Campus News

Reconnecting on campus

If you’re a Carolina employee preparing to return to work on campus, here’s how to get your computer and other technology working seamlessly again.

UNC ITS network analysts Len Needhan and Mary Wezyk remove and replace a network switch. Network switches are the key building blocks of Carolina's wireless network that all on-campus employees use. (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)
UNC ITS network analysts Mary Wezyk (left) and Len Needham remove and replace a network switch. Network switches are the key building blocks of Carolina's wireless network that all on-campus employees use. (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

As the University’s remote workers exchange their home offices for on-campus offices again on July 19, Carolina’s Information Technology Services department wants to ensure that all employees are ready to return — or at least that their devices are.

Here, Vice Chancellor for Information Technology Michael Barker talks about how ITS prepared campus for the return of in-person work and what employees need to do to get their devices and workspaces up and running again.

What steps has ITS taken to prepare campus for in-person work again?

We at ITS are having our busiest year ever as we prepare for and support our colleagues and students for their return to campus. The University is welcoming the largest first-year class, a class of second-year students who aren’t experienced with campus and faculty and staff who have been remote for a year and a half. We want to ensure a smooth transition back to campus for everyone.

First, we have a Return to Campus page on the ITS website to help refresh our colleagues’ minds about their on-campus technology — from wireless networks to power cables to desk phones. Second, we’ve collaborated with our IT colleagues in schools and units so together we’re fully prepped and ready to welcome people back. Third, we continue to ensure we’re providing the most reliable and innovative technologies to campus. To name just a few improvements, ITS has implemented Virtual Agent chatbot to supplement Service Desk support; we’re rolling out new and enhanced voice services; and we’re outfitting 50 more HyFlex classrooms, which will further support returning faculty and students.

What should employees do with borrowed devices they brought home but no longer need?

They should back up any data stored on those loaned and no-longer-in-use devices, such as laptops, monitors or web cams, then bring them back to campus and return them to their departmental IT professional or our Service Desk. If there are any questions about how to return devices or how to back up the data stored on them, you can reach out to those same IT professionals or the Service Desk.

Many employees with office phones forwarded their calls while working from home. How do they begin receiving calls on their office lines again?

The first step would be making sure the line is still connected and has a dial tone. We’ve posted specific instructions for disabling call forwarding based on the model of phone, most of which are two steps or less.

After so much time away, will employees need to reconnect their devices to the University’s network?

If your wireless device doesn’t automatically connect to eduroam, the primary campus wireless network, you can follow device-specific directions to reconnect your devices to the network. The same goes for connecting wired devices.

Some desks and devices haven’t been touched since last year. What should employees do to make sure their technology’s hardware is ready to use again?

We suggest wiping down any desktop computers, phones or other devices that have gathered dust to ensure they’re running optimally. A buildup of dust can block fan vents and cause your devices to overheat, so cleaning your devices before using them again will prevent any damage. You should also check that all power cables and power strips are still connected securely between the device and its power source.

And how do employees ensure that their technology’s software is ready to run?

Employees with PCs should click on “Start,” then “Settings,” then “Update & Security” and lastly “Check for Updates.” Those who use Lenovos should also find the Lenovo folder in the start menu for more updates.

Employees with Macs should open “System Preferences” and click on “Software Update,” or click on the Apple icon in the upper left corner of the screen and click “Software Update.”

If you haven’t turned on your computer or connected it to Network VPN in the last year, you may need to reach out to the Service Desk for further help.

What if employees run into additional problems or need help completing these steps?

We currently offer three ways to get help with all of your technology issues: You can submit a service request, live chat with an ITS expert or call 919-962-HELP. On Aug. 14-20 the ITS Service Desk will have a tent outside of Robert B. House Undergraduate Library entrance to help with return to campus issues as well, and the ITS Service Desk’s offices in the library will open later in the fall semester. Just make sure you observe the University’s COVID-19 Community Standards when visiting the Service Desk tent or offices.