225 Years of Building Better Lives
header image
Share Your Story
Explorations in Science and Technology

Revolutionizing the Help Desk


Many Pitt people know Computing Services and Systems Development (CSSD) for its invaluable help desk. But CSSD is, in fact, a service-driven unit nationally recognized for innovation and excellence.

From the University's 1985 installation of the world's first campus-wide fiber-optic network—enabling high-speed Internet access—to that of e-mail dedicated kiosks for students in high traffic areas, Pitt has ensured technology remains connected to services. New technology initiatives are as much about meeting needs as high-tech hardware.

For example, maintaining contact with students and employees during emergencies isn't just critical—it's challenging for a university as big as Pitt. To meet that need, CSSD developed an emergency notification system to reach as much of the campus community as possible in the shortest amount of time, using SMS, e-mail, and voicemail. The Computerworld Honors Program awarded the project a Laureate Medal in the Education and Academia Category. Another Pitt project that enables software installation without diminishing system stability medaled in the Business and Related Services Category.

Since 2003, Computerworld has recognized 20 Pitt innovations, and in 2010, CSSD director Jinx Walton won the Computerworld Premier 100 IT Leader Award, recognizing her as one of the "100 men and women who are driving positive change in their businesses through technology."