COVID Update: The IT Crowd

A couple of weeks ago, we did a Facebook series on some of the behind-the-scenes work still ongoing here at CTSFW. Though we managed to highlight the library, dining hall, Food Co-op, and dorm students, one of the departments we didn’t get to: Information Technology.

The IT team here at the Seminary have kept us going in many seen, yet largely unseen, ways. These men (and one woman) are busy with the following:

There’s the head of IT, Chief Information Officer Rev. Bill Johnson (whom you saw preaching in chapel this morning), who has lately been doing much of the heavy lifting for the Call Day website (, besides many other duties.


Jason Iwen, MDiv student and “Assistant to the Chief Information Officer” (and I suspect a nod to The Office in the title), is involved in ongoing improvements to the Helpdesk system, our tech problem helpline for all staff, students, and faculty. He’s also been training faculty to use the tech tools that make online classes possible.

Rich Woodard is helpfully pointing to a bit of tech advice in his picture; he’s not as involved in current quarantine-specific duties, but is mainly focused on prepping data migration for a massive project coming this fall: a new unified campus system.

Lawrence Rast III (not pictured), Network Manager and IT Help Desk, works primarily with Helpdesk response, plus on additional customization of the new campus systems.

Pictured with his feline coworker, Greg Ernest, Network and Systems Administrator, has lent in a hand with Helpdesk, though he also works on system backup management and development of the relocation module for the new unified system.

Joanna Sutton, Educational Technologist (and pictured here with her husband), does a lot of the prep work before each academic quarter begins, setting up courses through our classwork system; she’s begun preparing for summer courses as usual.

Last, but certainly not least (though also, unfortunately, not pictured, as he prefers to be behind the camera rather than in front of it), is someone whose work you know very well: John Elmer, Media Content and Services Manager. Here on Facebook, I more familiarly refer to him as our video guy. He set up and manages the classroom recording system, makes the chapel broadcast happen every morning, and is currently finishing several projects for next Wednesday’s Call Service.

Every year, we also employ a handful of student workers. A couple weeks back, one IT student worker explained, with some exasperation, that when a fellow classmate suggested they send thank yous to one of the departments for their extra work during this time, he recommended they include IT. “Why?” his classmate asked blankly. “They don’t do anything.”

Rev. Johnson, when he heard the story, only laughed. “As IT, you know you’re doing your work well when no one notices it.”

Thank you all for your work, noticed and unnoticed. You’re integral to making this—the strangest, most unique academic quarter we’ve perhaps ever had—workable. God bless you all and your service to the Seminary and the community here and online!