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Carla Streff

Jim Curry

Carla Streff understands the importance of finding and getting help as a college student. In fact, she’s led the way at Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Neb., to make it as easy and accessible as possible for students to get answers and support with issues that come their way. 

Launched in 2014, the college’s Service Center redesigned how online and on-campus students, faculty and staff got help with questions. Instead of the traditional help desk that just covers generic issues, the new center is a one-stop shop for all questions and basic services, like checking college library books in and out.

Streff also works closely with faculty and staff across all departments to understand general questions that students have that could be more efficiently answered via the center. While some were concerned about losing face-to-face time, the consensus quickly became clear that faculty and staff were more effective and productive as a result of the Service Center. 

Today, the center hires up to 12 students to work in customer service positions, with opportunities to advance to more specialized roles like technical support, network and infrastructure, or instructional video support. As a result of its success, the Service Center received an ACUTA award, and Streff won the U.S. Bank award as an outstanding staff member, which is voted on by the candidate’s college at large.

Beyond the center, Streff is also instrumental in managing all learning technologies and instructional technology initiatives, where she supports faculty with things like flipping their classroom. Ask Streff, and she’s clear that one of the most rewarding aspects of her role is to support faculty as they advance their best practices in instructional technology. “Technology is a small part of it — you have to keep up with technology,” she said. “For me, it’s working with faculty and seeing the results from the students. We’re preparing people to get jobs and be successful and take new positions.” — Julia McCandless

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