OIS Newsletter – May 2017

Statement from OIS Director Ken Wester

It has been an interesting year. With the Strategic Planning Initiatives coming into place for the University and Master Planning going on this spring and summer, we will be looking at many different exciting possibilities. Technology is an essential component to the success of our students, faculty and staff, so please help us ensure that we are providing the best solutions possible. Participate in any planning sessions when you can, and let us know how we can better serve you.

Thanks for a great spring semester and for those graduating, congratulations and best wishes for your success from the Office of Information Systems.

New Internet Firewall

Network Services continuously looks for new and innovative approaches to ensure ATU’s network security, and safeguard the University’s computer network from a wide variety of threats and vulnerabilities. On February 24th, 2017, the Network Services team replaced ATU’s “traditional” Internet firewall with a “Next-Generation” firewall. Next- Generation firewalls address limitations in traditional firewalls that render organizations susceptible to increasingly more sophisticated and aggressive network-based attacks.

The University’s new firewall will enhance network services for students, faculty, and staff by better managing the University’s mission-critical applications, restricting access to or blocking non-productive and suspicious applications, and more sophisticated detection and remediation of malware.

Blackboard Learn Known Issue

Students, having trouble checking your grades? OIS is aware of the issue with the My Grades tool when it is accessed via the Global Navigation Menu (the dropdown menu when clicking your name). We are working with Bb Support to resolve the problem but do not have an ETA for the fix. In the meantime, grades can still be checked within your individual courses. In each course, go to the Tools section and click on the My Grades tool there.

The Front Door Signage of the Campus Support Center

The Campus Support Center has a new look! Stop by RPL 150 and see our new front door signage.


2016 Ugly Sweater Contest

It’s been a long time since Christmas but we still have to brag about Cody Parsons, Programmer/Analyst from our Administrative team, and Alex Manly our Blackboard Administrator for their stellar participation in Dr. Bowen’s annual Ugly Sweater Contest.  Cody took first place in the homemade category and Alex took 2nd Overall as Ralphie, from “The Christmas Story”. The bar has been raised!

Upcoming OIS Projects

  • Discount Imaging will be on campus to perform a print assurance assessment. The purpose of the evaluation is to analyze our current imaging environment by mapping the imaging devices on floor plans and collecting primary usage data. The assessment will be achieved by making a room-by-room sweep to visually assess our current imaging environment. The team will also be collecting a page count from those devices. The process should be very quick and easy. Additional information will be sent later with specific dates, times, and locations.
  • Network services will be installing new fiber in Tomlinson and the Administration building in preparation for network infrastructure upgrades. Work should begin in mid-May 2017
  • Network Services will be upgrading the network infrastructure in the Administration building. This update will include new fiber, new switches, new and expanded wireless, and the replacement of analog phones. The work is expected to begin in early June 2017 and will correspond with the new carpet installation.
  • The computers in several computer labs will get replaced or upgraded this summer.  Many core software packages will be updated to newer versions.  Any departmental software additions should be requested as soon as possible. No deletions will occur without a detailed evaluation.  Our staff will provide maintenance of some kind on almost every lab computer on campus.  Direct all questions or concerns to our Campus Support Center at 479-968-0646.
  • Faculty computer replacements are already being evaluated and many of the older computers will be replaced by the end of summer 2017.


  • Michael “Corey” Heflin will soon begin his 4th year of service for OIS. He first worked in the Campus Support Center where he provided customer support over the telephone. For the past 7 months, Corey has been working as a Tier II technician providing hands on technical help. We are happy to announce his May 2017 graduation with a B.S. degree in IT Professional Studies from our own campus.

OIS Personnel Changes

Clay Henry will be joining the OIS team in May as a Computer Support Technician. Clay will have his Associate of Applied Science degree in Information Technology as of May 2017. He is currently a junior in the Bachelor of Science in Information Technology program with an anticipated graduation date of December 2019. Clay previously held an internship in cybersecurity with Arkansas Nuclear One and was a student worker with the ATU Instructional Technology Services team. He lives in Russellville with his wife, two kids and two dogs. In his free time he enjoys working on computers, kayaking, and playing disc golf.
Hayden Poff  began his service as one of our Tier II Computer Support Specialist last November. Hayden graduated from Arkansas Tech University back in May of 2015 with a B.S. in Information Technology. Prior to working here at ATU, Hayden was an IT Specialist for Friendship Community Care. In his free time, he enjoys working on computers and/or mobile devices on the side and running/working out.
Kevin Kilpatrick joined our Campus Support Center (CSC) team in February 2017.  Kevin is an Arkansas Tech Alum with a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Studies with emphases in IT.  Kevin provides technical assistance to customers from the CSC during our second shift hours.
  Mr. Todd Alex Manly has assumed the duties of the Director of Learning Resources for the Office of Information Systems. His new duties will include his continued support of the Blackboard Learning and Course Management Systems, oversight of the Instructional Technology Services (ITS) Group and oversight of the Technology Center operations. Mr. Manly will be reporting to the Director of the Office of Information Systems.

Mr. Manly holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology and a Master of Science in Instructional Technology. We are certain that he will be an asset in his new role.

Jeremy Gregory most recently served as the Instructional Technology Services Manager. Jeremy joined Arkansas Tech University in 2012 as a Computer Support Specialist. He played an important role in the design and installation of the classroom technology in the new Brown building. He left at the end of October of 2016 to pursue other opportunities. We wish Jeremy continued success in his new position.