Information Technology Services (ITS)
IT@UofT People — Alison Dias
Published on: August 17, 2021
The backbone of any successful team is its hard-working people. The University of Toronto’s Information Technology Services (ITS) unit is no exception. It is made up of a diverse range of people with an even greater diversity in their interests and talents.
In this segment, entitled “IT@UofT People,” we will get to know our IT@UofT team across the tri-campus community and find out more about their hidden or not-so-hidden talents and/or pursuits outside of work.
Name: Alison Dias
Department: Classroom Technology, Information and Instructional Technology Services (I&ITS), University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM)
Title: Multimedia Specialist
How long have you worked at U of T?
I’ve worked for the University for over 30 years and have seen a lot of change and growth at the Mississauga campus. It’s exciting to watch things develop over the decades.
What are your secret or not-so-secret talents and hobbies outside of work?
My main hobby is tennis officiating. I am one of three provincial coordinators, and I am involved in recruitment, teaching and training new officials. Currently, the tennis community is focusing on creating opportunities for females in officiating — encouraging them to continue in tennis after their competitive days are done. I am an internationally certified referee with the International Tennis Federation (ITF), and I am required to work at a certain number of tournaments throughout the year to keep the certification.
How and why did you get involved in this hobby?
I was a volunteer photographer at Tennis Canada. One day, as I thought about not wanting to carry my heavy photography equipment around in the heat, I looked down on centre court and saw officials calling a ball and I thought, “That looks easy enough; I want to try.” I’m happy that I finally got involved because I would not have made as many friends as I have if I had remained off the court.
When/how did your interest in this area begin?
I never played competitive tennis, but once I got involved in officiating and getting assigned to more professional events, I was hooked. The benefit of officiating is that you have the best seat to watch professional players and you are right in the action. As well, it has given me the opportunity to travel internationally and across Canada to visit different places that I normally would not have visited.
Do you have any professional training in this field?
Like anything else, you are required to learn the rules and get a lot of experience before graduating to the chair level. Your professional training really starts when you go on court for the first time. You start working at smaller events with junior players, and once you are more confident about the rules and communicating with players, you graduate to the next level.
After the Rogers Cup or any major international tennis events, many participants express interest in becoming chair umpires. The individuals who stick around and work hard are the ones who succeed in this business.
Who/what are your inspirations?
I don’t necessarily have officiating inspirations, but I admire officials who can remain calm and make effective and efficient decisions so the match can continue. That takes years of experience and confidence to achieve.
Anything else you would like to add?
I’ve worked hard to get to this level and I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished. My hobby involves long days, but the rewards are better than I could have imagined. I have been assigned to two Olympics so far: 2012 Paralympics in London and 2016 Olympics in Rio, as well as the 2015 Pan Am Games and numerous Davis and Fed Cup events that I will never forget!