The 2021 Dean’s List: 30 Higher Ed IT Influencers Worth a Follow
The role of IT in higher education has never been more critical or more prominent. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic forced universities to rapidly embrace more remote, online and hybrid learning approaches, schools around the nation were making — or starting to make — increasingly meaningful investments to bolster their IT infrastructure and the array of technologies they incorporated into instructional approaches. Today, however, the urgency has grown significantly.
From digital transformation to cybersecurity and issues around digital equity, it’s impossible to find a single facet of the higher education experience that isn’t in some way affected by a university’s IT or by the professionals who stand behind it. As schools continue striving to find new ways to add value for their students, faculty and staff, the influence of IT professionals will only continue to rise.
For our 2021 Dean’s List, EdTech: Focus on Higher Education has pulled together 30 higher ed IT influencers who are using social and digital media to inform, engage and inspire their colleagues and support their university missions and the students and faculty who depend on them. Below are some of the savviest higher education IT leaders, technology bloggers, podcasters and social media personalities you should follow. If you’re on the list, spread the news! And don’t forget to grab our influencer images for your social media pages or websites.
Adam Lopez is an esports coordinator and instructor at Irvine Valley College, where he leads the development of the esports program at the community college. His work centers on harnessing the potential of esports to promote career and technical education pathways for underserved students.
Amy Laitinen is the director of higher education policy at New America. She is a former higher education adviser for the U.S. Department of Education and the White House.
Baz Abouelenein is vice president of IT and CIO at Grantham University. His expertise is in improving organizational performance through innovation and technology.
Brandon Busteed is the president of Kaplan University Partners and global head of learn-work innovation at Kaplan.
Brent Warner is the co-host of The Higher EdTech Podcast and the DIESOL Podcast, which helps instructors teaching English as a second language find ways to integrate technology into teaching.
Christine Lee is a student influencer at Harvard University who creates content about online learning. She has a popular vlog series called College Diaries.
Danielle Leek is the dean of online learning at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College. She has tackled issues such as e-learning, enrollment management, student retention and student data security for more than a decade.
Eric J. Moore is an internationally recognized Universal Design for Learning specialist and an instructional designer at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He is the creator of the course Implementing UDL on Canvas.
Flower Darby is the author of Small Teaching Online: Applying Learning Science in Online Classes. She advocates for teaching with technology.
Gayleen Gray is assistant vice president and CTO at McMaster University. She collaborates with academic and administrative staff to ensure that the university’s IT systems, infrastructure and services are supporting the institution’s mission.
Helen Norris is vice president and CIO at Chapman University. She serves on the board of the Southern California Society for Information Management and on the governing board for the CIO Summit in Los Angeles. Helen is a regular contributor to the CIO Talk Network, where you can read her blog posts on technology.
Jenn Stringer is associate vice chancellor for IT and CIO at the University of California, Berkeley.
Jesse Lubinsky is chief learning officer at Ready Learner One. He is an international speaker and co-author of The Esports Education Playbook: Empowering Every Learner Through Inclusive Gaming and Reality Bytes: Innovative Learning Using Augmented and Virtual Reality.
John Solis is a senior academic consultant and instructional designer at Baylor University. He has been teaching in higher education for over 20 years.
Josh Murdock is an associate professor at Valencia College, where he teaches educational technology in the Educator Preparation Institute program. He also works as an instructional designer, helping the college build quality online courses. He has 14 years of experience teaching in online, hybrid, and face-to-face models.
Josie Ahlquist is a digital engagement and leadership author, consultant and speaker. Selected for the LinkedIn Top Voices 2020 list, she is one of the most influential voices in education on Linkedin.
Karen Costa is a faculty development expert who specializes in online pedagogy and trauma awareness in higher education. She is the author of 99 Tips for Creating Simple and Sustainable Educational Videos: A Guide for Online Teachers and Flipped Classes.
Kelly Flanagan is the vice president of digital transformation, CIO and a professor of computer science at Utah Valley University.
Kelly Walsh is the founder of EmergingEdTech, a popular website that publishes content on how to enhance learning outcomes through emerging instructional technologies. He is also CIO, CISO and an assistant professor who teaches digital literacy and business courses at The College of Westchester.
Kishonna Leah Gray is an assistant professor of communication and gender and women's studies at the University of Illinois Chicago. She is the author of Race, Gender, & Deviance in Xbox Live. Her research centers on social inequalities in virtual gaming communities such as esports.
Lee Skallerup Bessette is the assistant director of digital learning at Georgetown University. Her work involves faculty development, particularly in the integration of technology in pedagogy, as well as developing online and hybrid courses.
Maria Angel Ferrero is an assistant professor of entrepreneurship and innovation at the University of Montpellier in France. She focuses on active learning approaches, as well as use of technology and gamification in education. Ferrero is an editor at the Faculty, a Medium blog where academics and writers share thoughts on education, research and life in academia.
Mike Aguilar is the director of esports and co-curricular innovation at the University of Oklahoma, a new position at the university. Aguilar has been credited as a central figure in bringing esports to OU.
Nicol Turner Lee is a senior fellow in governance studies and director of the Center for Technology Innovation at the Brookings Institution. She was involved in the first national minority broadband adoption study in 2009, which was later cited in the congressionally mandated National Broadband Plan by the Federal Communications Commission. She is an expert on the digital divide in both urban and rural areas.
Paige Francis is ice president of IT and CIO at the University of Tulsa. She made thea 2014 Computerworld Premier 100 IT Leaders list, as well as The Huffington Post’s Top 50 Most Social CIOs list. Francis regularly contributes to InformationWeek, University Business and eCampus News.
Sara Goldrick-Rab is the founder of the Hope Center for College Community and Justice in Philadelphia and a professor of sociology and medicine at Temple University. She is the award-winning author of Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American Dream.
Sophie Bailey is a consultant and founder of The Edtech Podcast. The podcast has a following among international educators and education leaders, investors, policymakers, publishers, game developers and media.
Stephen diFilipo, a former CIO at several universities, is currently an owner and strategic adviser at Just Right Strategies, a company that advises businesses on the strategic adoption of mobile solutions, digital tools and social campaigns.
TJ Logan is an associate vice president for residential experience at The Ohio State University. He holds a doctor of education degree in educational technology from the University of Florida.
Whitney Kilgore is co-founder and chief academic officer at iDesign. She is currently researching education technology decision-making, microcredentials and informal learning in digital spaces.