From the Frontline is an ongoing series highlighting members of the Florida Tech community who are working tirelessly to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
In this installment, Jared Campbell discusses his role as the Head of Library Information Technology at Evans Library.
Q: Please describe your duties related to the university’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Jared Campbell: First and foremost, my job is to make sure that Evans Library maintains its status as being the most helpful, student-centered location on (or off) campus. The team that I’m a part of makes sure that students and faculty are able to do cutting-edge research from wherever they are in the world. But as a former instructional technologist at Florida Tech, I quickly realized that because of the coronavirus situation, the instructional technology wing of Main Campus IT would be overwhelmed with training requests from faculty. So with the blessings of Dean of Libraries Holly Miller and my supervisor, Mary Barker, I pitched in to help. I presented workshops, recorded and distributed multiple training videos, and provided technical support to anyone who asked or I thought might ask. I trained faculty on how to record and distribute lectures using Panopto in Canvas, how to forward office phones, how to log in with the VPN, and how to use Zoom securely, among other things. I outfitted a few rooms in the library, including one where I installed an automatic tracking camera so that people can record their lectures without having to be fixed in one spot. I’ve made it possible to have library resources directly added to Canvas courses (if any of you instructors reading this would like that, reach out to your library liaison!). I have also provided a lot of technical support for students, faculty and staff.
Q: What does it mean to you to play such a key role in assisting the university during this time?
JC: Even though I’m now the head of library IT, I am foremost a teacher. Prior to working at Florida Tech, I was a public school science teacher. I care deeply about the profession. My personal mission has always been to provide the highest education possible and to encourage everyone around me to do the same. I know how difficult it can be to motivate students to reach for the stars when you don’t have an understanding of which tools to use. I study these tools and pedagogy much in the same way that professors study the subjects they teach about. To me, the act of education is an act of compassion that leads to true freedom and ultimately, peace of mind. I want every single instructor at Florida Tech to prepare our students to be the best at whatever they are learning and most of all, I want our students to gain this peace of mind. This is what motivates me.
Q: Talk about some successes and challenges during this unique time.
JC: I’m in the Ph.D. program for STEM Education and during this time I have also taken my comprehensive exam. Managing all of the work and study necessary without going completely bananas has taken effort. I did pass, and I’m happy to report that I’ve achieved ABD status through all of this.
Q: From your vantage point, how well has the university responded to this pandemic?
JC: Florida Tech has been extremely resilient throughout all of this. The administration was wise to allow and encourage faculty and staff to work from home. The library was determined to be essential to the university, so I have still worked from my office on campus. I was given the option to work from home but one of my team members has asthma and another has young children, so I felt like I needed to step up and make sure that they are safe. I care about my team. The library is outfitted with all sorts of disinfectants and a world-class cleaning crew, and we are doing everything in our power to make sure that the infection does not spread to students or staff. One of my team members has even taken the time to develop some of the nicest masks one could wish for.
Q: Anyone in the campus community you’d like to highlight?
JC: I would like to highlight three very important people. First, Martin Gallagher for his dedication to personally creating the best and most effective mask one could ever find. He calls it the ‘Gallagher Mask’ and it is top quality. I would also like to highlight Jon Beliveau for his sheer knowledge and dedication in working on updating the university’s repository system as well as creating a brand-new ticketing system for tracking library technology issues which will allow us to do our work at a really high level. Finally, I would like to highlight Josh Moore for taking the time to create a new Galaxy data server which, when complete, will be dedicated to computational biology projects.
Q: What is a key thing for people to remember during this pandemic?
JC: Stop touching your face and always remember that the compassion you give others is what will remain once this is all over.
Find the university’s most recent coronavirus updates and information on the Coronavirus Central webpage.