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Hoisted by My Own Petard

This will be my final post in the “Got a Minute?” blog series: I am wrapping up my time as EDUCAUSE Presidential Fellow. I’ll spare everyone (including me!) the long goodbye; it has been a privilege and an honor to serve in this role advising EDUCAUSE President Diana Oblinger, the staff of this wonderful association, and my colleagues and friends in the membership. I thought, in parting, to leave you with the following story, hoping that it will have value as a cautionary tale. We do live in challenging times. See you around the campus.

Back in December 2013, I wrote a blog post titled “Risk and Compliance: The Threat of Mission Not Accomplished.” Little did I know I was foreshadowing my future. Quoting myself:

The CIO Pipeline, Part 3: Being Strategic about Plumbing

This is the final entry in a three-post series related to the CIO Pipeline Challenge. Part 1 raised the potential of a “fracturing” of the CIO role into component parts (strategist and plumber), and Part 2 addressed the need to broaden CIO recruitment efforts by infusing more academics (faculty) into the pipeline.

The CIO Pipeline, Part 2: Infusing Academics into the Pipeline

This is the second in a three-post series related to the CIO Pipeline Challenge. Part 1 raised the potential of a “fracturing” of the CIO role into component parts (strategist and plumber), and Part 3 will address the need for a different view of “plumbers and plumbing.”

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The CIO Pipeline, Part 1: The Strategist vs. the Plumber Revisited

This will be the first in a three-post series related to the CIO Pipeline Challenge. Part 2 will address the need to broaden CIO recruitment into the “strategist” pipeline, and Part 3 will address the need to take a different view of “plumbers and plumbing.”

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"I'm Just Going to Walk the Earth"

You may have heard that I am stepping down from my CIO position at the University of Maryland. Assuming that you did, and that we’ve been acquainted over the years, you are probably wondering about the details and if I’m OK. Let me provide some details of personal note in the opening part of this blog post, but in the second half I hope to describe what it is that I want to do next – for myself and also for our higher education CIO community. {If “TMI” gives you agita, just scroll down!}

Risk and Compliance: The Threat of Mission Not Accomplished

Following up on my last blog post, on governance, let me now tie in risk and compliance. CIOs certainly understand that GRC efforts and investments may not yield laudatory press releases and may not get their faces on the cover of trade magazines. So, Why GRC? Here’s why—a focus on the alignment of these three areas – on their interconnected nature—is key to staying out of less flattering headlines.

Governance Shutdown

The next issue of EDUCAUSE Review is focusing on governance, risk, and compliance (GRC). Within a CIO’s visible spectrum are many infrastructure and service items (i.e., the things that a campus community expects from information technology), but the three areas of GRC often encompass hidden dangers that can derail a CIO’s more salient activities. I’ll talk about risk and compliance in a follow-up blog post. Here I’ll start with governance.

"I haven't got all minute!"

At EDUCAUSE13’s opening general session, Sir Ken Robinson dropped many a funny line and entertaining anecdote—all while delivering a very direct message about how things have changed in our world due to our adoption and embrace of technology. One line stuck with me—“I haven’t got all minute!”—delivered to emphasize that technology has changed our level of expectation for how quickly we can find information or do other things that used to take much longer. We get a serious case of agita if we have to wait for a 10-count.

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Special Snowflakes?

Following up on my last blog post about the future of administrative information systems, I want to spur your thinking and comments about the core elements that significantly drive costs upward on these implementations. EDUCAUSE and I suggested that we all need to raise an awareness that IT spending is done in support of functions across the institution, not just in or for information technology. And that the spending is often being done by the IT organization because functional areas and institutional activities demand customization of the systems for their specific and diverse wants (which are often classified as “needs”).

On the Future of Administrative Information Technology

This is the first post in a new blog —“Got a Minute?”—that I will be writing from my perspective and position as EDUCAUSE Presidential Fellow. EDUCAUSE President and CEO Diana Oblinger asked me if I would use this platform to share some of my thinking on key issues and present some kernels around which the community could engage in broader discussion. My role, she said, would be to get the conversation started—even if I stirred up a little controversy in doing so. Be careful what you wish for, Diana!  I sought out the role of Presidential Fellow to do exactly that: advance the discussion of critical issues and challenges facing our profession in this second decade of the 21st century, at a time of disruption to the status quo of higher education.


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