So, You Want to Run an ID Card Office?

Posted By Wendy McCrory, Program Manager, NDSU Card Center/Software Services/Information Technology

So, you want to run an ID Card Office? You’ll need support.

My first experience with ID cards that actually did something was at South Dakota State University in the fall of 1987. I was a mere child. They had barcodes that allowed meal plan access. The company was Special Teams, which originated in Brookings, SD. It was a cool thing back in the day. Special Teams at SDSU was cutting edge. However, any account activity, fund deposits or plan changes, had to wait until the process ran overnight to take effect. The server looked like the IBM out of Hidden Figures. Can you image anyone waiting for that now? Those were the days.

As I was a dining services manager, I was not involved in ID production.  That didn’t happen until 1999 when Special Teams was awarded the contract at North Dakota State University and I moved back home to Fargo, ND. NDSU Dining needed someone to lead the ID card program and other have responsibilities within the department.

Some of us get to manage an ID card office – huge responsibility when you have all aspects of what the card does, i.e., doors, dining, declining balance accounts, etc. (see what I did there?)  Here, processes are segmented so we manage ID production and declining balance accounts. Meal plans are administered by dining and door access is managed by IT.

I don’t know what I would do if I wasn’t involved with the card office. It’s my connection to students. This is one of the first offices students see. They are familiar with us and return to the office to get answers more questions – parking permits, meal plan info, building and meeting room information. One of our favorites is the student who needed a little nudge in the right direction. “My mom hoped I would meet people like you.”

It’s such a great experience see them come in at orientation and again as a senior, ready to graduate in a few weeks but the ID card is broken or lost.  We get to see them again, catch up on their experiences and get another $20 out of them. Also, remind them they’ve paid fees for the career center and to make certain they use it.

I’m one of the card office managers who has other responsibilities, which takes away from focusing on the card office and furthering technology. Ok, so that’s a convenient excuse, but what does managing Adobe Creative Cloud licenses have to do with mobile ID’s.  The world of card technology spins whether I want it to or not.

This is where NACCU comes in. There’s so much I learn and see and talk about at conferences, read in CardTalk, glean from education sessions delivered to my office to participate in real-time or catch up with later on naccuTV. I am so fortunate NDSU and my division, IT, sees the value in this organization.

Change is constant – yeah, we all know that. Sometimes we drive it. Sometimes it drives us. A new building for classrooms and labs is nearly completed on campus. This will be the first building to use DesFire EV2. (And this construction took over the parking lot directly across from my office. Guess I’ll have to burn a calorie to get to work.)

When you get to a conference, you’re with others that know what you do 😊!  I’ve had 5 supervisors in 22 years and been in 3 divisions. It can take up to 2 years before its fully understood what we do. I walk into breakfast at NACCU and feel comfortable asking, “What about the printing time on those reverse transfer printers?” “Do you laminate your cards? Does it ever peel and take the student’s face it with?” “Do you have a file of unapproved online photos?” Ours is fabulous!  One for the books is the student with a donkey.  What was the though process there?

To manage a card office today, you need support. Generally, no one else on campus can understand what you do. You need NACCU.

Wendy McCrory has been in the campus card industry more than 22 years. She is a current member of the NACCU Board of Directors, and a graduate of the prestigious NACCU SAGs program.