Interviewed by: Linda L. Beith, Ph.D., Director, Instructional Design
Shawn, how long have you been at Roger Williams University?
I am an alumnus of Roger Williams University, Class of 1986. After a couple of years working for a defense contractor after graduation I had the opportunity to come back to RWU to work and have been here ever since.
Could you tell us a little about your background?
I have B.S. degree with a double major in Electrical Engineering Technology and Computer Engineering with a Math minor. I have always liked working with technology and have grown with the industry over the years. I spent 20 years involved with information technology at RWU primarily focused on support of academic computing involving labs and academic software. When the new Department of Instructional Design was formed in 2009 and instructional computing was reorganized under the Provost in Academic Affairs I moved to this group since it was a perfect fit for my skills and interest.
What do you like best about your job?
I really like helping faculty and students with their technologies. My current job as an instructional technologist also involves a lot of troubleshooting and problem solving which I really enjoy. I like figuring out how things work.
As an alumnus and employee I also feel very connected to the University and for that reason I serve on the Campus Campaign. I’m very proud of the progress the campaign has made and the generosity of so many employees.
What are the biggest changes you’ve seen at RWU?
One of the biggest changes is the growth of the school. I graduated from Roger Williams College with a student body of 1800. It was a small school where everyone knew each other – especially all the faculty and staff. Then RWU grew into a University and became a much bigger place.
Keep in mind that I was here before Roger Williams even had access to the Internet – initially we went through a 56KB connection through Brown University/Nearnet. It wasn’t until the mid-1990s that the Law School opened and Academic Computing and Management Information Systems were consolidated into the Department of Information Technology. It was also around this time that the University started to deploy PC desktops to staff and faculty. I have held many different positions in IT. For many years I was in charge of all the academic labs and managed the printing and academic software for the University and employed up to 40-50 work-study students at a time. I was even the email administrator at one point and installed and managed the first desktop email system in the Law School. It’s incredible that today everything that was managed by a large Data General system can now be done on a smart phone.
What do you like to do for fun?
Shawn’s answer (as of this morning) would be: My favorite things to do are riding my motorcycle, spending time with my teen-age nieces and vacationing in Florida.