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This has been a rich and illuminating discussion. A few observationsâ€¦
1. I commend to you the entire current issue of EDUCAUSE Review (http://www.educause.edu/er). Pressed for time? Start with Diana Oblingerâ€™s â€œChoosing What Not to Doâ€ as a concise guide to some of the most compelling issues before us.
2. Casey Greenâ€™s Campus Computing Project (www.campuscomputing.net) continues to be a very valuable resource. Opinions are like elbows â€“ most everyone has a couple. Caseyâ€™s recent post took us beyond opinions and led us to what the data tell us: noble intentions and actual execution sometimes are worlds apart. Genuine inter-institutional collaboration is really hard work and requires sustained effort. Iâ€™m reminded of Paul Saffoâ€™s famous admonition â€“ â€œNever mistake a clear view for a short distance.â€ (http://www.saffo.com/idea1.php)
3. Casey also named an elephant in the room â€“ trust. I wish I had a good answer for this one. Sometimes we academic IT leaders trust each other even less than we trust vendors. The late William F. Buckley once said (Iâ€™m paraphrasing here) that heâ€™d rather be governed by the first 2000 names in the Boston telephone directory than by the 2000 members of the Harvard faculty. And that wasnâ€™t just because he was a Yale man. If we donâ€™t deal with the issue of trust, the rest of our discussion will be mere white noise.
4. Speaking of vendors, a few times our discussion has veered dangerously close to demonizing corporations who profit by selling us products and services. I understand the temptation. At my institution, weâ€™re currently implementing a proprietary ERP system across eight campuses. We are also negotiating hosting services for our proprietary LMS. We and our vendor-partners are not always thrilled with one another. But successfully navigating our differences is critical to the academic and operational goals of my University. Weâ€™re business partners, with all the joys and sorrows that designation may imply.
5. Final observationâ€¦ isnâ€™t it essential for our key academic colleagues to participate in these important conversations about the future of IT in higher education? This is an opportunity to invite our chief academic officers, CFOs, HR leaders, and others to join us at the table. If our conversation is solely about technical architecture, sustainable economic models, and to source or not to source, I submit we will have missed a great chance to re-engage our senior colleagues in serious dialogue about nothing less than the future of the academy.
Thanks to all in this wonderfully diverse community for generously sharing your experiences, insights and aspirationsâ€¦ Bill
William F. Hogue
Vice President for Information Technology and CIO
321 Thornwell Administrative Annex
University of South Carolina 29208
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