1. Make Technology a Routine Part of Board Meetings
Technology should almost always be part of the conversation. Making it a routine agenda item, on its own and in the context of other topics, sends a message that technology is integral to institutional success.
This practice also has the benefit of educating trustees and other campus leaders about key aspects and priorities of IT, such as cybersecurity. The importance of data security, for example, should be top of mind for trustees all the time — not only after a data breach. By keeping technology at the forefront, IT leaders can help trustees do their jobs better by being as informed as possible about important issues.
Rather than talk in the abstract about the need for technology, IT leaders should discuss technology in concrete terms, particularly how it relates to campus operations. IT leaders have an important role to play in helping trustees understand technology — with a minimum of jargon.
For instance, if increasing enrollment is a priority, the conversation could include a review of institutions that have used artificial intelligence–powered chatbots to minimize summer melt. If student retention in STEM courses is a focus, leaders can point trustees toward success stories in which digital nudges have improved STEM performance.
2. Enlist Campus Stakeholders to Present a Full Picture of Objectives
IT leaders should already be having regular conversations with academic and department heads about their goals and how technology solutions can help to attain them. Getting clear, detailed and timely information from these stakeholders also helps IT leaders make a stronger case to the board.
As an article in Nonprofit Hub notes, “know what you want” and why you want it: “Do your research when it comes to what tools are out there so you know which ones provide the best value for [your] organization. Remember that return-on-investment is of utmost importance to board members, so showing them projected results should be a primary component of your proposal.”