EDUCAUSE President and CEO Search

EDUCAUSE is a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education through the use of information technology.

Updated 20 January, 2015

Dr. John O’Brien Selected as New President and CEO of EDUCAUSE
Board of Directors announces selection following a six-month search

The EDUCAUSE Board of Directors today announced the selection of Dr. John O’Brien as the next president and CEO of the higher education technology association. O’Brien will succeed Dr. Diana G. Oblinger, who will retire May 31, 2015 after serving in the role since January 2008. O’Brien will assume his new position June 1.


Search Committee

  • Chair: Debra Allison, Vice President for Information Technology and CIO Emerita, Miami University
  • Kara Freeman, Vice President of Administration and CIO, American Council on Education
  • Diane Graves, Assistant Vice President for Information Resources and University Librarian, Trinity University
  • Joel Hartman, Vice Provost and CIO, University of Central Florida
  • Joy Hatch, Vice Chancellor, Information Technology Services, Virginia Community Colleges System
  • Barron Koralesky, Associate Director of Information Technology Services, Macalester College
  • Bruce Maas, CIO and Vice Provost for Information Technology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Susan Metros, Associate Vice Provost, Associate CIO, Professor, University of Southern California
  • Tracy Schroeder, Vice President of Information Services and Technology, Boston University
  • Justin Sipher, Vice President of Libraries and Information Technology, St. Lawrence University


Job Profile: President and CEO of EDUCAUSE

Download this job profile in PDF.

Position Purpose

The President and CEO provides executive leadership, operational day-to-day management, and direction of the EDUCAUSE vision, mission, and strategic goals.

Leadership Opportunity

The President and CEO will lead EDUCAUSE at a time of significant change and challenge for institutions and IT organizations. Concern for the affordability, value, and financial sustainability of higher education is leading to pressure for change. Technology is a disruptive force that intensifies these challenges and enables many of the most promising responses. Technology-enabled learning is creating new competition, increasing access, providing analytics to assess and improve learning, and supporting experiments with alternative cost models. Technology is also enabling new forms of research and scholarship and changing the organization and delivery of administrative services. IT organizations are reinventing themselves to meet new demands for support and expertise from within institutions and to respond to external changes, including security threats, cloud computing, and mobility.

EDUCAUSE and the President and CEO are uniquely positioned to inform and assist institutions and IT leaders in navigating the changing landscape. EDUCAUSE research and initiatives will influence and demonstrate the opportunities and limitations of technology in responding to the external pressures on higher education. The association's ability to inform, convene, and educate will help prepare IT leaders and the IT workforce to evolve their own skills and become leaders of change at their institutions. The President and CEO position is a platform from which to inform the broader conversations across institutions, higher education associations, and government about the role of technology in facilitating learning, reducing the cost of education, and improving operational efficiency.

The central challenge facing the next President and CEO is to sustain the positive byproducts of growth without losing the ability to innovate. The President and CEO will continue the transformation of EDUCAUSE to respond to the changing environment in which it operates. The organization has grown from a start-up to a mature association with an evolving and expanding set of offerings. The President and CEO will lead the development and execution of strategies that continue to expand EDUCAUSE's role from informing and convening to acting with and on behalf of its members to develop solutions to operational challenges and facilitate action locally and nationally on persistent strategic issues. In collaboration with the board and management team, the President and CEO will reshape the EDUCAUSE product portfolio to better integrate its offerings and create long-term financial sustainability. The President and CEO will initiate, lead, and sustain collaborations with other associations, corporate partners, and foundations around the world to broaden perspectives on important issues and develop cross-functional problem solving. Finally, the President and CEO will have the opportunity to shape and personally contribute to an agenda of research and thought leadership that presents evidence to inform the discussion of technology's efficacy in facilitating learning, reducing operating costs, and improving the ability of institutions to serve their constituents.

Key Roles and Responsibilities



  • Act as the highly visible spokesperson and head of EDUCAUSE to the higher education community, nationally and internationally.
  • Develop and sustain strong relationships with members across all sectors, including academic, corporate, and related organizations such as the National Association of College and University Business Officers, American Council on Education, Council on Library and Information Resources, U.S. Department of Education, foundations, etc.
  • Stay abreast of the related policy issues and leverage opportunities to influence and advocate on behalf of the organization's members and constituents.
  • Balance the needs, interests, and priorities of diverse institutional segments and individual members.
  • Write for EDUCAUSE Review and other publications, speak at the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference and other EDUCAUSE events, and convene special-interest groups via webinars and in-person meetings.
  • Serve on a variety of boards, participate in special commissions and work groups, and speak at national and international conferences as appropriate in supporting EDUCAUSE goals.



  • Create a management strategy and process for the EDUCAUSE product portfolio that integrates offerings, creates sustainable funding models, and sunsets offerings when no longer necessary.
  • Execute and renew strategic and operational plans and budgets to realize the EDUCAUSE vision and meet member needs.
  • Provide leadership for the development, expansion, and delivery of high-quality services, development of partnerships, and generation of revenue to meet the EDUCAUSE mission.
  • Ensure that EDUCAUSE reflects the needs and diversity of its membership and anticipates the future needs of the profession by being an integral part of the community.
  • Cultivate relationships and create opportunities for grant-funded activities that serve the core mission of EDUCAUSE.


Business Operations

  • Ensure the sound operation of the EDUCAUSE organization.
  • Lead and inspire a geographically distributed and diverse staff to create a high-performing team, promote a positive work culture, and communicate the organization's vision, strategy, and tactics.
  • Provide leadership for the identification and implementation of process improvements, the adoption of standard business practices and related policies, and the identification and measurement of key performance indicators.
  • Provide leadership for the adoption of project management processes.
  • Continue to professionalize the organization through hiring, retention, and development of capable management and staff and appropriate board oversight.


