Jeremiah Joyner talks about the UNC Check-in App
Jeremiah Joyner talks about the UNC Check-in App

More than 200 campus technologists came together for the November 5, 2019 CTC Retreat and IT Awards to explore new technology and recognize excellence in IT at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Carolina Technology Consultants’ annual conference at the Carolina Union drew an estimated 230 IT professionals from across campus for learning, networking and honoring outstanding information technology service.

The day-long conference featured an opening address by J. Michael Barker, Interim Vice Chancellor for IT and CIO, 11 breakout sessions, a keynote by ResNET Director Lee Hyde, and an awards ceremony at which three teams and seven individuals earned honors.

ITS Teaching & Learning's Yun Fan and Marla Sullivan chat
ITS Teaching & Learning’s Yun Fan and Marla Sullivan chat before the breakout sessions begin

Popular sessions included those on ServiceNow, digital accessibility, behind the scenes of a major outage, and a BarCamp style discussion called “Software you can’t do without.”

For his keynote, Hyde discussed ResNET’s Carolina Gaming Arena. Hyde captivated the audience as he chronicled the ambitious, novel project.

“I see three things of real value with the IT Awards and the CTC Retreat,” said Bil Hays, IT Manager, Computer Science, and CTC Advisory Board Co-President. “Two are obvious, honoring the work of folks on the ground and getting some time to learn new things in the sessions. But most valuable to my mind is the chatter one gets between folks who normally do not interact.”

Hays learns “more between the talks than during the talks,” he added. “We tend to focus on our own work and stay in our silo. Finding out what and how others are working is a great opportunity.”

First-timers share their Retreat experience

Several first-time attendees shared what they enjoyed about the 2019 CTC Retreat and IT Awards.

Kat Moore, Brad Held and Sarah Arnold present at the CTC Retreat
Kat Moore, Brad Held and Sarah Arnold discuss digital accessibility

“I was very impressed with ResNET’s gaming arena initiative,” said Charlie Patton, Desktop Computing Administrator, School of Education. “I’m not a gamer myself, but it was gratifying to see UNC supporting students in their passions and helping to ensure that their exercise of those passions is healthy and productive.”

Likewise, John Upchurch, Computer Installation Specialist with School of Dentistry Information Systems, said it was nice to get an inside look at how ResNET is “staying abreast of cutting edge technologies, and pursuing exciting new ways of interacting with students and advancing what UNC-Chapel Hill has to offer.”

Charles Streeter discusses digital accessibility in a breakout group
Charles Streeter comments during the digital accessibility session

Kat Moore, Digital Accessibility Consultant, experienced her first CTC Retreat as both an attendee and a presenter. The Digital Accessibility Office presented on the state of digital accessibility at Carolina. “The CTC community had excellent questions and were engaged in our discussions,” she said.

Like Upchurch, Moore said the CTC Retreat provided her with a valuable behind-the-scenes view. The major outages session, she said, provided “a good inside look at UNC ITS processes and how adaptive we strive to be.”

Patton said he “particularly enjoyed” the discussion session on software. “I left with a list of software to check out, and the open discussion evolved beyond the original topic and into a larger conversation about collaboration and efficiency in UNC’s technology environment,” he said. “My conversations continued with a few others afterward.”

Will Mowery and Ben August present at CTC Retreat
Will Mowery and Ben August present Containers, Kubernetes, DevOps: Where to?

He also appreciated the “Containers, Kubernetes, DevOps: Where to?” session. “I enjoyed seeing how these modern tools and workflows are enabling all kinds of in-house apps that previously would have required much greater hardware and administrative overhead,” he said.

Patton said he would like to see more BarCamp-style sessions and additional time for unstructured discussion and networking.

Upchurch, who serves on the CTC Advisory Board, said that he was able to spend “quality time with old friends, and I even made a few new ones.”

Please view additional photos from the event at ITS’ Flickr.

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