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John Hammond, Help Desk manager in Information Technology Services, says techniques for solving computing issues are always changing with advances in technology.
Posted 06.04.08

Help Desk Manager Supports Student, Faculty, Staff Computing Needs

Q: John, what is the ITS Help Desk and whom does it support?

A: The Helpdesk has two groups, the Student Helpdesk and the Administrative Helpdesk. Together we support all Wesleyan students and administrative staff.

Q: Who staffs the desk, and when is it open?

A: The Student Helpdesk is staffed by student Helpdesk consultants who are available Monday-Thursday 10 a.m to 10 p.m; Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. We can be contacted by e-mail at helpdesk@wesleyan.edu, or by phone at 860-685-4000.

The Administrative Helpdesk is staffed by Benjiman Jackson and Harriett Epstein who are available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. We can be contacted by e-mail, supportadmin@wesleyan.edu, or by phone at 860-685-4777.

Both groups are located in the Exley Science Center. Just follow the hallway to the right of the elevators and look for the signs.

Q: How many students work at the Student Help Desk? Are they predominately computer science majors?

A: There are approximately 20 students working for Helpdesk, from many different majors. Since it is the beginning of the new school year we are now accepting applications from students interested in joining the Helpdesk so I encourage anyone and everyone to apply. Just a download the application from our website at http://helpdesk.wesleyan.edu. Once new students have been hired, training is provided from both student managers and ITS staff.

Q: What is the role of a department's Desktop Support Specialist?

A: The Helpdesk encourages faculty to contact us if they have a computing issue and we will always do our best to resolve it. However, the Academic Desktop Support Specialists are specially trained to support the specialized software and hardware that faculty utilize. As a result, it is often necessary to refer the faculty to their DSS for support. Desktop Support Specialists therefore do no report to me, but to Karen Warren, director of user and technical services.

Q: What are typical account-related problems students and staff have, and how does the help desk go about resolving those problems?

A: The great thing about working for Helpdesk is that there is no such thing as a typical problem. You may think that all we do is run virus and spyware scans and reset passwords all day, but it is much more involved than that. Technology is constantly changing and our techniques for solving issues therefore must change. This coupled with the chance to help people daily is what makes Helpdesk fun and exciting!

Q: Does the Help Desk make house calls?

A: Luckily most students have a laptop these days which allows them to just drop in at the Helpdesk. However, for those students that have a desktop, and are unable to bring it to the desk, we are happy to setup an appointment to visit their dorm room.

Q: When did you come to Wesleyan?

A: I was hired in the fall of 2002 as the Desktop Support Specialist for the social sciences. I was promoted Help Desk manager this past winter.

Q: Where did you attend college and what did you major in? What attracted you to the university?

A: I went to Worcester Polytechnic Institute in “Woosta,” Massachusetts and I majored in Computer Science. I began my career in computer support there. It was then that I realized how much I enjoyed helping people with their computer questions. Since I am from Durham, Conn., Wesleyan was the best environment to begin my post-WPI career back in 2002 and it continues to be to this day.

Q: Who do you work with on a regular basis?

A: I work very closely with all my colleagues in ITS, however my position affords me the opportunity to work with just about the whole campus in some capacity.

Q: What are your hobbies aside from computers?

A: I have many interests including photography, hiking, music, art, reading, movies. I try to never have a dull moment. I also recently received a Master of Arts in liberal studies from the Graduate Liberal Studies Program here at Wesleyan.

Q: Anything else you’d like to say about your role at Wes?

A: I’d like to thank everyone I’ve worked with/met here at Wesleyan. It really is quite an amazing university.

By Olivia Bartlett, The Wesleyan Connection editor