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Policy Focus at EDUCAUSE 2011

Do you work with policy on your campus, or deal with issues that are affected by policy?

Do you want to know the latest federal and state legislation that could impact your institution?

At this year's EDUCAUSE Annual Conference, October 19–22 in Philadelphia, there are well over thirty sessions, spanning the conference's three days, that touch on policy issues. I wanted to share with you just some of the topics that will be discussed. These range from general updates from EDUCAUSE’s Policy programs to more focused sessions that look at those issues that have a significant impact on IT and higher education today as well as emerging issues that we need to be prepared for tomorrow. Just some topics include:

Accessibility. This year, EDUCAUSE helped members to share accessibility concerns with Google and Microsoft, in recognition of the number of students who will be using apps and devices as part of their learning, and the need to ensure that these platforms are accessible for all our students. Making sure that our policies adequately reflect our need to provide accessible services and tools is of the upmost importance. At this year’s conference, you can attend sessions on web accessibility that touch on policy, as well as attend the sessions “IT Accessibility Law, Policy, and Implementation” and “Litigation or Equal Access: Where Are Your Disability-Related IT Policies and Practices Leading You?” for broader perspectives.

Security. One of the top concerns today is security for our electronic information. Part of this comes from the emergence of cloud computing (there are three sessions that discuss security in the cloud), and some from the massive amount of data that our institutions are now managing (see the session, “Data Security: It’s All About the Desktop”). But if you’re trying to figure out how to get started, there are two sessions that will share about how to develop a security program that you won’t want to miss (“Establishing an Information Security Program” and “Developing a Standards-Based Information Security Program”).

Privacy. Another key area of policy focus is privacy. This comes into play when considering cloud computing (“Privacy, Security, and Other Policy Considerations for Cloud Computing”), but also in identity management (there are two sessions related to privacy in this area; one focused on PII in a federated world, and the other presenting a case study of identity management). But our campuses and policy departments also need to be worried about balancing privacy concerns with freedom of expression, as in the session, “Privacy, the First Amendment, and Common Decency Online: Striking a Balance.”

Data. None of us can overlook the impact that data is having on our systems and policies. Three sessions at this year’s conference will look at these in issues, each from a slightly different perspective that you won’t want to miss: the previously mentioned “Data Security: It’s All About the Desktop,” as well as “Data Governance: Essential for Strategy, Policy, and Operations” and “Access to Data Tomorrow Means Good Data Management Today.”

These are just a few of the sessions on IT policy that you’ll want to attend while at EDUCAUSE 2011. Others on open educational resources, PCI compliance, online learning, campus policy, and more will be there. Take a look at the online program for more information and to mark your calendar. I also hope you’ll join us for our Policy Analysis and Advocacy Program Community Update session on Thursday afternoon, and look for us at meet-and-greet opportunities and other sessions throughout the conference. We look forward to seeing you there.

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