanizing – because they leverage human talent. A university is
in the business of leveraging and growing human talent – technology in its
way can help tremendously.
Q: What projects are you most proud of?
A: I’m proud of a much of what we have done, but I’ll just give you one
example. The Pre-Registration System that the Registrar’s Office developed
with ITS help is just a great example. It helps create the advisable moment
– where a faculty adviser and student can review academic history, student
goals, and course availability to make informed decisions about course
selection. Anna van der Burg, university registrar, has gotten faculty
feedback on the system and we will be incorporating that in the future.
Q: How else have you applied technology throughout campus?
In general, I’m proud of the availability of secure student and employee
self-service applications on the Web. In the past, data that could help in
decision making was trapped in the institutional databases – maybe you would
get to see it in monthly reports. Now the Web has really allows us to share
this data on a real-time basis. The Portfolio System has been key to this
sharing. Mike Roy, director of Academic Computing Services and director of
digital projects; Dan Schnaidt, academic computing manager for Arts and
Humanities; Jolee West, academic computing manager for NSM; and Manolis
Kaparakis, academic computing manager for the social sciences have been
instrumental is conveying faculty needs regarding data access. These are not
earth-shattering innovations but they are things that our university
constituents have a right to expect
On a less philosophical note, the university has made a strategic and
financial investment in information technology. I know that Ravi [Ganesan
Ravishanker, associate vice president for Information Technology Services]
has a strong belief in returning that commitment – in the form of
customer-service and innovation.
Q: Do you strive to build a strong working relationship with all
A: My job is to be helpful, solve problems and have a good time doing it.
Q: You’re also the lead coordinator of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act at
Wesleyan, which requires institutions to protect the privacy of their
customers, including customers’ nonpublic, personal information. What does
A: Gramm-Leach-Bliley is a congressional act that is meant to help protect
individual’s private data. In the papers, you read every other week about an
institution or company having its computer system compromised – the most
recent one being the 800,000 individuals records at UCLA. Think of its this
way: the institution’s computer system is comprised, however, the real
potential for damage is the compromising of our students, alum, faculty and
staff data. We have a responsibility to protect it. There's more on that at
Q: What is your background with computers? What are your degrees in?
A: I have a bachelor’s of arts in English from Fairfield University and a
master’s of science in computer science from Rensselaer at Hartford. My
final paper was: “A C++ Information Abstraction System.” I have not written
any C++ in a very long time.
Q: I’ve seen you mountain biking at Wadsworth Falls State Park. Is this a
big hobby of yours?
A: Mountain biking is a lot of fun. It’s a little scary and mostly healthy.
Shawn Hill, a desktop support specialist, and I ride at 6:30 a.m. before
work at Wadsworth. It’s a good loop: up and down hills, over a few logs,
through a stream and home – with a herd of deer thrown in every now and
then. Occasionally, we’ll ride pass Susanne O’Connell, associate professor
of earth and environmental sciences, out there playing her bagpipes behind
the Wadsworth mansion. It’s a glorious morning when we hear the bagpipes.
Q: You’re also a GLSP student.
A: Yes. I just finished my final paper for Rob Rosenthal’s “Music in Social
Movements” course. It was interesting course. It was pretty cool that I had
seen two of the musicians we studied: Holly Near and Thomas Mapfumo at the
Center for the Arts.
Q: Tell me about your family and pets.
A: My wife is Sari Rosenblatt. She is a genuine, good person. I have two
daughters Nora, 17, and Anne, 14. They are not particularly interested in
hanging out with dear old Dad. I have to watch “Gilmore Girls” just to have
something in common with them. Our dog, Courtney, is a gift from God. Sari
says the best thing about Courtney is that she doesn’t talk. She is a sweet,
old mongrel who crosses her paws, very-lady-like, in whatever patch of
sunlight she can find. I’ve convinced that she is waiting for one of us to
deliver a spot of tea.
Olivia Bartlett, The Wesleyan Connection