Jeffrey Leichty, an associate vice president at Indiana Tech, thought about the potential for disasters regularly.
As part of the university's crisis management team, Leichty talked through what he and the rest of the staff would do in emergency situations twice a month.
What if a certain campus building disappeared? What was the disaster recovery plan? Could the Indiana Tech staff protect themselves from a cybersecurity attack?
So while a pandemic wasn't a scenario Leichty ever discussed with the team, he felt prepared to take on the task of helping Indiana Tech's more than 4,000 students and staff transition completely to online education during the COVID-19 shutdown.
It was stressful in the beginning. The first three days after the shutdown were the hardest, Leichty said.
“It didn't seem like work ever ended for a period of time,” he said.
Brian Engelhart, vice president of marketing and communication for Indiana Tech, said Leichty, who oversees IT services, has been an integral part of the university's online transition.
“Jeff and his team really led a number of efforts that allowed us to do that pretty seamlessly, and really kind of shift to taking our classes that are normally in person here on the main campus and shifting them so they were online,” he said.
Engelhart said Leichty and his team have helped provide online support for students navigating registering for classes, applying for financial aid and receiving tutoring.
The IT department is also working with the university's academic team to set up livestreaming capabilities for every student who doesn't feel safe returning to campus for the fall semester, Engelhart said.
Leichty said he's proud of his team for stepping up and handling student concerns. Thanks to his team's preparation, the university never had any major tech failures.
“I find some satisfaction knowing all this stuff worked, and it worked pretty close to the way that we kind of planned on things working from the IT perspective,” he said.
“When you go in you turn on the light, you just expect electricity to be there. I think that's the key in trying to make technology work for our business, is trying to make sure that technology is available no matter where it is or what you're trying to do.”