LSCR was founded in 1994, when Carol Christ (then Provost) and Eric Broque (the College's chief administrator), realized the increasing importance of computing to the College. They hired the first L&S director of computing, Sam Scalise, and asked him to develop the first L&S Computing Plan. Sam met with all L&S departments to determine their computing needs, and identified computing support for administrative staff as the most pressing issue. A cost-sharing arrangement was worked out to help departments get the support they needed without breaking the bank, and LSCR's administrative staff support was born. (Our current service most closely related to that initial offering is our Annual Desktop Support plan, which is still the single largest part of our business). LSCR also provided a Gopher server (which soon became a Web server), an email server, a calender server (Meeting Maker), and nightly backups to our customers (using Retrospect).
By the end of 1995, LSCR had seven employees, and we began to experiment with models for expanding our support offerings. L&S faculty were still under-served, but our hands-on support model that was working well for administrative staff was not as attractive for faculty. We went through several different support models, eventually settling (in 1999) on our current faculty desktop support, which is an hourly-billed, on-demand service, with almost 500 customers.
As our reputation grew, we were called on to expand into still more areas of computing. In 1997 we initiated support for Unix workstations and servers, supporting in part the million-dollar Millennium Project. Our current Unix services now involve a staff of two people, and several hundred hosts of varied Unix flavors.
The Web became more and more prevalent in the late 90s, leading us to initiate professional web design and development services. That operation has grew to a staff of three, working on a variety of large and small projects for departments around the College, before being reduced to one person by budget pressures.
Over time, the needs of our departments have continued to grow, and our staff keeps expanding to meet the demand. We grew from one person in 1994, to seven in 1995, to 12 in 1999, up to a high water mark of 18 full-time consultants in 2009. Budget cuts reduced the staff to 13, which required us to reduce or eliminate some services such as application development.
In 2007 we began a long-term strategic planning process, which resulted in a change in how we provide support; in 2009, we assigned each department a single person (termed a "partner") who is their lead person responsible for all IT needs. In most cases the partner is located within the department or in the same building.
In 2012 we transitioned to a new Comprehensive Desktop Support model, where all departmental staff and/or faculty are supported on an annual, per-FTE basis. This change allows us to provide more thorough support for departmental needs, while allowing for predictability of costs and expenses both for customers and for LSCR. This represents the culmination of five years of strategic planning, and should put LSCR in position to continue serving departmental needs for years to come.