Higher education IT departments have proved invaluable during the past three-plus years of upheaval, navigating uncharted waters to implement full-scale remote learning, support a mountain of on-campus technologies and push back against a rising wave of cyberattacks. Even employees considered outside the traditional IT world have become immersed in technology as digital learning offices popped up on campuses across the country to help get faculty up to speed to embrace the modern learning styles students want.
For our 2023 list of higher ed IT influencers to follow, EdTech: Focus on Higher Education has spotlighted 30 individuals who are lending their voice to promote the continued adoption and integration of technology. They come from various backgrounds with different levels of experience and take a number of approaches to spreading their message, but all are eager to share what they’ve learned to make higher education better for everyone involved.
Browse this year’s list of forward-thinking IT leaders, teaching and learning specialists, podcasters, authors and more, and give them a follow to stay on top of what’s next in higher ed.
Alexandra Mihai is an assistant professor of innovation in higher education in the department of educational research and development at the Maastricht University School of Business and Economics in the Netherlands. Her newsletter, The Educationalist, focuses on teaching, learning and professional development.
Brenna Clarke Gray is coordinator of educational technologies at Thompson Rivers University in British Columbia, Canada. She is also a researcher, public speaker and podcaster. Her podcast, You Got This!, supports college and university faculty through discussions on instructional tools, emerging technology and more.
Christopher Turner is director of esports at the Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, La. He advocates for esports through curriculum development, coaching, consulting and as the host of the Geaux Play Esports podcast.
Cora Kennedy, director of esports at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Ill., is an advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in collegiate esports. She is the director of diversity and inclusion for the National Esports Collegiate Conference and freelances as an esports photographer.
Dave Cormier is a digital learning specialist in the Office of Open Learning at the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada, where he champions open and online education. He is also part of the Future Challenges initiative, which is helping prepare universities and students for the future of higher education.
Ellen Yu has spent more than 25 years focusing on the application of technology in support of teaching and learning. She currently serves as CIO at New York’s Union College, a position she’s held since November 2010. Yu frequently publishes and presents on instructional technology with a focus on supporting faculty in their use of technology.
Fabiola Torres is a professor of ethnic studies and department chair at Glendale Community College in California. She has also served as a distance education coordinator.
Fernando Valenzuela Migoya is a thought leader and consultant who specializes in educational technology. He is also co-founder of the Global Impact EdTech Alliance, a mentoring organization, and Edlatam Alliance, a network of Latin American educational innovators. He was recently named 2022 Global Visionary of the Year by EdTech Digest.
James King is assistant director of audiovisual services for the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. A regular contributor to the Higher Ed AV Media website with his column, “IT in AV,” King also co-hosts the Ask the Programmer podcast where he discusses topics relevant to those who work with AV control systems.
James McCrary is the director of innovative teaching and learning at River Parishes Community College in south Louisiana. An Apple Distinguished Educator and Google Innovator, he is passionate about integrating technology skills into the classroom and positively impacting students globally with a focus on spatial computing and immersive development, particularly through augmented and virtual reality.
Jennifer Rexford is provost of Princeton University, where she has served as a computer science professor since 2012. Under her leadership as chair of the university’s computer science department, computer science has become the university’s most popular major.
Jihan Johnston is the co-founder of BeatBotics, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness of tech career pathways by promoting esports among underserved communities. She is also an esports education specialist for the North American Scholastic Esports Federation.
Josie Ahlquist is a digital engagement and leadership consultant and the longtime host of Dr. Josie and the Podcast, where she’s been discussing emerging trends in higher education since 2016. Ahlquist is a sought-after speaker and trainer who has championed purpose-driven leadership around the country.
Karen Costa is a faculty learning facilitator who focuses on online instruction and trauma-aware pedagogy in higher education. Costa is a podcast host, the author of the book 99 Tips for Creating Simple and Sustainable Educational Videos and the founder of 100 Faculty, a company offering speaking engagements, workshops and consulting services.
Karen Stout is the president and CEO of Achieving the Dream, a nonprofit that supports community colleges. The organization aims to promote student success and create vibrant communities by imparting knowledge gained through its members’ experiences, including Stout’s. She is the president emerita of Montgomery County Community College in Pennsylvania.
Kyla Guru is a computer science student at Stanford University and the founder of Bits N’ Bytes Cybersecurity Education, a nonprofit organization that teaches its students how to prevent and defend against cyberattacks. She is also the co-founder of GirlCon, a Chicago-based technology conference designed to bridge the gender gap in tech.
Maha Bali, an associate professor of practice and faculty developer at the Center for Learning and Teaching at the American University in Cairo, developed community-building resources for online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. She is also an editor at Hybrid Pedagogy and the co-founder of Virtually Connecting, which strives to widen access to virtual participation at academic conferences.
Marcel Mutsindashyaka is the CIO at Oberlin College in Ohio. A cybersecurity expert with a passion for closing the workforce gap and mentoring the next generation of cybersecurity professionals, Mutsindashyaka is also the founder of Umuseke Information Technology, a tech consulting firm based in Rwanda.
Mark Riedl is a professor at Georgia Institute of Technology and the associate director of Georgia Tech’s acclaimed Machine Learning Center. Riedl is an artificial intelligence researcher who focuses on how AI and machine learning technologies can interact with humans in a more natural way, something that’s gained added significance since the release of ChatGPT last year.
Raymond Pastore is a professor and the program coordinator of online teaching and learning for the instructional technology program at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Pastore has been teaching online courses for more than 20 years and shares some of that experience on his popular YouTube channel, which boasts more than 11,000 subscribers.
Rebecca Glazier is a professor in the school of public affairs at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Glazier is a faculty member in the Middle Eastern Studies program and the author of the book Connecting in the Online Classroom. In addition, she hosts workshops and serves as a consultant to help improve instructor-student rapport in virtual settings.
Roopika Risam is an associate professor of film and media studies at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and part of the Digital Humanities and Social Engagement Cluster on campus. A self-described “digital humanist,” Risam is also co-president of the Association for Computers and the Humanities, director and co-principal investigator of the Digital Ethnic Futures Consortium and the author of several books.
Stephanie Moore is an assistant professor in the Organization, Information and Learning Sciences program at the University of New Mexico. Moore is also a fellow at the Barbara Bush Foundation, where she focuses on the use of learning technologies to support adult literacy, in addition to her work as an online learning consultant.
Tolu Noah is the instructional learning spaces coordinator at California State University, Long Beach. A former professional learning specialist at Apple, Noah has taught in K–12 and higher education settings and brings that experience to her role supporting faculty at CSU, in addition to her work as a speaker, trainer and workshop developer.
Tom Andriola is vice chancellor for IT and data, and the chief digital officer at the University of California, Irvine. He is the former vice president and CIO of the University of California system and currently hosts the Digital Squared podcast, where he regularly welcomes experts to tackle topics related to data, technology and more.