Nov 04 2020

The 2020 Dean's List: 30 Higher Ed IT Influencers Worth a Follow

Here are the savviest higher education IT leaders, bloggers, podcasters and social media personalities you should follow.

Journalist Margaret Fuller once said, “If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it.”

Even before COVID-19 shut down campuses around the nation and the world, higher education was at a crossroads. Today, however, charting a new direction is more critical than ever. In a year without precedent — one that’s seen traditional instruction upended by a pandemic — there’s never been a greater need for expert thought leaders who can provide the guidance and expertise that higher education professionals need to navigate such a massive sea change.

Faced with a barrage of new challenges, university IT leaders and stakeholders are hungry for creative solutions and guidance. At the same time, IT experts across higher education are reimagining ways for technology to solve higher education’s biggest problems, from enrollment challenges to cybersecurity to student privacy and safety.

For our 2020 Dean’s List, EdTech has compiled a list of higher ed IT influencers who are using social and digital media to inform, engage and inspire their colleagues in the higher education field. Below are 30 of the savviest higher education IT leaders, 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.

Amy Diehl
Amy Diehl

Amy Diehl is associate vice president and chief IT officer at Shippensburg University. She is also a public speaker and researcher whose interests focus on ending unconscious gender bias. Diehl is a frequent speaker at international, national and regional conferences on the challenges facing female leaders. In 2019, she was a Central Penn Business Journal Women of Influence honoree.

Christopher Turner
Christopher Turner

Christopher Turner is the host of Geaux Play Esports, a weekly podcast that explores the emergence of esports in K–12, collegiate and professional sports. He is currently an esports coach at the Southern University Lab School.

Daniel Clerke
Daniel Clerke

Daniel Clerke is director of the esports program at Maryville University. In 2020, ESPN ranked Maryville’s team as the No. 1 collegiate League of Legends team in the ESPN college League of Legends preseason coaches poll. Clerke is also the general manager at Esports Entertainment, where he oversees talent acquisition. Prizes won by teams he’s recruited and managed at the professional level total $3.5 million.

David Maimon
David Maimon

David Maimon is the director of the Evidence-Based Cybersecurity Research Group at Georgia State University. His research interests include theories of human behaviors, cyber-enabled crimes and experimental research methods. In 2015, he was awarded the Young Scholar Award by the National White Collar Crime Center for his cybercrime research.

David Sherry
David Sherry

David Sherry is the CISO of Princeton University. From 2001 to 2008, he was vice president for enterprise identity and access management and vice president for enterprise information security at Citizens Bank/Citizens Financial Group, in Providence, R.I. He was also part of a security startup, Defendnet Solutions, which was one of the first managed network security firms in the country.

Dustin Ramsdell
Dustin Ramsdell

Dustin Ramsdell is a higher education blogger and host of the Higher Ed Geek podcast, where he interviews higher education professionals with a focus on technology. His content covers topics ranging from digital enrollment to student success. He is also the senior director of student affairs at Noodle Partners, which supports online and hybrid instruction in higher education.

Freada Klein
Freada Klein

Freada Klein is the founder of the Level Playing Field Institute. She is also the founder of SMASH, which provides rigorous STEM education on university campuses across the country to prepare underrepresented students of color for college-level classes

Gillian “Gus” Andrews
Gillian “Gus” Andrews

Gillian “Gus” Andrews is a public educator, researcher and digital security trainer. Andrews produces The Media Show, an award-winning media literacy series on YouTube. She also has a blog that covers security and usability design. In April 2020, she published Keep Calm and Log On, a handbook on cybersecurity and digital self-empowerment.

Haben Girma
Haben Girma

The first deaf and blind person to graduate from Harvard Law School, Haben Girma is a human rights lawyer advancing disability justice. She is the author of Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law. Girma believes disability is an opportunity for innovation and advocates for accessibility and inclusion in arenas including higher education.

Helen Patton
Helen Patton

Helen Patton is the CISO of The Ohio State University. With more than 20 years of experience in the security, risk and resiliency arena, Patton is an expert in managing information, technology and operational risk for global organizations. Her work also focuses on collaborating with board members, students, employees and partners to promote an inclusive work environment.

James O’Hagan
James O’Hagan

James O’Hagan is the founder of The Academy of Esports, a podcast covering how esports is redefining athletic culture, diversifying opportunities for student participation and increasing collegiate scholarship pathways. An educator for 20 years, O’Hagan is a national speaker on a variety of topics involving the intersection of technology and education.

Jenna Linskens
Jenna Linskens

Jenna Linskens holds a doctorate in education technology and e-learning. She provides staff development training to support technology implementation, integration and pedagogical practices. She taught graduate courses on educational technology for seven years at Marian University in Wisconsin.

Joe Marquez
Joe Marquez

Joe Marquez is the director of academic innovation at Computer-Using Educators, a nonprofit educational corporation founded in 1978. He is the host of the Sons of Technology podcast, which advocates for collaboration, student innovation and change in classroom pedagogy.

