Karen Warren

13 Feb

I was the girl who wanted nothing to do with computers all through college.  They were an emerging necessity but something I barely tolerated.  Now oh so many (I won’t say how many) years later, here I am describing myself as an “innovator.”  I am relieved to see that at least 2 other participants have not seen themselves as innovators either.  The reality is, however, that in many ways, I guess I am one.

My entire IT career has evolved from two principals:  an inability to wait and my strongly held belief that there has to be “an easier way”.   When people ask me how I ended up in IT, I often reply “because I couldn’t be bothered waiting for someone to show me how to do something.”  I am a big fan of “Help.”  I spent 15 years at the American School for the Deaf, 10 of them as Director of IT.  Serving a population of individuals with various needs, I think I began innovating a long time ago even if I didn’t see it as such.  I began getting involved with synchronous two-way video technology back when it was on expensive ISDN lines with complex systems.  At the time, though, I knew it would be paramount in connecting the Deaf world.  I worked with an active group of schools across the country to establish a network and standards for using two-way video with this population.  We had conferences every two years and reached out to each other frequently.

In my current position, I had the opportunity to put that video experience to use my first year here in helping facilitate the technology for an international conference on Ethnomusicology that connected 4 continents. It was something no one here had done before. More often, however, I find my innovation is in smaller ways.   That old attitude of “there has to be an easier way” continues to surface as I work with departments like Residential Life and Admission to help them re-think current workflow and find more efficient tools.  I provide both formal and informal training to staff on how to use the tools we have, lately concentrating on Google Apps.

We are embarking on a new web single sign on which is the very first preliminary step we are taking to re-evaluate our Electronic Portfolio and all the organic development it has undergone.  Something as simple as preparing the community for a new login page requires input from multiple individuals and regular communication.  Readying the culture for change and assuring them change is okay is a large part of my day.

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One Response to “Karen Warren”

  1. Lisa Spiro February 13, 2012 at 10:48 pm #

    Great to have you in the Studio, Karen! I’m struck by your comments about the need to prepare a culture for change, as well as your own drive to make things easier to use and employ technology to transcend boundaries.

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