The technical support at our school is provided in part by the tutors.  This fall three of them took a six hour course with the academic computing area.  Since academic computing does not have the same type of computers, this training hasn't been terribly helpful.  For problems we can't solve, we call academic computing and get put on the list.   The priority for repairs is the academic computing lab is first, faculty are second and we are third.  This can mean a wait of days and in the case of a major problem weeks.  We are not ignored on purpose - it is a problem of too many problems and too few well trained staff.

The three tutors that I hired this fall to help us did not have technical expertise but did have a willingness to learn.  Everyone in the lab is somewhat computer literate.  We can help students with the software we run, printer jams, and the other usual problems experienced in a tutoring facility.

The major problem we have had is making it clear that we are a tutoring facility that has computers not a computer lab.  Since we are funded by a Title III grant we have to be careful where we place our emphasis and since there is already a large computer lab at academic computing, we should be considered a tutoring lab for 90% of our effort and computers for 10% or less.

We also have software that has been installed by other departments on campus.  They are responsible for maintaining that software.  We will train the tutors on helping students start the software but we do not trouble shoot the programs.  I have found that this has worked well so far.

Paying for services...  So far, no one has asked for money to support the computers but it will be coming.  The last we heard was an across the board charge to the students for technology.  The money then would be given to academic computing and information systems to pay for new hardware, software, technicians, etc.

Hope this helps.

Nancy Picthall-French
Western New Mexico University
Silver City, NM  88062