NOTE: This is the SHASS In-Person Support Model. Details of our remote support model can be found here.

NOTE: This support model is typically suspended during the summer between Juneteenth and late August and in the winter during Winter Break and IAP.
This support model is only active during Fall and Spring Semesters.

NOTE: A hybrid version of our remote support model with limited in person support begins after the Juneteenth holiday in June and ends in late August and also during Winter Break and during IAP in January. For more details, please contact your DLC's SHASS Tech Liaison.

0) Our Role

The Dean's Office IT staff is committed to work in PARTNERSHIP with the staff and faculty of our SHASS DLCs. We are a very limited resource that supports half of School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. Our primary mission is to help EMPOWER users by teaching basic computing skills so they can do their work and take charge of their digital life.

I) What we do and do not support

What We Support

  • MIT owned computers on campus in our supported sections
    • Anthropology
    • Global Languages
    • History
    • Literature
    • Music and Theater Arts
    • Programs in Science, Technology, and Society
    • Women and Gender Studies
    • Consortium for Graduate Studies in Gender, Culture, Women, and Sexuality
    • SHASS Dean's Office
  • Installation of basic software from IS&T and troubleshooting of any buggy performance
  • Troubleshooting of malfunctioning hardware
  • Computer virus/malware infection mitigation
  • Set up of new machines and installation of computer operating systems (Windows or Mac) and Boot Camp on a Mac
  • Account migrations from old to new machines
  • Set up of email, backup, and anti-virus software
  • How to use MIT email on Apple Mail or Outlook and browser-based webmail 
  • Contacting MIT Property to deactivate old machines
  • Secure wiping of data and recycling of old machines
  • Basic troubleshooting of printers
  • Recommendations for and spec'ing new computers, printers, and peripherals
  • Tips and tricks for troubleshooting unusual issues that may be encountered by our clients
  • iPhone troubleshooting and email setups
  • Very basic Windows and android phone troubleshooting (there are so many different mobile devices, IS&T has a mobile team studying, troubleshooting, and solving issues with the plethora of makes and models of devices
  • Providing documentation as time permits for known issues and best practices on the SHASS IT website and the SHASS IT Documentation Site
  • Troubleshooting of wireless and wired network and email issues in our supported areas and reporting them to IS&T
  • Set up, maintenance, troubleshooting, security, updating, and life cycle management of DLC owned Synology NAS servers
  • Set up, maintenance, troubleshooting, security, updating, and life cycle management of the SHASS Film Servers and all associated backup systems
  • Make recommendations for machine cybersecurity configurations and user data backups
  • Electronic publication of recommended data security, infosec, and cybersecurity best practices for critical work systems
  • Email warnings and notices of cybersecurity threats or impending changes to vendor products that can directly affect critical work functions

What we do NOT support

  • Personally owned computers and/or off campus MIT owned computers.
  • Deactivated MIT machines.
  • All home networks and networks through third party providers like Comcast, Verizon, RCN, etc.
  • MIT computers on campus that belong to employees who are not in our supported areas.
  • Non-MIT owned computers.
  • Equipment in Classrooms. These are the jurisdiction of MIT AV/IS&T.
  • How to use your software. (MS Word, Filemaker, Adobe Creative Suite, etc) ( has great resources to teach you how to use software)
    (Exceptions are Email (Apple Mail/Outlook/OWA), VPN, Kerberos Extras, and CertAid)
    We may be able to assist with basic questions for other software if we have knowledge but we do not have expertise using many of these programs and we are not programmers. Odds are you will probably know your software much better than we do.
  • How to use any of the MIT academic or administrative web-based systems (Stellar, Cognos, etc). We don't have access to them so we don't know how to use them.
    We're always happy to take a look at an issue if you'd like us to give you our insights. Business help can be found by directly callling the Help Desk at 3-1101 and asking for "Business Help".
  • Setting up, building, or fixing websites.
  • Fix broken printers (for printer repairs, KSL is the official MIT printer repair vendor and can be reached at
  • Fix broken machines or recover data. We are not authorized Apple, Dell, or Lenovo technicians.
  • Physical transport of any machines anywhere for repair.
  • Contacting Dell, Apple, Lenovo, MicroCenter, etc directly to arrange for repairs. Users who need assistance with this process should go to ATLAS and see Bill Brid's IS&T in-person help team or the IS&T Hardware Repair Desk when it becomes operational later Fall 2023. Until then, we have heard that some of our Tech Liaisons have had success expediting the repair process for Dell machines by contacting the MIT Dell reps directly.
  • We are not movers. Users should hire insured movers with the right equipment and resources to move computer equipment between offices. However, we would be happy to help users set up their equipment again once it's moved. If you can take photos of the setup before it's diassembled, especially how things are plugged in, that would be extremely useful.
  • We are not a maid service and do not clean keyboards, monitors, windows, or furniture.
  • We do not make site visits to clients' homes off campus.
  • We cannot do your work for you. Our primary role is to help empower users to do their job by showing what needs to be done. For example, if you need to move 100,000 emails from your online email account to a local folder, we can show you how to do that a month at a time with the first month but you will have to spend the time to actually do it for the other 119+ months. Projects like this are not fast and can take days, if not weeks to complete a little at a time.

