Teresa Gibbons Is April Employee of the Month

Posted: April 1, 2010 at 1:04 am, Last Updated: April 1, 2010 at 1:56 pm

By Rashad Mulla

Teresa Gibbons. Creative Services photo

For the thousands of students, faculty and staff members at Mason, April Employee of the Month Teresa Gibbons is a life-saver.

Gibbons is the manager of the Information Technology Unit (ITU) Support Center in Innovation Hall. On an average day, her office deals with 125-150 requests for assistance, ranging from computer viruses to more serious problems that the Support Center defers to other departments. Having been on the job since December 2005, Gibbons says in her experience, these requests skyrocket to more than 300 at the beginning of a semester.

As manager, Gibbons has been in charge of initiatives to improve her office’s performance.

“Since I’ve been here, we’ve expanded some of the things we do and streamlined others,” Gibbons says. “We have online forms to fill out and we’ve increased e-mail quotas. You used to have to go to many different groups to do these sorts of things.”

Some of the biggest challenges of her job include technical support during university-wide system implementations, such as the new login system for PatriotWeb, which requires users to type in their usernames and passwords rather than their identification and PIN numbers. Another issue is when students, as well as faculty and staff members, respond to phishing e-mails. These are typically sent to wide audiences by scammers hoping to obtain sensitive information, such as passwords and credit card numbers.

“The biggest problem we currently have is people responding to phishing attacks,” Gibbons says. “To save you, we cut off your account until someone from our office talks to you. We don’t know what you sent back to them, and we don’t know if you sent your password.”

This job is a complete contrast to her previous job of 20 years as a government contractor, in which she filled the roles of programmer, technical support specialist, project manager and support manager, while working on contracts. She graduated from Mason in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in finance, but got her first job in information technology and gained her expertise along the way.

Others have noticed her managerial skills.

“Teresa makes sure her staff is knowledgeable about their subject matter, informed about current incidents and situations, and provided with outlines, templates and check sheets to ensure thorough troubleshooting and communication,” says Amy Brener, ITU director of special VPIT/CIO projects. “This allows her staff to do their jobs without constant oversight or worry that they will miss something.”

In her spare time, Gibbons is a dedicated traveler. She has visited Ireland, Spain, Italy and the Caribbean. She plans to travel to Belize in less than three weeks with her husband, whom she married last April.

Gibbons will receive her award from President Alan Merten on Friday, April 2, at 11 a.m. in the president’s office, Mason Hall, suite D103.

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