Jan 25 2013

What Is the New Role of the CIO in Higher Education?

5 CIOs reflect on how their roles have evolved over the years.

What is the role of the CIO in higher education? EdTech asked a number of CIOs that very question at the 2012 EDUCAUSE conference in Denver. All of the CIOs agreed that the role is evolving, with less focus on hardware and software and more focus on vision and strategy.

There are a few reasons behind this shift. Because of the transition to cloud computing, most universities are handling less computing in-house. Email, for example, no longer requires servers on campus, but it does require a leader who understands how it works and what the future is. On the other hand, mobile devices are increasingly straining campus networks, necessitating the implementation of future-proof plans to increase bandwidth.

As technology changes, the role of the CIO changes, and these experts clearly have the perspective to bring their colleges into the future. Here’s what five CIOs said about their role in 2013:

 “All of our customers, if you will, have problems to solve. Our role is evolving more and more to be a partner in that and to help provide the right information for folks to make decisions.” Nancy Crouch, Wake Forest University
 “How do we improve instruction? How do we facilitate improved research, more research, quality research? How do we recruit and retain the best faculty, the best students? Those are what the mission of the university is, and that’s what the CIO has to worry about, as well as the issue of cost containment, which is clearly an issue of higher education.” Dennis Cromwell, Indiana University
 “In today’s world, a CIO is definitely a business leader.” Kamalika Sandell, American University
 “The whole focus of IT is no longer keeping the lights on, making the video go. It’s more helping the university fulfill its strategic mission, which is engaging in the classroom, which is helping the professors to utilize technology.” Thomas Hoover, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
“You see that CIO role as being almost a facilitator in essence, being the visionary and looking at the future. Where is the technology happening? What’s coming at us? And then also turning around and saying, ‘Now, how do I put this in place on my campus?’” Joy Hatch, Virginia Community College System

Watch more videos from EDUCAUSE here.

<p>Image courtesy of basketman / <a href="http://www.freedigitalphotos.net" target="_blank">FreeDigitalPhotos.net</a></p>

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