2014 Community Leadership Award Recipients

Joanne Kossuth
Joanne Kossuth

Vice President for Operations and Chief Information Officer
Olin College of Engineering

For outstanding contributions to the professional development of the higher education IT community, for the impact of her work to information technology in the profession, for her well-established leadership, for making a difference to higher education

Joanne Kossuth's role as the vice president of operations and CIO of Olin College of Engineering has been unique and evolving. She served as the founding CIO for Olin College, which at the time was the first new engineering college established in the United States in more than 40 years. She has maintained CIO responsibilities while simultaneously serving as vice president for development from 2006 to 2008 and acquired responsibility for operations in 2008. Joanne has built a strong organization and a strong reputation. She led the development of a solid campus network infrastructure, including the deployment of one of the first converged network infrastructures; established community partnerships with Babson College, Wellesley College, and Brandeis University; and engaged students by creating a student/IT working group to ensure student-centered thinking in the IT arena.

Joanne's thought leadership is noticeably evident no matter the task, and her forward-looking, collaborative approach to education, technology, and business process is remarkable. More specifically, Joanne is an active listener who can quickly translate discussion or embryonic ideas into actionable plans. Her energy, focus, and diplomacy make all stakeholders feel welcome and personally committed to the success of any endeavor.

At Olin, Joanne immediately formed the External Technology Advisory Board (EXTAB), comprising a headstrong mix of academic, private industry, and entrepreneurial representatives. This diversity ensured a candid, pragmatic, and contemporary perspective on key technology trends and business challenges while offering real-world insight useful in linking the mission of the college to the needs of industry.

Joanne helped bring Olin Innovation Labs (OIL) to life. In conjunction with the EXTAB, the OIL was developed as a collaborative problem-solving shared space and safe ground for future-focused technical leaders. She worked tirelessly to turn the idea for a series of Olin-hosted executive forums into a business community reality.

As an active member of the EDUCAUSE community with a long history of involvement with the association, Joanne has had a significant impact on the profession. Her publications and presentations demonstrate her commitment to advancing important IT issues. As a member of the EDUCAUSE Professional Development Committee, she helped shape programs that serve the community. She was one of the key contacts at NERCOMP when EDUCAUSE was building a relationship with that association as part of its regional conference strategy.

Joanne is a long-term and active EDUCAUSE volunteer, having served as a member of the Member Liaison and the Fellowship Scholarship Review committees. She chaired EDUCAUSE 2009 and has been a member of the Higher Ed Cyber Security Initiative, the Recognition Committee, the 20-20 Strategic Planning Committee, the Nominations Committee, and the IT Assessment and Benchmarking Advisory Board. She also serves on the core team for the Connect events.

Joanne is a member of the EDUCAUSE Institute Management Program Faculty, where she delivered valuable content and advice to new members in the profession. She was active in efforts to keep the curriculum current and responsive to the needs of the participants. From that work and her NERCOMP work, the New IT Managers Program was born.

As a CIO, Joanne is required to span boundaries of technology domains, and she has demonstrated an ability to do this in her EDUCAUSE volunteer contributions. Her appointment to the EDUCAUSE Board of Directors from 2008 through 2010 was recognition of the value of her perspective and contributions.

She was chosen by the presidents of EDUCAUSE and CLIR to preside over the reimagining of the Frye Leadership Institute, a joint venture of these organizations, which had been working to build leadership cadres in the professions that utilize IT to forward the missions of teaching, learning, and research. This process resulted in the very successful Leading Change Institute, where she served as dean. She also chairs the ACUTA Higher Education Advisory panel and is active in SCUP.

Joanne is also sought after by the corporate community and serves on numerous advisory boards, including Juniper, Pearson, Plantronics, and other organizations.

Joanne is truly one of a kind in her innate ability to serve the higher education IT community. She is well deserving of the Community Leadership Award.

Theresa Rowe
Theresa Rowe

Chief Information Officer
Oakland University

For dedication to serving the higher education IT community, for contributions to the overall content of IT, for excellence in mentoring those aspiring leaders in the profession, for excellence in monitoring the CIO e-mail list, for overall contributions to the profession

Theresa Rowe has spent most of her professional career at Oakland University, where she has been the senior IT officer for the past 12 years. She has served on numerous university committees (strategic planning, enrollment, retention, and campus emergency response team), as a part-time instructor in computer science, and as part of the leadership team of the university. Outside Oakland University, Theresa is heavily engaged in supporting our profession in general and EDUCAUSE in particular.

Theresa has long been an active participant in all aspects of EDUCAUSE—mentoring, writing, presenting, and volunteering on behalf of the community. She has built a body of work over the past decade that few in our profession have achieved. Theresa has long been providing leadership as the CIO Constituent Group coordinator. In this role, she manages the CIO e-mail list to ensure it is meeting the broad needs of all the constituents. Theresa handles any issues that arise in a positive way and spurs the list to discuss some of the major issues facing higher education IT. Her peers respect her efforts to make this list a vital community resource. She has moderated the tone of the traffic and has made the CIO discussion list one of the most respected and valuable communication channels in the profession.

Leadership in the profession also comes from being a role model to others. As CIO Constituent Group leader, Theresa has demonstrated what many would call infinite patience. No matter how many times she has dealt with an issue, she listens intently to people and gives them her full attention, treats everyone with respect, and spends whatever time necessary to help those in need. Her most recent endeavor as moderator has been to build the annual EDUCAUSE top-ten issues list. The contributions from members that this process has generated have been invaluable.

Theresa often contacts a CIO new to higher education to join the CIO list. She reaches out individually and provides help and support however she can. Theresa's collaborative and inclusive approach to problem solving shows a genuine desire and ability to create environments where individuals engage in processes and achieve success. The other aspect of leadership that she brings to the community is a collaborative approach to problem solving and experience sharing. Theresa works intensely to build consensus.

Theresa also served on the Hawkins Leadership Roundtable (HLR) and has been a great advocate for mentoring and supporting up-and-coming leaders. She has proven to be a valuable mentor and has always been gracious in volunteering her time. Her years of IT leadership experience, insight, interpersonal sensitivity, and good humor are clearly displayed in her conversations with HLR participants, both new and aspiring CIOs.

Theresa has authored content and given numerous presentations in the past decade. She has been featured on EDUCAUSE Live!, presented at national and regional conferences, and written or developed a number of effective practices documents. In addition, she has served on a variety of committees and programs.

Theresa's concern for the mission of higher education is evident by her serving as a lecturer and her overall involvement with students. She is a model for community involvement. She doesn't just share what she knows—she arrives with an infectious and sustaining belief that we can help one another. She is just as hungry to learn as to teach. Theresa's method of operation seems to be experiment, learn, grow, teach. Her input is always thoughtful and significant.

Beyond EDUCAUSE, Theresa has also written and presented for ACUTA, Jasig, and the Banner User Group. Theresa is the chair of the APEREO Foundation Board and the REN-ISAC Transitional Board, serves on the board of MERIT (Michigan's regional network), and participates in the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) SIGUCCS.

Without doubt, Theresa is one of the most visible members of the community. There are few CIOs as active as Theresa has been in volunteering for and supporting the profession. She is a most deserving winner of the Community Leadership Award.

This EDUCAUSE Award is sponsored by Moran Technology Consulting, Silver Partner.

This EDUCAUSE Award is sponsored by Moran Technology Consulting, Silver Partner.