Board and Executive Committee Administration and Support

  • Provide leadership for key functions including learning initiatives; research and analysis; policy and external relations; professional development; operations; and finance.
  • Create shared expectations for the association and regularly report on EDUCAUSE's progress and activities to the board, association members, and partners.
  • Execute fiduciary responsibility in collaboration with the board.
  • Ensure direct reports are appropriately resourced and supported to carry out their scope of responsibility.


Member Services

  • Ensure the development, provision, and integration of innovative programs, products, and services to create a positive, high-value member and constituent experience.
  • Enhance and promote the value of EDUCAUSE membership.
  • Assess the quality of the association's products and services to ensure they meet market demand and member needs and expectations.


Qualifications and Experience

The President and CEO role has many dimensions. Successful candidates will demonstrate leadership and a depth of capability in most of the categories below. In addition, candidates must demonstrate the required qualifications and many of the preferred qualifications.

  • Capability to devise and execute strategy; oversee association finances, which currently comprise a total of $32 million annually, including $18 million in operating revenues and $14 million in re-granting funds; and recruit and develop talent for the organization.
  • Understanding of the mission, structures, cultures, and strategic challenges of individual institutions and passion for the higher education sector as a whole.
  • Understanding of and experience with IT strategies, operations, and emerging technologies.
  • Experience with and ability to form, manage, and expand strategic relationships for EDUCAUSE and to inform the discussion of key issues relevant to higher education at a national and international level.
  • Experience as an influencer and spokesperson on topics germane to higher education and higher education IT.
  • Ability to lead product and program strategy, oversee program/product development life cycles, and create financial sustainability models for the program/product portfolio.


The President and CEO candidates are required to have the following qualifications:

  • Well-developed knowledge of the issues confronting higher education and an articulated point of view of where and how information technology fits into the strategic issue set within higher education.
  • Awareness of and conversant in the issues and priorities of the different segments of the higher education community.
  • Understanding of the technology and leadership challenges facing CIOs and their organizations across the different missions and scales of higher education.
  • Understanding and experience of the culture and decision structures (e.g., shared governance) of higher education, and understanding of how institutions change.
  • Demonstrated track record of balancing the needs of a broad and diverse constituent group with competing or conflicting needs.
  • Adept and experienced builder of personal networks, organizational networks, and/or collaborations to influence important issues or develop solutions to shared problems.
  • Ability to create agility and innovation within a mature organization.
  • Publication or presentation of relevant material on higher education or IT transformation.
  • Demonstrated understanding of opportunities and challenges of leading a diverse and distributed workforce.
  • Track record of attracting and developing talent, delegating responsibility, and empowering staff.
  • Track record of successfully implementing organizational strategy and vision and leading organizations through periods of change.
  • Minimum of 10 years of progressive leadership responsibility.
  • Minimum of a Master's degree.


The ideal President and CEO candidate will also meet some or all of the following preferred qualifications:

  • Established and articulated point of view that influences others on one or more issues of importance to the EDUCAUSE community (e.g., future of learning, business intelligence and data analytics, cloud computing, transformation of the workforce, etc.).
  • Experience planning and implementing strategy and devising financial sustainability models for products and services (not just technologies).
  • Track record of advising and influencing the decisions of institutional executive leadership.
  • Understanding and establishment of relationships with EDUCAUSE sister associations and organizations.
  • Understanding of legislatures, accreditation bodies, and other entities that regulate and influence higher education.
  • Senior leadership experience managing organizations of significant scale (e.g., 100 FTE and $20–30+ million budget).
  • Demonstrated experience leading a diverse and distributed workforce.
  • Working knowledge of the complexities of leading a member-based association.
  • Experience serving on a board of directors or trustees.


Successful candidates will exhibit the following leadership qualities:

  • Excellent communication skills: strong speaker, thought-provoking author, active listener, and adept facilitator.
  • Leads by influence and collaboration.
  • Comfortable launching many ideas and controlling few.
  • Highly approachable and inclusive, engaging diverse constituents from presidents and board members to IT directors at small institutions.
  • Continuous, open-minded learner with a passion for understanding emerging issues and those currently important to the industry.
  • Conveys a sense of curiosity and excitement about the diverse areas of higher education and higher education IT.
  • Values and enjoys personal outreach and engagement.

EDUCAUSE is an equal opportunity employer. EDUCAUSE requires background checks of all employment candidates.


EDUCAUSE is a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education through the use of information technology. EDUCAUSE helps those who lead, manage, and use information technology to shape strategic decisions at every level. EDUCAUSE actively engages with colleges and universities, corporations, foundations, government, and other nonprofit organizations to further the mission of transforming higher education through the use of information technology. Over 2,400 colleges, universities, corporations, and other organizations serving higher education are members of EDUCAUSE.

Membership is open to U.S. and international institutions of higher education, corporations serving the higher education information technology market, and other related associations and organizations. EDUCAUSE programs and resources include professional development activities; print and electronic publications, including books and EDUCAUSE Review; teaching and learning initiatives; data, research, and analytics; special-interest communities; awards; and extensive online information services.

EDUCAUSE has a nationally distributed workforce of nearly 100 staff with offices in Louisville, Colorado, and Washington, D.C. The administrative and operational functions are based in Louisville (e.g., marketing, information technology, member services); the Washington office is the center of the association's external relations and policy initiatives. The association is recognized as a tax-exempt not-for-profit organization under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3).