Every month the Administrative/Professional (A/P) Council highlights an A/P staff member through a series of questions as another way for the Illinois State community to connect. This month readers can get to know Carla Birckelbaw, director of client services, Office of Technology Solutions.
What is your position on campus and how long have you been with the University?
I’m director of client services for the Office of Technology Solutions. My team includes the Technology Support Center and Endpoint Support, and we provide support on ISU’s technology services to the entire university. I’ve worked at ISU for 21 years.
What do you find most rewarding about your work?
I’m occasionally asked this question by job applicants, and I always answer that what is most rewarding to me is doing something that matters. Education matters—we have the opportunity to actually change lives with the work we do here. I believe the customer service and the technology services we provide really matter to the success of students, faculty, and staff. The kind of job I have exists in most major companies, and so I could be doing it virtually anywhere—it matters to me to be working where I can contribute to something meaningful.
What are your hobbies or favorite pastime?
I’m a big reader and typically have several books going at once. My reading interests span many different genres and I’m always up for a good book discussion. I also really enjoy travel. My husband and I purchased a camper in 2017 and have been happily hauling it all over the United States ever since. We’ve camped in 24 states so far, and we tend to gravitate to national parks and other natural areas.
What else would you like others to know about you or your time at ISU?
I appreciate that Illinois State is a community. My experience has been that the people who work here really care about providing a great education and a great college experience to our students. I’ve worked with a lot of terrific faculty, staff and students over the years and nearly all of them have positive things to say about ISU. We can all be very proud of our campus culture.
More about Carla, from Charles Edamala, associate vice president, Technology Solutions; and chief information officer
I have had the pleasure of working with Carla for almost six years, and I consistently turn to her whenever I want to know if the Office of Technology Solutions (Tech Solutions) is meeting ISU expectations; she’s committed to our students and faculty and is passionate about serving them in the best way possible. She handles customer feedback and ensures that we step up when we fall short. She models great customer service to her teams as well as to her peers and continually reminds the rest of Tech Solutions about the impact that we have on our community. Her team has been key in driving down disruptive system upgrades and outages. She is also instrumental in ensuring that all the IT teams, whether in my area or elsewhere, present one face to the community. In a moment of technology crisis, the last thing that anyone wants to do is figure who to call, and Carla has done an outstanding job working with our technology partners to simplify our processes. In addition to a focus on operational excellence, Carla has led several initiatives, including an exciting one that implemented Redbird Bot, an artificially intelligent chatbot.