This year’s season of Higher Ed IT conferences kicked off with the Ontario Universities Computing Conference (OUCC) 2014, April 27 to 29 in Windsor, Ontario. The OUCC is an annual conference of professionals who provide IT solutions and services for Ontario universities.
Queen’s University sent an impressive 14 delegates to Windsor, and a total of six presentations from Queen’s were on the program:
ITServices regularly encourages its staff to take advantage of the professional development opportunities afforded by attending conferences like this. Judy Russell has attended every OUCC since 2005, when it was hosted at Queen’s. She finds that these events help to strengthen working relationships within the department, and that presenting at them can provide even greater opportunities for collaboration.
“Since we’re spread over campus, being together at the conference gives us a chance to talk about work with coworkers we might not see regularly. And when you just attend, you may not know who is interested in the same things you are – but when you are a presenter, they find you.”
Occasionally, members of other departments at Queen’s will come along to these conferences. Vicky Arnold, Communications Coordinator for Queen's Faculty of Education, came to OUCC to do a shared presentation with Natasha Redknap about a major project that they collaborated on last year.
"I am grateful to have had the opportunity to travel with members of ITServices to the OUCC. I found the ITS team to be an inclusive group of professional and fun people, and I was proud to discover that our ITS team is so well-respected by their colleagues in the field."
Brad Hannah, Manager of Systems and Storage in ITServices, finds great value in networking outside of the organization and sharing information at conferences like these.
"The people are the biggest part of the conference. Meeting your peers at other institutions and sharing stories provides an astounding amount of value, with the reaffirmation that we are not alone in our IT struggles. Other schools are presented with the same issues and are actually looking into the same solutions.
OUCC is just one of a few key events attended by ITServices each year, including several dedicated to more specific IT fields. However, there are two main IT conferences similar to OUCC, but on a much larger scale:
Bo Wandschneider, Queen’s CIO and Associate Vice-Principal (IT), regularly attends these conferences and other professional development and networking opportunities, such as CUCCIO member meetings, iAssist, and the Leadership Council for Digital Infrastructure. For those interested in learning more, he occasionally writes about these experiences on his blog.
Closer to home, here are a couple of other noteworthy events taking place: