09:33 AM

UHCL IT specialist guides first-time project managers at national conference

"Accidental" project managers at colleges and universities nationwide learned to take a potentially stressful task and turn it into a career-building opportunity with recent help from a University of Houston-Clear Lake expert.

Ed Puckett, director of Web and Multimedia Services in University Computing and Telecommunications, offered guidance for first-time project leaders at the national EDUCAUSE Annual Conference that took place virtually Oct. 27-29.

Puckett said that often, people are given a project and simply told to make the best of it, even if they're not sure how to go about managing it. "It can be a career builder if you can do this, but there are many lessons that are learned the hard way," he said. "Our presentation talked about what things someone who is taking on a project for the first time should know in order to be successful."

The aim of the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference is to convene professionals in the area of higher education/academic information technology to explore issues, discuss challenges, consider solutions and develop professionally.

"I'm an IT project manager, so I belong in a community group of other professionals like me who come together monthly and discuss best practices," Puckett said. "EDUCAUSE hosted a Community Day, allowing each community group to make a presentation to all the attendees. Our presentation, the 'Accidental Project Manager,' was a collaborative effort with partners from California State University, University of Michigan, and Bowling Green State University."

Puckett said that since EDUCAUSE is a national conference with high attendance, he hoped the presentation would afford the university more widespread notoriety. "We want to get UHCL's name out there, and it's also important for our university to know that its IT department is working with other universities to prepare content in our sector," he said. "We have added to the literature and knowledge base in the area of project management in IT. We were inspired by the knowledge that a lot of novice project managers really need the information we talked about."

"Mr. Puckett is an example of the brilliant talent in UCT and at UHCL," said Assistant Vice President for Information Technology/Chief Information Officer LeeBrian Gaskins. "EDUCAUSE is the premier forum for technology issues in higher education, and we were thrilled to have one of our staff present at this international forum."

The mission of University Computing and Telecommunications is to enhance teaching through technology. For more information about UCT at UHCL, go online.