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Soft Skills are Really Hard: Strategies to Managing a Technical Service Staff
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About this session:

This panel discussion would be formatted with each panelist first giving a quick summary of their staff sizes, years in the position, and description of the services their department provides to their institution that would include service locations. The moderator would present a supervisory situation such as the bullets described below, and then toss it to the panel to answer with how they might handle the situation.

The session goals for participants include:

  • Gaining additional perspectives to manage conflicts in a positive manner with successful results
  • Understanding the differences between institutional policy and department practice
  • Understanding their roles as managers of people; and not just services
  • Being given some dialog examples to address a performance problems
  • Understanding resources that may be necessary to utilize when situations are outside of a manager’s jurisdiction

The last fifteen minutes of the session would entail the moderator opening up the session to participant questions and encourage participants to share successful strategies for managing performance that they have enacted.

Examples of situations discussed could include:

  • Milder issue: “Your lead AV Technician is typically a strong technician with a strong performance during repairs. However, he is often late to the repair or installation causing you and other team members to have to step in and get the work started. The tardiness has been consistently occurring once every two weeks for the past few months. How do you address it?”
  • Milder issue: “You’ve received a complaint that one of your staff members was rude when handling a last minute set up. The person requesting the set-up is chronically late with her/his requests and your staff member is the one who usually is hit with the set up because of his/her schedule. The frustration is understandable, but the staff member’s reaction was inappropriate as described to you. How would you handle it?”
  • Moderate Issue: “You’ve noticed equipment is going missing over the weekend and returning on Monday in a state of disarray or even broken. What do you do?”
  • Difficult Issue: “You are noticing one of your staff members presenting erratic behavior, declining performance, and occasionally falling asleep at work. You suspect a substance problem. What do you do?”
  • Difficult Issue: “You’ve received a complaint by a female student that one of your male staff members has behaved inappropriately towards her. The student claims that your staff member has made comments about her t-shirt that made her uncomfortable particularly since the staff member is her work-study supervisor. What do you do?”

Additional Resources:


About the presenter:

Kathleen Dooley, Midwestern University

Kathleen started with Midwestern University in 1992 after achieving a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Southern Illinois University. As the Director of Media Resources, she is responsible on the Downers Grove, IL and Glendale, AZ campuses for media technology and creative services including: audio visual design, audio visual project management, technology installations, live event technologies, creative support services, and acts as a consultant for all media related purchases or projects for the University.


Cody Gregg, South Texas College

Cody Gregg has been a member of CCUMC since 2000. He has made his career in higher education since 1992. He has served as an English and College Success instructor, academic department chairperson, and accreditation coordinator. For the past five years, he has served as the Dean of Library and Learning Support Services at South Texas College in McAllen, Texas, since 2008. Prior to that, he was the Director of Instructional Technologies. He is currently responsible for libraries, classroom technology, open computing labs, and tutoring and other learning support for all five South Texas College campuses. He holds an MA in English & Applied Linguistics from the University of Texas – Pan American, an MLS in Library and Information Science from the University of North Texas, and the Certified Technology Specialist designation from Infocomm. During his time at South Texas College, he has seen the college grow from around 1,000 students to over 31,000 in fall 2015. That time has brought rapid change and growth in the college’s classroom technology and infrastructure and libraries.


Darrell Lutey, University of Nevada Las Vegas

Darrell Lutey is the Assistant Director of Information Technology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). UNLV was the Host Institution for the 2012 CCUMC Annual Conference in which Darrell was responsible for overall planning. Darrell currently serves as an Institutional Director for CCUMC and also Chairs the Emerging
Technologies Interest group.

Darrell leads the Instructional Technology Services group at UNLV, which is responsible for all things Classrooms and Computer Labs. Recently, Darrell was named Service Owner for Digital Signage, and is responsible for supporting and enhancing the enterprise service. Darrell has been an employee at UNLV since 1988 and has worked for many departments
including Public Affairs, Human Resources, Sociology, Biology and Hotel. Darrell was a graduate of UNLV and majored in Management Information Systems, and received his degree in 1990.

Darrell currently holds ITIL and CNE certifications and enjoys golf, college basketball and long walks with his wife (Nicole) and Gold Retriever (Jazzy).