Department Chairs relocate after Helpdesk move


Donald Worcester works with senior Daniel Galvez in the new workspace for department chairs, nicknamed the "fishbowl".

Amy Qiao and Emma Kim

   For several years, Chief Information Officer Denise Musselwhite and Librarian Reba Gordon have contemplated the collaboration of the Helpdesk and library services in hope to emulate other independent schools. This year, they finally implemented their plans by moving the Helpdesk, originally located in the Education Center, to the front of the Rich Library. Since then, both the Technology Department and the library staff have worked side by side to facilitate the inflow of students and faculty. 

   Since most students already spend a significant amount of time in the library, Musselwhite strategically located the Helpdesk to improve the accessibility of tech support. 

   “We’re in the space where [the students] are, so they think about getting help more because they don’t have to go out of their way,” Musselwhite said.

   To adapt to the relocation, the tech and library staff have had to effectively communicate with one another and cooperatively manage the flow of students. From this adjustment, they have begun to solidify a unified team.

   “We kind of have become one big family,” Helpdesk Support Donald McClenathan said. “Mrs. Gordon has been very supportive. Mrs. Milander is the comic relief.” 

   Along with adding a new printing and charging station, the Helpdesk has also installed a new doorbell system that connects the circulation desk with the back offices in the library. Gordon said the doorbell has helped prevent students from wandering in the library back offices where the Helpdesk Department now works with expensive equipment. 

   Associate Head of School Dennis Herron seized the opportunity to move department chairs Vanessa Spallone, Donald Worcester and Steven Krueger into a shared office space, formerly occupied by the Helpdesk. Herron hopes to reshape the role of the department chairs at Trinity to be more focused on administrative duties and to increase interdepartmental efficiency. 

   “We have been raising the stature of our department chairs at our school and going through a little transition,” Herron said. “Our department chairs are spending more time goal setting and evaluating teachers directly as a part of our overall strategy for improvement.”

   Without a “homebase” classroom to reside in, the three department chairs have now become “floaters:” teachers who do not have a single designated room to conduct classes.

   “Our newer faculty will have a class or space of their own,” Worcester said. “It’s better for us to float around than a new teacher to Trinity.”

  Following the relocation, the three department chairs have encountered some challenges. Krueger said that scheduling meetings has been the main obstacle he has had to overcome, while Worcester and Spallone said that they feel bad for the students who have been trying to locate them on campus since they are now floaters. 

   “Sometimes I’m so concentrated on my work that I forget to rush to study period,” Spallone said. “Students don’t necessarily know to find me here or forget that I’m here,  and sometimes I miss them. I have to put a timer to remind myself to go back.”

   Despite the issues that they have faced with sharing an office room, the limited space has actually given the three department heads a chance to interact more with one another. Given their proximity to each other, they can easily give interdisciplinary advice on how to handle certain situations.

   “The ability to connect with people in different departments on a more regular basis allows us to bounce off ideas that might be different in terms of problem solving,” Krueger said.

   Though adapting to the new transition has presented minor drawbacks, they still continue to enjoy each other’s company. 

   “Madame Spallone makes me espresso every once in awhile, which is always a nice treat,” Krueger said. “It’s certainly delicious.”