The Hilltop Monitor spoke with Chuck Curtis, one of William Jewell College’s technology wizards. His official capacity is the campus’ Network and Telecommunications Administrator. As his work is ubiquitous on the Hill yet seldom discussed, it seemed prudent to enlighten the community as to how Curtis spends his busy days and to offer him the opportunity to ponder the larger questions of emerging technologies.

As a final obligatory note, this reporter should mention that while Curtis’ words here are certainly brimming with the brand of candor and insight characteristic of the man, they in no way encapsulate the comprehensive quality of his person. 

On his daily routine…

“When we get in, first we make sure everything is operating correctly. If there’s something down, then I want to try and get that addressed before class starts, before students start waking up, before there are issues. The piece that I do is the internal infrastructure. It’s the network. It’s the wireless. It’s the firewall. It’s the phone system. That kind of thing. What everything runs on top of, if you will.”

“We address these major concerns first, make sure everything is up and running. Then we start going through the tickets, addressing individual issues and go from there.”

“And I like to be engaged with students. It’s good to be around students, see what’s going on with them, see what we can do to make things better for them and make their experiences with technology easier. That’s one of the things I see with most of the staff. People do care about the kids and what kind of experience that they have here.”

“And our department is very small. I’m the network guy. We’ve got a developer guy. We’ve got a server guy. We’ve got a PC guy. And that’s about it. We’ve got another programmer/analyst, but that’s about it. You know you are the first and last line of defense for your area. But the folks here have been around for a while, and are really good at what they do. Things are pretty solid right now. We’ve got some good people with some good skill sets.”

Sage advice surrounding technology on the Hill…

“I think there are a lot of resources and people available to help that students aren’t necessarily aware of, especially first year students. The hub over at PLC is a good place to start, because of course it can be stressful around mid-terms and finals when things aren’t working right. The main piece of advice I would give is keep your machines patched with antivirus, and keep things backed up.”

On the peril and promise of future technologies

“Probably the ‘internet of things’ and artificial intelligence, would be something that I would embrace and be afraid of at the same time. The reason [these] concern me is we continue to yield personal privacy by allowing the use of those kind of technologies. I mean when you’re online—and let’s say you’re shopping for a computer online—you go to Amazon, you go to Best Buy, you’re looking at options. Then, for days after that, you get ads for computers in your browser. There’s geo-cashing involved there, where people are building analytics to track the types of things that you are looking at, so they can put ads in front you of you to sell their product.

 

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