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#NJCommunityCollegeHeroes

A statewide community college initiative to recognize those who have provided noteworthy service to their communities during the coronavirus pandemic. 


Meet Bradley Morton
PCCC’s Vice President of Information Technology

Posted May 21, 2020
Brad joined PCCC at the start of this year and was only a few weeks into the job when he and his IT team took on the immense challenges and technical havoc caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
In record time, they transitioned classes and services to an online format and also provided guidelines and support that helped the PCCC community navigate the virtual world while barely missing a beat.
Brad and the IT team are undeniably NJ Community College Heroes and PCCC Superheroes.
In a recent interview with PCCC’s Marketing and Communications Office, Brad talks about his team, their pandemic response, and the ways they continue to develop tech solutions for the College.


M&C – What was the biggest challenge the IT team faced (so far) during this coronavirus crisis?  How was it resolved?

BM - One of the greatest challenges we faced during the crisis was the need to communicate effectively with students, faculty and staff and deliver a consistent message. This is true of any emergency situation.
 
The rapid move to working remotely and delivering instruction online and through video conferencing introduced many of our users to new technologies and ways of working. We needed to quickly provide assistance to students, faculty, and staff to get them up and running and to minimize confusion.
To address this need, we rapidly set up a knowledge base web site with support articles describing how to work remotely, how to set up and use Zoom for meetings, how students can access free wi-fi services from Internet Service Providers, and more.

The IT department invested many hours creating these support articles.  There was valuable collaboration with Elizabeth Pachella and Randy Jenkins related to online instructional resources. I couldn’t be more pleased with how quickly and how well everyone worked to create the support content for our community.

M&C - Has this crisis been the biggest challenge of your IT career?  If not, what was?   If so, what prepared you for this day?

BM - Hurricane Sandy still stands out to me as one of the greatest challenges I have faced. At the time, the institution I was working for lost power for several weeks. All our technology services were hosted on premises, so communication and course delivery was a challenge.

This reinforced with me the value of business continuity planning, effective communication, and designing services – not only IT services – to be resilient. This plays into our current IT strategy to establish services that allow for a digital campus.


M&C– Did being relatively new to PCCC add to the difficulty?  If so, how?

BM - Being new to PCCC has not added to the difficulty, at least not enough for it to cross my mind. I am fortunate to have a great team of people in the IT department, and they have established strong relationships with others throughout the College. Those relationships show their value in times of emergency, and the teamwork across departments has been wonderful to see.


M&C - What do you think has been the most significant accomplishment of the IT department in meeting the challenge of this crisis?

BM - What I value the most is the willingness of everyone in IT to step up and tackle new challenges and different job roles. Each employee in the department has been flexible, proactive in suggesting new ideas and strategies to help our PCCC community, and then been fairly autonomous in delivery of solutions. I’ll take that over any technical accomplishment. They are a pleasure to work with, and I cannot wait to see what we can achieve together.
   
M&C – The PCCC community is very pleased with the response of IT to our tech needs at this challenging time. What do you think enabled the team to respond so effectively?

BM - I am glad to hear the PCCC community is pleased, and I am also impressed with the IT team’s response and performance over the last 3 – 6 weeks. I believe the effectiveness of the response is due to the great people we have, not only in IT, but across the institution. For example, Finance processed purchases rapidly that allowed IT to get the new support site up and running in short order. Greg Fallon and his eLearning team made Zoom available to the PCCC community. There are countless examples of how departments across the organization did their jobs well enabling IT to be more effective.

We were also fortunate that the IT department invested in virtual desktop technology early on. While working remotely has not been without challenges, PCCC was able to quickly provide faculty and staff with computing resources and access to College systems.
 
M&C – How many years have you worked in IT?  Did you always work in higher education?

BM - I have worked in a variety of technology roles over the last 22+ years. I started in the private sector working for several vendors delivering technology solutions across multiple verticals including health care and higher education. One of the higher education institutions I was consulting with ended up hiring me as their CIO. That was back in 2003, so I have been in higher education for quite some time now. I feel like I have found my home in the county college sector. The mission resonates with me, and I find the work extremely rewarding.

 
WELCOME TO PCCC, BRAD.
Many thanks to you and the entire IT Team!

 
Interviewer: Linda Telesco
Photo: Luis Ruiz