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Tools for Transitions: Leaving Campus Tech Services


Summer is a big time for academic transitions. Last week I talked about tools for finding a new home, but once you’ve found somewhere to go, it’s a lot of work to get there–I’m writing this while surrounded by unpacked boxes and stacks of books. One of the first steps is to clear out of your former campus, which can be complicated depending on how many years you’ve spent invested not only in your physical office but in all of the campus’s digital services.

Here are the big technology tasks that came up in my office move to-do list:

  • Clean up your hard drive. My office computer is a tangled mess of files, especially thanks to student projects downloaded for debugging during office hours and version after version of drafts. If you were already using cloud storage of some type to manage your files, this step will be as easy as making sure your computer is fully disconnected, but if you’re like me and let your files get out of control make sure your search your download folder, documents, desktop and interior file structure thoroughly before you leave. Pulling my files together has definitely been an incentive to do better with DropBox at my next campus.
  • Gather your peripherals and hardware. A lot of campus computers and other hardware come with a stack of discs, case, manuals, and other things that you might not get much use out of. I dedicated a drawer in my office to keeping all of those materials together from the beginning, so that leaving just meant reuniting all the parts for return. If you’re starting a new position, make sure to keep track and find out what the university is going to hold you accountable for.
  • Archive your old email. Many institutions require you to use their email account and provider, but few will keep that account active (or even forwarding) for particularly long after you leave. Assume the worst: archive everything you think you might need, and find all your current correspondents in that account and let them know about the change. I wish I hadn’t been using my university account for so many projects, so I’ll definitely be using my Gmail for all business cards and contacts in the future.  Do a search through upcoming conferences and your own profiles to make sure that the old email isn’t linked anywhere important.
  • Check your software licenses. There are several ways your software usage can be tied to your campus. If you have software through a campus license, you probably can’t take it with you. Even software you’ve purchased might be tied to your university email, so check your archives to see what will need changing. For instance, I use the educational license of both Microsoft Office 365 and Adobe Creative Cloud, so I’ll be migrating those accounts to my new email account. It’s particularly valuable to see what software needs you’ll have so you can discuss them with your new department in advance.

I ended up dedicating more time than I’d originally expected to sorting out all these technology transitions, and I’m sure there are things still to come. Share your tips and tricks for leaving  behind your campus computing in the comments!

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