The MIT Way

MIT is an engineering and science institution that has a phenomenal humanities and social sciences program. Unlike all other institutions of higher learning, MIT places no restrictions or limits on what tools, software, or hardware can be used by the community. This creates an open ended unrestricted computing environment with numerous support challenges.

  • No one can know everything. There is just too much new technology, software, and hardware out there with more coming to market monthly.
  • Technology is constantly changing. Just when you think you know one type of system or piece of equipment really well, a new one comes along and replaces it with all new bugs, problems, and incompatibilities.
  • As a technology-based institute, the MIT culture assumes its users have a higher level of understanding of technology than may be the case. Consequently all development of tools and technology support is often designed with this assumption in place. The MIT culture assumes members of the community have the aptitude and desire to learn and figure things out.
  • Though the model in SHASS is a higher level customer service model than exists for many parts of the Institute, we have limited resources and rely heavily on our DLC Tech-Liaisons to coordinate appointments during our supported section times. To maintain the highest quality of service for our SHASS clients with the limited resources we have, we are a concierge-style in-person and on campus only IT support operation. 

II) Support Blocks

Each supported area has been assigned a single support block (morning or afternoon) where Dan or I will come on site to work on any and all IT problems.

The assigned support block schedule is as follows:

SHASS        Mon                 Tues                Weds                   Thurs              Fri
AM              New Setups      Anthro            GL/WGS/GCWS   STS               New Setups
PM              New Setups      LIT                 MTA                       History           New Setups

    A. In general, we aim to show up between 8:30am and 9am for morning slots (traffic and public transportation dependent) and between 1 and 1:30pm for afternoon slots. Morning blocks end at noon and afternoon blocks end at 4:00pm. We still have paperwork and client follow ups to complete end of day.

    B. Any new requests must be in the ticketing system no later than 3:15pm for any chance of us being able to help same day if we have availability. This also means the final scheduled start time for any appointment on any given day is 3:30pm.

    C. Dan and I work very quickly and efficiently so with the exception of virus infections and computer setups it rarely takes us the entire time block to address, resolve, or forward issues along to IS&T for further investigation. We will follow up with clients or IS&T for more complicated standing issues.

    D.During short weeks where sections may be closed and students and staff are on vacation like the week between Christmas and New Years, support blocks will be suspended as we go to an on call model. All requests for support during this time can be emailed directly to us.

III) IT Liaisons

It will be the job of the section LIAISON to track requests for IT assistance in their sections and prioritize them for us when we get onsite. You know your people better than we do, so if there's a support issue that's more important, please let us know so we can assist those users first. So far we’ve been able to address, forward to IS&T, and/or resolve ALL tech issues that the liaisons have brought to our attention.

    a) In order to maintain quality of service and fast response times, all REQUESTS FOR APPOINTMENTS must go to the section's IT liaison for processing. The Liaison will then send an email to the shass-tech-remote to request an appointment and we will get back to them to schedule.
    b) Faculty members CAN email us directly if it’s a simple question. (eg. Is this spam, what do you recommend for X, is this service legitimate, have you had any experience with this program, etc)
    c) As a best practice, complicated questions and issues (like email or calendaring not working all the time) should be handled in appointments anyway and should be directed to the Section Liaisons for scheduling.
    d) The LIMITS of our support coverage are with MIT owned machines on campus.  This is a practical limit. There are 2 of us and we support 7 sections in the school as well as the Dean's Office.  We simply don’t have the resources to support all home networks, peripherals, and/or personal machines and devices. HOWEVER, time permitting, we are happy to TRY to answer any questions users may experience at home with MIT work machines. BUT for more complicated issues we have to see the machine. This is best accomplished by bringing in the machine to MIT. On a very special limited case by case basis if the users can work with us and users can’t bring in a machine, we can attempt to work with a relative off campus while the user is on campus with us so we can convey instructions to them and they to us to try to troubleshoot the issue.
    e) With few exceptions we will NOT troubleshoot complicated issues over email. Due to differences in vernacular and terminology we have found that 90% of the time it leads to a frustrating experience for everyone involved.

If you are in this SHASS Section, your Liaison is

Section           Liaison
----------       ---------
Anthro             Carolyn
GL                   Jo
History            Kathleen
LIT                  Zach
MTA               John
STS                Paree
WGS              Stacey
GCWS           Melanie

IV) Onsite Appointments

There are 3 situations where out-of-cycle onsite appointments can be scheduled: (please carefully note the specifics)

  A) EXCHANGE EMAIL transition onsite setup requests should continue to be sent to Exchange migrations are a special project that we schedule outside of each section's normal support time. We will schedule the Exchange onsites as necessary. If you have any questions about moving to Exchange from the failing IMAP servers, please don't hesitate to email us. Remember that the old IMAP email servers are scheduled to be removed from service at the end of 2013. These IMAP email servers are failing and have been losing emails, in some cases entire accounts, so the sooner you get off of this legacy email system, the better for everyone.

