LabMan 2014: a conference report

LabMan 2014 logo

LabMan 2014 was held at UNLV.

[Ed. Note: this article was written by Haynes Chewning, Robin Horton, and Tara McCurley.]

At the beginning of June, a group from Student Services consisting of Haynes Chewning, Robin Horton, and Tara McCurley went to Las Vegas, NV, to attend the 2014 LabMan conference hosted at University of Nevada.

The LabMan organization formed in 2000 as a resource for any IT organization based in education. Migrating to different host campuses each year, the LabMan Conference acts as a rallying point for managers of computer labs large and small. In addition to overseers of labs, the conference attendees hold roles like director, network engineer, student manager, and others interested in sharing experiences and information with peers from other institutions.

Our group, along with other attendees, participated in a campus tour, which delved into the labs, library spaces, and audio/video recording studios that make up the university. With five keynote addresses and numerous sessions, the conference was bursting with content to keep us occupied. Keynote topics ranged from celebrating victories, fostering our creativity outlets, and the impact IT providers have on the futures of the students we support.

Photo of conference attendees during a keynote address

LabMan conference attendees during a keynote address.

Through the sessions we were able to learn about how other educational institutions are implementing virtual environments, exciting updates to tools we currently use, and interesting tools we currently do not use. The sessions also informed us on the new ways institutions are managing computers, students, or making processes more efficient.

Most importantly, however, our group learned how other institutions are grappling with some of our same questions regarding how to maximize the value of our student spaces and the introduction of new technologies like 3D printing.

Next year’s conference will be located at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. Even as the current conference wrapped up, participants were already discussing the possibilities for the next one. Each year brings new topics, born and cultivated from the group’s listserv. Furthermore, LabMan conferences are a great place to gain perspective to see how the decisions made at one institution compare to those made at other institutions.

Each year participants help one another to become better technologists and find new and better ways to support students. The shared knowledge and learning opportunities are what make the LabMan conference invaluable for lab managers across the globe and keep people going year after year.

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