2019 Community Leadership Award Recipient

Mark Askren

Mark Askren

Senior Advisor to the President, University of Nebraska

For exemplary and extensive community leadership in the field of higher education information technology; for demonstrating vision, knowledge, and inclusiveness as an IT thought leader; for building cross-institutional, profession-wide communities that promote professional growth, personal commitment, and teamwork throughout the IT profession.


The 2019 EDUCAUSE Community Leadership Award recognizes Mark Askren, Senior Advisor to the President at the University of Nebraska, for his wide-ranging contributions to higher education. In nearly four decades of service to the profession, Mark has demonstrated the ability to envision and prepare for the future and has shown an unwavering commitment to help institutions and colleagues succeed.

In his early roles at the University of California campuses at Irvine and San Diego, and the University of Illinois, Mark’s reputation in the IT community grew steadily. He held a series of leadership roles within the University of Illinois system, where he was credited with spearheading an extensive professional development program that transformed client service effectiveness. Mark’s career then led him to return to the University of California, Irvine, as Director and later Assistant Vice Chancellor of Administrative Computing Services. He also served on the University of California IT Leadership Council, which determined strategic directions for all UC system-wide computing initiatives.

Advancing to the University of Nebraska in 2009, Mark provided critical leadership for information technology in his role as Vice Chancellor and CIO at the flagship Lincoln campus and then additionally as Vice President of Information Technology for the University of Nebraska system. During his tenure at Nebraska, Mark’s leadership has been truly transformational, as he led the organization through its “OneIT” initiative, bringing four independent IT organizations into a single unified division while realizing significant cost savings for the institution. One colleague observed, “Mark is incredibly balanced in his leadership abilities. . . . His focus on the big picture brought stability to the organization, and his ability to create shared meaning is what allowed staff throughout our division to understand the vision and path forward.”

Collaboration and collegiality are hallmarks of Mark’s professional career. He continually nurtures cooperative initiatives within the system and looks for cross-institutional opportunities through his involvement with the Research University CIO Conclave (RUCC), the Unizin Consortium, and the Big Ten Academic Alliance. In his years on the Unizin board, Mark was instrumental in supporting the consortium and helping higher education identify opportunities in the ever-changing digital education landscape.

Mark has a passion for helping his colleagues to become experienced, confident leaders and more effective technology practitioners. He is an openhearted mentor and celebrates the success of others. He is also deeply committed to increasing diversity in the field of information technology through his support of the Women Advance IT leadership conference, a national event to promote progress in improving gender diversity and inclusion in the profession.

Mark’s scholarly work in the area of IT leadership theory and practice establishes him as a thought leader at the national level. And his support of EDUCAUSE is evident through his numerous publications and presentations. In addition to serving on the EDUCAUSE Board, he has been an EDUCAUSE Leadership Institute faculty member and Leadership Advisor Chair for the Hawkins Leadership Roundtable. He chaired the Annual Program Committee in 2014 and was a member of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force, which provided foundational work in support of the association’s strategic priority to promote DEI. Beyond his contributions to EDUCAUSE, he has served on the board of the Great Plains Regional Network and the Microsoft Higher Education Advisory Council, and he is an Internet2 Program Advisory Group Chair.

As a leader, Mark Askren brings together expansive thinking, foresight, humility, humor, and a collegial approach as he engages and inspires others in the higher education IT community. 

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