Main Nav

I'll try to summarize the discussion so far.  Please note these are not my words; instead, these are a synthesized version of your words - the many wonderful contributions you've made to the discussion, and there are too many names and sources to list all here.  Please review the archive for attribution. 

Why we care about governance; we value:
  • Participatory decision making; we seek to avoid an IT Monarchy (Weill & Ross) even if it is a benevolent and successful monarchy.
  • Transparency.
  • Thoroughness in listening.
  • Alignment of IT initiatives and projects with larger university goals.
  • Collaborative decision-making to deal with the capacity-vs-demand problem.
  • Success; we believe a good governance model supports the success of our IT and makes the greatest possible contribution to the campus as a result.

What works:

Speak to Value

  • Convincing contributors that their input is valued; reinforcing how important the work of the committee is to the university.
  • Assuring participants that time spent will be valuable and rewarding.
  • Increase listening strengths by referencing any comments, ideas, and critiques within the rationale behind decision-making.
  • Encourage and extend IT discussions outside IT and into the community.
  • Encouraging and reward consultative and inclusive behavior.
  • Success evaluation needs to include penetration and utilization, in addition to user feedback.
   Develop committees organizationally
  • If creating advisory committees, understand the purpose, scope, life-span, decision-making responsibilities and process, and meeting cycle. 
  • Develop purposeful meeting schedules; don't just default to "monthly meetings" with no end-date.
  • Develop committees with an organizational and organizational responsibility viewpoint; don't just name a committee with a list of participants.
  • There's no magic number of advisory groups or required advisory group responsibility standard; work with your campus culture.
  • Create specialized advisory groups designed to focus narrowly at first, but with a mission that can expand in scope over time.
  • Rotate participants on short-cycles to avoid burn-out and issues with time management in demanding environments.
  • Consider removing committees and replacing them with self-interested individuals; they can form a committee if desired.
  • Enable participatory governance with roles for those "affinity groups" or individuals who are interested enough to actually investigate and learn about a project, service or system.
  • Use a representative model of participation; an individual participant represents the interests of an area.
  • Seek to remove the departmental orientation and bias.
  • Emphasize the consultative and advisory role.
   Manage priorities
  • IT coordinates the list of project priorities and seeks buy-in on the priorities from advisory groups.
  • Consider developing a standard priority value list that can be consistently applied to any project.
  • Have a defined path for escalation of issues, conflicts, and obstacles.
  • Recognize that every IT development requires an investment from the end-user community; match the pace of development to the end-user community investment.

  • Lack of agreement on or understanding of business endeavors related to governance by those who would participate in the governance model, likely at the middle-management level:  project sponsorship with a good business case, project management, cost/benefit analysis.
  • Cultural issues, as those outside IT weren't not sure of the need to share decisions.
  • Senior leadership rejects being constrained by having a firm set of projects and priorities.
  • Lack of an executive council, or the CIO not having a seat at the executive council if one exists.
  • Governance is perceived as an IT issue, particularly if the campus community is generally satisfied with IT and the value IT is providing.
  • Getting engagement due to priority silos and time constraints. 
  • Feedback mechanisms, including gathering, synthesizing, and measurement.
  • Challenges using models with remote, hosted, distributed, and decentralized technologies.
  • Technology trends that emphasize edge decision-making.
  • Commitment may fade over time due to lack of available time.
  • Perception that management guidelines are counter-productive to the academic process, controlling, and intrusive.
  • Challenging the status-quo.
  • Politics and leadership changes.

Additional Info:

Educause Search:

University of Edinburgh Toolkit:

Wake Forest Committee on Information Technology  IT Partners Council and IT Executive Committee 

Cayuga Community College

structure is:   and descriptions of committees are at: .

Campus Technology Magazine had an article by University of Georgia CIO, Timothy M. Chester, "Don't Dictate, Facilitate" (

Oakland University Governance and Priorities:   (see Priorities and Governance)

CIO Magazine - First Key to Agile IT Governance:  Stakeholder Satisfaction

CITE Slides available from Rick Bauer  

Enjoy the weekend!
Theresa Rowe
Chief Information Officer
Oakland University
********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at


Saw this Sat AM, so already into weekend....but thank you, Theresa, so much for this compilation!!! Best, Rob
Dr. Robert Paterson
Vice President, Information Technology, Planning and Research
Molloy College
Rockville Centre, NY
Thanks Theresa!  This is a great summary of the discussion... should be part of a CIO handbook for new hires. :-)

Brian Miller
V.P. Information Technology Services & CIO
Davenport University
6191 Kraft Ave. SE / Broadmoor Suite 270
Grand Rapids, MI 49512
p. 616.732.1195 | c. 616-821-2618

