Reduced Hours for the Instructional Media Technician Forces Changes in AV

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

When you're good at something, you end up being in high demand. Such is the case for Westminster's Andy Borts. A reduction in his hours has forced Audio Visual to radically alter their technical support and training operations.

A 2010 Westminster alumnus, Borts has served two masters since his hiring shortly after his graduation, serving as both the Instructional Media Technician for Westminster Audio Visual Services, and the Broadcast Events Manager for the Broadcast Communications department.

The dual-role position was formulated in response to the retirement of long-time Chief Engineer Charles Chirozzi in 2010, coupled with the rapidly changing and expanding role of audio visual technology in education.

An additional engineering postion was sought at the same time to cover advanced technical needs of the college, however that position was not approved, requiring those duties to be outsourced at hourly rates to qualified individuals.

Borts had been splitting his time evenly between the two roles, but as of September 1st, his hours in AV were reduced down to just two hours per day, four days a week.

"It's a very difficult transition that we're working hard to accomodate," shared Westminster Director of Audio Visual Services, Gary Swanson.

"Audio Visual has become a better department due to Andy's hard work. His coordination of our tech staff and installations, troubleshooting, training, research, and effective management of a number of daily instructional responsibilities has allowed us to provide media and presentation solutions to Westminster that have received national recognition. Most everyone knows the quality of his work, his personal detailed attention and welcoming personality, but what they don't see is how much research and time is involved behind the scenes.  The AV segment alone is easily a 40+ hour per week job, and having it reduced to just 8 hours per week limits many of the capabilities that our patrons have come to expect."

While the move is temporary (it is a yearlong trial that will see Borts' hours return to an even distribution on March 1st of 2014,) the change comes during a six month period that those in the educational technology realm often call prime time.

"When I started in this industry 20+ years ago, things used to slow down some over the early summer months, but we don't see that anymore," Swanson explained. "Undoubtedly though, it's heaviest from August to May."

Swanson praised Westminster senior student-workers Brad Steward, Erin Sullivan and Jake Brown, who have been tasked with taking on a variety of additional technical and research related duties with the change.

"They are all talented, dedicated individuals who work way more than they mark on their timesheets each week. Despite that great effort, we are being forced to limit our training and technical support options, and are facing some spiraling costs for outsourced assistance. Response times will be significantly slower as we are at the mercy of outside vendors, and we've had to simply refuse some projects that we've handled in the past becuase we just don't have the same resources available to us."

Patrons with specific concerns in relation to these changes are encouraged to contact Gary Swanson at gswanson@westminster.edu or (724) 946-7188.


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Andy Borts