Thursday at Educause 2016: New strategic plan unveiled, CIO panels galore

Get caught up on sessions including Sugata Mitra's keynote and insight from new CIOs, as well as a number of announcements

Educause 2016 continued into its second day at California's Anaheim Convention Center Thursday, and while the news announcements slowed down, the sessions only got more interesting. As you'll see below, we found CIOs engaging in panel discussions on reshaping IT organizations, filling the leadership pipeline, and what new CIOs should be aware of, as well as a keynote from Sugata Mitra on the future of learning.

Richmond and Ithaca CIOs spotlight 4 cornerstones for organizational transformation

One of the first sessions of the morning, "Four Cornerstones to Transforming an IT Organization to Meet the Challenges of Today and Tomorrow" saw Ithaca College Interim Associate Vice President & CIO David Weil and University of Richmond CIO Keith "Mac" McIntosh, Ithaca's former CIO, discuss how they turned around the New York institution's IT structure.

McIntosh and Weil discuss Ithaca's IT strategic plan at Educause 2016.
Roger Riddell/Education Dive

While the transformation is still underway, it focused on, as the session's title suggests, the following four cornerstones: Organization & People, IT & Project Governance, Strategic Plan and Service Catalog. And it hasn't been an easy process, either. Shortly after joining Ithaca in 2014, McIntosh was tasked with eliminating a number of positions to flatten the organization, and his team constructed a strategic plan in only 327 days. Let that sink in for a minute.

“I would never do that again in my life. That was crazier than all get out," McIntosh told a crowd packed to standing-room only.

Keep an eye on Education Dive for more details as we continue rolling out our Educause coverage.

Educause unveils new strategy details, Sugata Mitra examines the future of learning

Newcastle University educational technology professor and 2013 TED Prize winner Sugata Mitra is perhaps best-known for his 1999 "Hole in the Wall" experiments in New Delhi, India, in which he and fellow researchers placed a computer terminal in the wall of a slum. They then watched children play with and learn how to use the computer before teaching one another how to do so, demonstrating then — and over the course of 13 years of ongoing experiments — that children left to their own devices are capable of self-directing their own learning. 

Before his session, though, there were a few more announcements from Educause.

But back to the keynote. Since winning the TED Prize, Mitra has built seven "Schools in the Cloud," and he provided an idea of those at the show along with a demonstration of the power of learning via the collective "hive" mind in "self-organizing learning environments," or SOLEs.

Though, as you might expect, the approach also has its fair share of reasonable critiques.

CIOs discuss core principles needed in filling higher ed's IT leadership pipeline

As a significant portion of the higher ed IT leadership population nears retirement, focus is increasing on filling the pipeline to replace them. In a Thursday afternoon panel, Stonybrook University CIO Melissa Woo, Queen's University CIO Bo Wandschneider and Calvin College CIO Brian Paige (attending virtually) reflected on a series of questions on what makes a successful CIO that they answered in 2012, when they were all second-in-commands to other CIOs, for an Educause Review article titled "Filling the IT Leadership Pipeline." The panel was moderated by moderated by University of idaho CIO Dan Ewart.

Higher ed CIOs Melissa Woo, Bo Wandschneider, Brian Paige (via computer) and Dan Ewart discuss the IT leadership pipeline.
Roger Riddell/Education Dive

In Canada, at Queen's, Wandschneider is seeing fewer CIOs from academic backgrounds and more people from outside industries, like government or healthcare, taking on the role. Woo noted that some campuses are prioritizing experience from more than one campus for the role rather than hiring from within, so it's worth keeping in mind that those aspiring to the position may need to move around a bit. Mentorship opportunities are also key to grooming prospective CIOs for the role.

Across the board, panelists agreed that persistence and perseverance, risk-taking and fearlessness, team-building, and communication and collaboration skills, especially when it comes to building relationships across the higher ed C-suite, are important. Additionally, CIOs must be able to see the big picture across academics and learning, budget and other institutional departments, as well as being empathetic to where campus stakeholders they serve are coming from with their wants and needs.

New CIOs talk lessons learned from leading so far

In another Thursday afternoon panel, CIOs Keith McIntosh (University of Richmond), Barron Koralesky (Williams College) and Sharon Pitt (Binghamton University) offered their experiences and lessons learned as people relatively new to the role of campus tech chief. Collectively, the four have experience across community colleges, public universities, liberal arts colleges and blended library/IT units.

CIOs Keith McIntosh, Barron Koralesky and Sharon Pitt share tips for those aspiring to the role.
Roger Riddell/Education Dive

Over the course of 50 minutes, they discussed the right time to try for a CIO position, what to expect in the hiring process and what to do during the transition to maximize success. Additionally, they shared 10 tips for those aspiring to the CIO role:

  1. Network!
  2. Create and share a technology plan
  3. Demonstrate leadership (while being yourself)
  4. Get a life (pay attention to yourself and your needs)
  5. Communicate (often, consistently and to everyone — and communicating also means listening) 
  6. Build a team
  7. Find small victories (build momentum; communicate successes)
  8. Learn the organization
  9. Culture eats strategy for breakfast
  10. Remember the interview

We'll have more details on their insights in the coming days.

Kaseya and TeamDynamix announce endpoint management and security partnership

  • With higher ed institutions increasingly targeted by hackers, IT management solutions provider Kaseya and cloud-based work management software provider TeamDynamix are partnering on a comprehensive, integrated solution aimed at simplifying endpoint management and security, according to a press release.
  • The integration between the Kaseya VSA and TDX Platform will allow institutions to proactively monitor and receive notifications about suystem issues, react quicker to open tickets, boost response times, and take advantage of a single systems and service management solution geared specifically toward higher ed.
  • The release also cites navigating the complexities of compliance requirements around HIPAA, FERPA and personally identifiable information as targeted issues in streamlining campus systems management.

New trends and facts about low-income students from Vibeffect

  • New data released by Vibeffect shows students across a broad income spectrum thriving in higher ed, with students from low-income households showing that, contrary to popular narratives, they are likely to thrive in public four-year institutions.
  • The percentage of high-thriving students overall in 2014 and 2015 remained around 20% across both years, and the research aims to identify patterns unique across income dimensions in order to help institutions better serve high-thriving low-income students based on their unique circumstances.
  • A full report is available here.

Rave Mobile Safety reveals new capabilities, expanded customer base

  • Rave Mobile Safety, which already has its campus safety products in use on more than 1,400 campuses, showcased a slew of new capabilities at Educause.
  • Among them: Campus Safety access to Rave Command View, which is used by emergency services agencies nationwide; upgraded analytics reporting capabilities; location-based alerting for Rave Guardian; and new outside source text, image and table insertion and premium SMS messaging features for Rave Alert.
  • The company also added 270 new higher ed institutions to its customer base, including Santa Fe College, Life Pacific College, University of Iowa, University of Texas El Paso and Barton Community College.

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Filed Under: Higher Ed Technology
Top image credit: Roger Riddell/Education Dive