Joe Way
Joe Way

Joe Way is the director of learning environments at University of Southern California and the co-founder of the Higher Education Technology Managers Alliance, which seeks to raise awareness of technology issues unique to the higher education community. He was recognized as the 2019 AVNation AV Professional of the Year and is the author of the book Producing Worship: A Theology of Church Technical Arts. He serves on the AVIXA Technology Managers Council and the AVIXA Diversity Council.

Keith W. McIntosh
Keith W. McIntosh

Keith W. McIntosh is vice president for information services and CIO at the University of Richmond. He is a co-author of the report, “Diversity in Higher Education Information Technology: From Today’s Workforce to Tomorrow’s Leaders.” He works with university leadership to ensure that IT investments remain ambitious and aligned with the institution’s strategic objectives.

Laura Gogia
Laura Gogia

Laura Gogia is the research director for learning technologies and student success at the Tambellini Group. Laura also served as the Director of LX Innovation at iDesign, where she created “The iDEA Book,” an OER resource for online instructional design.

Laura Pasquini
Laura Pasquini

Laura Pasquini is a digital learning consultant and coach. Her research focuses on how knowledge, technology and community influence learning and performance. Pasquini helps organizations and teams identify performance gaps and develop effective learning solutions.

Leigh A. Hall
Leigh A. Hall

Leigh A. Hall is a professor at the University of Wyoming and holds the Wyoming Excellence in Higher Education Endowed Chair in Literacy Education. She is an impassioned advocate for education technology and online learning. Her blog, Teaching Academia, supports faculty development.

Mark Deppe
Mark Deppe

Mark Deppe is director of esports at the University of California, Irvine and commissioner of the North America Scholastic Esports Federation. He was the first to create an official esports program at a public research institution.

Melissa Woo
Melissa Woo

Melissa Woo is the executive vice president for administration and CIO at Michigan State University. As the winner of EDUCAUSE’s 2019 DEI Leadership Award, Woo’s inspirational leadership has helped improve diversity, equity, and inclusion across the higher education IT community.

Michelle Miller
Michelle Miller

Michelle Miller is a psychology professor at Northern Arizona University. She is the author of Minds Online: Teaching Effectively with Technology. Her research interests include memory, attention and student success in the early college career.

Michelle Pacansky-Brock
Michelle Pacansky-Brock

Michelle Pacansky-Brock is an educator whose research focuses on humanizing online teaching and learning. A former community college teacher, she now focuses on faculty development. She is committed to supporting faculty in the cultivation of equity-minded online learning experiences that support the diverse needs of college students.

Mordecai Ian Brownlee
Mordecai Ian Brownlee

Mordecai Ian Brownlee is vice president for student success at St. Philip's College, the nation’s only college federally designated as both a historically Black college and  a Hispanic-Serving Institution. During his tenure, Brownlee has shattered records by helping St. Philip’s College enroll more than 13,500 students. Each week, he releases videos covering higher education, leadership and student success.

Raechelle Clemmons
Raechelle Clemmons

Raechelle Clemmons is the vice president of the Tambellini Group. Over the past 10 years, she has served as CIO at Texas Woman’s University, Davidson College, St. Norbert College and Menlo College. She is a diversity, equity and inclusion advocate recognized as one of the most “social CIOs” on Twitter.

Randy Marchany
Randy Marchany

Randy Marchany is the CISO of Virginia Tech. He has been a SANS Institute Instructor since 1995. Marchany is the co-author of the FBI/SANS Institute’s “Top 10/20 Internet Security Vulnerabilities,” a guide that is considered a standard for most computer security and auditing software.

Sharon Pitt
Sharon Pitt

Sharon Pitt is vice president of IT and CIO at the University of Delaware. She is a past chair of EDUCAUSE’s Higher Education Information Security Council and is a board member of the New York State Education and Research Network. She is also a member of the EDUCAUSE Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force.

Steven Burrell
Steven Burrell

Steven Burrell is Northern Arizona University’s CIO and vice president for IT. He prioritizes using technology to improve student success in higher education, especially in tribal communities. He has more than 35 years of experience in higher education technology administration, with 26 of those as the highest ranking technology officer.

Thomas J. Tobin
Thomas J. Tobin

Thomas J. Tobin is the program area director for distance teaching and learning on the Learning Design, Development and Innovation team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is an internationally-recognized author, speaker and scholar who focuses on increasing quality and access in higher education. His expertise covers the evaluation of online teaching, universal design for learning and intellectual property. He currently serves on the editorial boards of InSight: A Journal of Scholarly Teaching and the Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration. 

Tina Pappas
Tina Pappas

Tina Pappas is the associate director of innovation and technology at Rutgers University–Newark. Last year, EDUCAUSE awarded her the 2019 Rising Star Award for her commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in the IT workplace. She is a co-founder of the Anti-Racism in Academia program, a five-part discussion series taking place through January 2021 on how to build a more understanding and inclusive community in higher education.

Torrey Trust
Torrey Trust

Torrey Trust is an associate professor of learning technology in the department of teacher education and curriculum studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s College of Education. Trust has served as a professional learning network leader for the International Society for Technology in Education for five years, including a two-year term as president of the Teacher Education Network.