Students here at Eckerd assume that the role of Information Technology services is to fix the WiFi.
Freshman Hayden Reeves summed up one view that many Eckerd College students likely have of the department.
“They pretty much fix up laptops when they break,” Reeves said.
But Eckerd’s ITS does so much more. From working with students and staff to use new technologies, to making sure the campus computers are consistently providing students with the opportunity to learn, the 16 ITS staff members work to keep much more than just the WiFi running.
Andy Glynn is the manager of desktop services in ITS, and his behind-the-scenes job is what keeps the computer labs all over campus operable for students. He typically arrives at work around 8:30 a.m. every morning and looks into computer issues around campus. Managing a team of four, he tackles most of the tickets and distributes them out to his teammates according to their area of responsibility.
“My favorite thing to do is to try and get it set up to where nobody has to think about it. They show up, and then they think about their work, they think about what they have to do and they don’t have to worry about what happens in the background to make it happen,” Glynn said.
With that in mind, Glynn spends a lot of time rebooting the computers and closing out of Eckerd students Facebook or gmail accounts, ensuring that a student can use the computers seamlessly from day to day.
Primarily he does all this through remote technology.
“All of those academic labs computers are in here,” Glynn said, as he demonstrated how he accesses the computers around the campus remotely. “It’ll even tell you the last time they were on.”
He walked through this process with ease in MPC 207, rebooting the computers in seconds.
Glynn has been on the job here at Eckerd since 1998, but since then a lot has changed. Each of seven dorms on campus had a lounge with three computers and Glynn spent a good deal of time tending to them.
“Kappa’s always been a really cool, different kind of place,” Glynn said.
Glynn mentioned that there was a time when all of the computers in Kappa lounge were broken, and he had to go fix them. The students in the lounge asked him if he was there to fix them, and upon realizing that, offered him cookies fresh out the oven. To this day, Kappa is still one of his favorite dorms.
Nowadays, less people are frustrated with student lounge computers than they are by the WiFi.
“I know that the department is working on bolstering our WiFi out in the residential side,” Glynn said. “it used to be that maybe you had 1700 residential students and you figured each one had a device, that’s 1700 devices, but as time wore on you had phones, iWatches, TVs [and] game boxes, you’re looking at potentially now 1700 students can maybe have over five devices each. This means there are several thousand devices all competing for WiFi space."
Outside of Eckerd, Glynn finds himself split between watching movies and spending time with his six-year-old son, Matthew.
“Most of what I’m doing is either streaming something, or flying a kite or using the telescope. He likes looking at the telescope,” Glynn said.
Recently, his son and he got a chance to point the telescope at Venus.
“I was floored because I’ve never pointed a telescope at Venus until last month. We were looking at the moon and I pointed it at Venus and I looked and it was a partial Venus. When you look at it you can see detail. I’d never seen another planet partially covered before,” Glynn said.
Before he came to Eckerd, Glynn spent a little time after serving in the Navy working part time for a pizza shop in Maryland. Though his pizza days are far behind him, the advice he received from his beloved former boss Frank Meeks still follows him today.
Quoting Mr. Meeks from the Sci-fi movie Cloud Atlas, he stated, “You’ve really got to just keep going. Work the problem. Work it. No matter what it is in your life, look at it and work it. Eventually you’ll get it.”
He’s brought a lot of that motto to his work here at Eckerd and though he finds himself in a rut from time to time, he powers through.
“You have days when things just don’t make sense.” Glynn said. “It used to be Tuesdays, Tuesday for me was ‘Oh, Can’t Fix It Tuesdays!’”
On these days, Glynn would sometimes contemplate painting houses instead of computer work. A friend of his from the Navy does this very thing, tending to computers on the side. But with the bugs and the heat, full-time computer services provides steep competition to this fleeting dream.
“Maybe if I didn’t want to paint houses, I’d make wedding videos,” Glynn said.
For now, though, the Eckerd community can look forward to having Glynn’s smiling face around working with ITS and helping students and faculty, alike.