CSU Honors IT Specialist as Emerging Technology Leader
Amidst the wires, lights, and hundreds of servers in Butte Hall’s fourth floor data center, Scott Claverie is truly in his element.
As Chico State’s director of Computing and Communications Services, the affable and bespectacled Claverie leads a team that meets and anticipates the campus’ technological challenges—from communications and emerging technologies to data storage and safety—with eyes always scanning for new possibilities. And that often means collaborating with his counterparts around the California State University (CSU) system.
At this summer’s annual Cal State Tech Conference 2019, Claverie and more than 400 other CSU IT professionals gathered in San Diego to explore opportunities and creative solutions for problems they all face.
“This also gives us an opportunity to work more closely together, even if we’re not trying to find solutions to problems for some of our challenges,” he said. “It brings us the opportunity to get together and strategically plan on needs we’re seeing across the system.”
While he was there, Claverie was also honored with the Emerging Campus Technology Leader Award, recognizing his participation and collaboration with his IT colleagues around the entire CSU system.
“I couldn’t have been recognized for my accomplishments if it weren’t for the people here on campus, as well as in the CSU,” said Claverie, who is also the director of the CSU’s Cloud Acceleration Center. “How I’ve been recognized is really a collaborative effort between the initiatives that we have going on here, the departments and personnel that I work with directly and indirectly, as well as my counterparts and colleagues across the CSU.”
Originally hired by Chico State 23 years ago for his expertise in telephony, Claverie’s acumen has evolved and grown in pace with communication technologies. His collection of old business cards and marketing memorabilia (“Fly Through the Semester with CNS!” screams a teal Frisbee from 1997, touting the University’s new telephone and voicemail package, including premium modem service) represents a timeline of his work to push Chico State to the forefront of communications advances.
And while it seems logical to assume his passion is technology and communication, instead he leads with his ability to connect with people, understand their challenges, and then figure out how IT dovetails into the requirements and needs of the solution.
“My passion really is helping people,” he said. “That’s what I think I do best—understanding what their problem is and figuring out a solution.”
This can often be daunting. As many as 45,000 unique wireless devices per month attempt to access the University’s network through more than 1,200 access points. Claverie’s team is responsible for ensuring quick and effective communication and data safety for over 9,700 on-campus workstations for faculty, staff, and student employees—not to mention personal electronic devices. And when things don’t work the way they should, they jump into customer service mode.
“We processed more than 3,500 tickets last year,” Claverie said, “reacting to and supporting campus needs.”
Then, there are the University’s 17,200 students and their devices.
“When the students come to campus, there is an expectation like they have at home—that they can get on wireless no problem,” Claverie said. “It’s a laptop, it’s a cell phone, it’s a tablet, it’s an Apple Watch—those are the devices that connect up to the network. So we need to stay ahead of the curve, to make sure that our infrastructure is built to the point where we can support all these particular devices.”
With an average of 3.2 devices per student on campus, the demand for reliable wireless services can be overwhelming. Skyrocketing demand for data and dwindling ability to store it all—and to do it safely—led Claverie to search for solutions with his campus and CSU colleagues.
A few years ago, the University began offloading campus services—including Microsoft Office 365 and, more recently, Box—into the cloud, easing the strain on the campus IT infrastructure, while ensuring University data was backed up in case a catastrophic event wiped out the campus data center.
Andy Miller, associate vice provost for Information Resources, often collaborates with Claverie and said he is an ideal colleague who works to find technical solutions to solve campus needs and provide new and improved services.
“Any time I’m working on a project that requires Scott’s input or requires his team’s time, he’s always quick to partner with us,” Miller said. “He’s a team player, his ego never gets in the way, and he always has an eye on the greater good of the campus.”
Quick to brush off any well-deserved praise, Claverie said he’s part of a larger team focused on moving the needle and responding to the University’s ever-growing communications demands.
“In order to have this success and be recognized as an emerging leader, you have to have the same passion that’s spread across the CSU,” Claverie said. “So as long as I have my true North set and there are other like-minded people that share the same passion, it’s easy to lead.”
Amid all the time he spends in his Butte Hall office or tethered to a computer, he said one of his great rewards is watching students walk across the Commencement stage. Because, whether those students know it, Claverie had a hand in their success on campus.
“Just to know that in some way behind the scenes, [delivering] computing and communication services to people has helped this institution greatly,” he said. “So that’s what really drives me, that’s my passion.”