Hi all, Initially, I thought I had nothing to say about this subject (yea, funny isn't it – I don't have anything to say…) as I have had difficulties getting members to understand the technical aspects of IT to make strategic infrastructure decisions. As a result, they generally rubber stamp the infrastructure proposals. But as I thought about project priorities, we did something that greatly helped our project priority process. We created a project priority matrix for our administrative advisory committee. This committee composes of all the administrative departments in the university. They typically review the projects and commitments each semester. We have a very limited amount of programming resources and about 10 years worth of requests. In situations like this, each director tries to position themselves ahead of the other. This causes a significant amount of animosity between the departments. ITS is also accused of constantly being partial on way or another. About three years ago, we created a project priority matrix that attempts to quantify the project's importance as it relates to other projects. Criteria included: * Project Cost – software costs, labor costs, hardware costs, service costs. * Yearly earning potentials or cost savings * Focus – university wide, school, department, etc. * Impact – how many touches per year * Who is the sponsor? – director, AVP, VP, cabinet priority, etc. * Is there a marketing advantage? * Is it an ongoing project? * Does it have a legal impact? Is there legislation that requires this? * Departmental Priority – each department was allowed to submit no more than five projects. They were given X number of points to place on the five projects any why they wish. We also added a committee adjustment figure so the committee can choose to prioritize something more than others. Once the projects were prioritized, ITS would commit to the top projects based on the amount of resources we can put on projects for that semester. The final project list is submitted to the cabinet for their blessing. The cabinet may over right the committee and inject a more strategic project. About the third time we went through this process, one of the director's project was below the line. She lobbied her project in the committee. As a result of the plead, one of the other directors volunteered to remove her project so the other project can go ahead of hers. That is a very health discussion as they are now thinking of the impact to the university as a whole instead of just what can help their own department. By providing a larger perspective and quantifying the projects for all the directors, we were able to accomplish a much more buy-in than before. God bless, Sam Young CIO Point Loma Nazarene University ~ Individualization, Achiever, Belief, Learner, Activator ~ From: Brian Miller > Reply-To: EDUCAUSE Listserv > Date: Mon, 25 Jun 2012 09:19:19 -0400 To: EDUCAUSE Listserv > Subject: Re: [CIO] Governance Summary Thanks Theresa! This is a great summary of the discussion... should be part of a CIO handbook for new hires. :-) Brian Miller V.P. Information Technology Services & CIO Davenport University 6191 Kraft Ave. SE / Broadmoor Suite 270 Grand Rapids, MI 49512 p. 616.732.1195 | c. 616-821-2618
Hi everyone,

Sorry to be a little late to the conversation. I would like to offer up the governance structure that we started about 18 months ago. It started with revising the Office of Information Technology Values and establishing a standardized planning cycle with published goals. Additionally we created a high level Information Technology Advisory Council:

Portland State University IT Advisory Council

Charge and Membership


The PSU Office of Information Technology is an enterprise wide function and critical asset to the university. As such, it is imperative to have an advisory structure that cuts across the university in order to achieve university goals. The PSU IT Advisory Council (ITAC) will be appointed by the President to provide the Chief Information Officer (CIO) with timely input on the IT plan, policies, and project portfolio. ITAC will provide no less than annual reports to the President’s Executive Committee via the Vice President for Finance and Administration.
Members will be:
  1. Chief Information Officer
  2. Associate VP for University Budget and Planning
  3. Vice Provost for Academic Programs and Instruction
  4. Vice Provost for Academic Fiscal Strategies and Planning
  5. Vice Provost for Student Affairs
  6. Associate Vice President for Research and Strategic Partnerships
  7. Associate Vice President for Finance & Controller
  8. ACAIT Chair
  9. Administrative Priorities Committee Chair
  10. University Librarian
Members will be expected to attend all meetings. Substitutions on the committee will not be permitted.
Specific Goals for 2011-2012
  1. Advise the CIO on a set of IT Investment Principles.
  2. Develop and recommend a decision making process that is clear, transparent, and easily described by key executive stakeholders. Such a process must include methods for receiving recommendations from the Administrative Priorities Committee and the Advisory Committee on Academic Information Technology.
  3. Recommend and communicate priorities, commitments, and expectations to drive projects through to completion. Specific communication should be developed for the President’s Executive Committee and university community.
  4. Fully support adopted IT Plans, projects and policies.
  5. Provide input on the development of policies to maximize the responsible use of information technology.

Next, IT Investment Principles were established:


Investment principles shall mean those underlying rules, guidelines, themes or assumptions that the University embraces and promotes when investing in Information Technology (IT) related resources.  Those resources include the people, systems, solutions, training, education and support required to address the IT needs of the campus community.


  1. The University will always strive for the “best” value for the institution

  • Purchases will not be based solely on “lowest price”
  • Decisions will result in delivering the optimal mix of IT to create the best value for PSU
  • Total cost will be understood prior to any resource commitment
  • Portability, scalability, open standards, best practices, innovation and long-term supportability will be included in value assessments
  • Before making new investments, determine if existing investments will meet the need

  1. Impact Statement (including total cost-benefit) must be defined prior to investment
    • Analysis of costs must include:
      • all life-cycle costs (Total Cost of Ownership) for implementing hardware and/or software;
      • costs to prepare existing systems and/or people resources for new investment;
      • all project management and system implementation costs;
      • all expectations, roles, and responsibilities
      • all support costs post-implementation; and include exit strategy considerations (in case of system failure, product end of life, or migration to new system)
    • Analysis of benefits might include:
      • innovation value
      • decreased operating costs;
      • increased efficiencies;
      • business process improvement;
      • increased customer satisfaction;
      • better positioning for future demands and/or technology changes;
      • opportunity to re-purpose knowledge, skills and technology gained for future investments

  1. Investments will align with university and departmental mission, strategic plans, goals & objectives
    • All projects/purchases will also be evaluated based on Compliance/Critical Support/Upgrades, Security/Risk Aversion, Executive Initiative, ACAIT Recommendations, APC Recommendations, University Plan, Tech Fee Guidelines, OIT Plan, and IT Standards/Policies
    • Investments will align with OIT Portfolio and Project Management Policy including clearly defined roles and responsibilities and end user expectations.

This all led to the creation of a Project Management Office (PMO) that uses a standard methodology for project intake and disposition.

The clear definition and increased transparency has proven to be tremendously helpful in our overall governance.