  B) ALL EMERGENCY REQUESTS should continue to be sent by the IT Liaison to We definitely don't want to make anyone wait a full week before getting help for an emergency. Keep in mind that we may not be available right away but we will respond as quickly as possible. How soon we can assist will depend on our availability. Generally, we were able to assist users with their emergencies on the same day 80% of the time. This may change during busier times of the academic year but worse comes to worse each section will never have to wait more than 7 days for support.

    b1) Our goal is to respond to appointment requests within 4 WORKING HOURS of receipt of the request email. So if you send a request and we receive it at 3pm on Friday, we aim to have a response to you by no later than the following Monday at 10am, unless Monday is holiday.  In that situation we aim to have a response to you by Tuesday at 10am.

    b2) We must receive your request for EMERGENCY help by no later than 3pm on any given day to have any chance of us being able to help you the SAME day. If we don’t see your request until after 3pm, it is extremely unlikely there will be time for us to see it, respond to it, get to you, and attempt to resolve the issue.

    b3) An EMERGENCY is defined as any event that involves an impending deadline (1 week or less) coming up and someone being unable to do their job because their computer equipment isn't working. If there is no impending deadline involved, it's not an emergency.

    b4) Examples of things that ARE emergencies:

        i. Email or calendaring on your computer not working since you can't communicate electronically to do your job.
        ii. MS Office not working when you have an Excel report due in a week.
        iii. A virus or malware infection on your computer is always an emergency.
        iv. A NEW COMPUTER SETUP is always considered emergency status since either the new user has no computer or the old machine is out of date and needs to be replaced at the earliest convenience of the user. Please remember when you request appointments for new computer set ups that we will need a full morning block or afternoon block to complete the work. During that time you will not be able to use your computer. Please plan accordingly.
        v. A BACKUP DRIVE or backup program like Time Machine or Crash Plan not working is considered an emergency since we need to make sure your data is safe.
        vi. A malfunctioning computer not behaving as expected is always considered an emergency.

    b5) Examples of things that ARE NOT considered emergencies:

        i. If one of the printers you print to stops working but you can still print to another printer.
        ii. Office not working and the due date is 3 weeks away.
        iii. Consultations for new equipment purchases for new employees who won’t be starting for 2 weeks.

    b6) If you’re not sure, please ask.  It’s ALWAYS OK to ask.

  C) SPECIAL PROJECTS that require a lot of manpower signed off on by Albert and the Dean's Office. Examples of this include mass deployments or upgrades of new machines or mass wiping of old machines.

V) Alternating Coverage*

Under normal conditions, Dan and I will be alternating morning and afternoon coverage on a weekly basis.  We will continue alternating morning and afternoon coverage week after week.

*At the present time Albert is on campus Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays covering appointments in person. Dan will be on campus Wednesdays and Fridays. All requests for remote IT help should be sent to .

All requests for in-person appointments should be made directly to your DLC's SHASS-Tech Liaison who controls the duty schedule of who we see and when during your DLC's support time.

VI) Questions

It is ALWAYS OK to email QUESTIONS to us.  If you're not sure whether something can wait, email us.  If you have a question about a problem that you think you can resolve yourself, definitely email us if you're not sure or you need advice. Questions are always welcome and we firmly believe from practice that educated users are the best users. Never be afraid to ask questions.  There are no dumb questions.

VII) Examples

Some examples of the time it could take to perform tasks depending on things out of our control like if internet is slow, etc:

a) New machine setups will take between 4-8 hours to complete. Final length will depend on how much data the user has. As a general practice just the Mac OS updates and applications installs will take up the whole morning or afternoon support block. With Apple recently transitioning to new hardware, all new machines will need to be built from scratch. This means no applications or system settings can be transferred to the new machines.
b) Virus/malware mitigation is the full 3.5 hours and we may need to take the machine away if the infection is really bad.
c) Troubleshooting odd behaviors on computers including missing emails I would say 1 hour. This is not to say the problem will be resolved in an hour but we can usually figure out what the problem is and contact the right people at IS&T to see if the emails can be recovered.
d) TSM backup setups are about 1 hour.
e) Apple Time Machine backups about 15 minutes.
f) General questions and advice about computer purchases should be easily doable in 30 minutes.
g) Networking problems I would schedule 30 minutes with the user.
h) If a computer isn't running right and you want us to take a look at it I would say give us 2 hours to run some tests.
i) Setting up a printer, 30 minutes-1 hour depending on the size of the printer and office. This includes having to unpack, untape, and install all the components and settings of the printer and add it on people’s computers.
j) Setting up a user in Exchange email (on average), 1-2 hours. This will be longer the more emails you have.
k) Office installs, you should always plan 2 hours.
l) For most small pieces of software like Filemaker, 1 hour should be enough.
m) If the software to be installed is the Adobe CS Suite from DVD, 3.5 hours is required.

Please definitely let us know if anyone has any questions or concerns.

Click here to return to SHASS IT Home.

  • No labels