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Exit, Stage Left

September 10, 2013 by Bruno Browning

Exit, Stage Left

Karen Tusack will be entering a well-earned retirement later this week. All of us here at LSS, and a great many others around the College and the rest of campus, will miss her and wish her all the best in the years ahead.

Karen's tenure here has been a long and varied one. She first came to work here, part-time, in the mid-70s, shortly after entering graduate school in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. Our department was then known as the Labs for Recorded Instruction (LRI) and was noted for its state-of-the-art dial-in system which allowed students to listen to (reel-to-reel!) audiotapes over the telephone without having to physically come to the lab. In 1985 Karen was hired into a full-time position as a librarian in LRI, which the next year was renamed as Learning Support Services (LSS). By that time the dial-in system was gone, replaced by massive duplication of audiocassette tapes; Karen was active in the development of the library database that made circulating thousands of tapes a week possible. She did the lion's share of the work in computerizing the checkout system for the LSS AV Pool, which until that time had relied on a cumbersome and fallible paper-based system for tracking reservations. That system has been rewritten twice since then to take advantage of newer technologies, but the basic structures that Karen put in place in the late ‘80s remain in use today.

Karen's love for technology caused her to apply, successfully, for an opening we had for a microcomputer specialist in 1991. Since then she has been an integral part of that aspect of LSS and all the changes that evolving technology and an evolving College environment have caused. She was with us for the lifecycle of our IN TIME grant program, through the process of refocusing the department on instructional support, and through the rise of the Web and everything it represents. She has been active in ComETS since its inception and recently founded its Distance Learning SIG, and of late has represented the College on the campus Moodle Council. Karen has also been active in academic staff governance, recently serving as co-Chair of the Compensation and Economic Benefits Committee.

Karen's retirement is something of a marker for the passing of an era, as she is our last staff member who remembers the LRI days. She is to be commended for remaining engaged with changing technologies and environments for so long. Her retirement is especially poignant for me, since I first met her shortly after she began working at LRI and have been her colleague at LSS in various capacities since shortly after she became full-time. Please join me in wishing her all the best for a long and happy retirement.


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