It's no wonder that Donna Herbert's favorite books are mysteries. She spends most of her workday solving them. Like the crossword and jigsaw puzzles she enjoys completing in her spare time, Herbert relishes putting the pieces of a solution together. As manager of client support services in Baylor's information technology services department for eight years, she's come up with ways to solve to all kinds of difficulties.
"A lot of people will start their conversation with 'I don't know who else to call so ... .' Those calls are fine. It makes our day that much more interesting," she says.
Calls range from the usual telephone and computer conundrums to the occasional odd requests that come to the ITS Help line -- directions to a local department store, help for an overflowing commode and her favorite funny question: What type of bathing attire is appropriate for the Student Life Center?
After graduating from McLennan Community College in Waco in 1985 with an associate's degree in data processing, Herbert came to Baylor as an employee and then enrolled as a student. She worked as a data entry operator and later, as technology changed, a production services assistant and a Help line operator. In 1997, eight years after starting her Baylor education, she graduated with a bachelor's degree in information systems from Hankamer School of Business.
To keep up with the latest technology and the newest virus protection software, Herbert and her six or seven consultants take team-training classes and learn from each other. But much of the time, they learn by trial and error. "You play with stuff. The Internet is a great place to look for answers."
In 1999 and 2002, Herbert received the Outstanding Staff Member and Baylorplus Salute of the Year awards, respectively. "That one was out of the blue," she says of the latter. "Both of them were fun because it's what your peers think of you."
Herbert marked 19 years as a Baylor employee this summer, and she has her sights set on getting her 45-year pin from the University. "It's the only job I know ... I love the unpredictability," she says. And it leaves her time to spend with her husband, Mike, and son Hunter, 5, at their home near Valley Mills. "I like puzzles, any kind of challenge. And that's kind of what this job is for me -- 'Ooh, let's see if we can figure this one out.'"