2019 Rising Star Award Recipient

Tina Pappas

Tina Pappas

Associate Director, Innovation and Technology, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

For building a culture of communication, collaboration, and engagement among IT professionals and their workforce allies; for her commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the IT workplace; for mentoring and empowering women in the IT profession; and for helping to provide IT professionals with the training, information, and resources they need to succeed in their careers.

The 2019 EDUCAUSE Rising Star Award is presented to Tina Pappas, Associate Director of Innovation and Technology at Rutgers University–Newark, to recognize her steady advancement at Rutgers and her impact as an emerging leader and mentor at her institution and in the broader higher education IT community. Since joining Rutgers University in 2004 as Manager of the IT Helpdesk for the School of Communication and Information, she has taken on increasingly responsible roles. In 2009, she was promoted to Manager of IT Operations and soon after became the Assistant Director of Information Technology. Always advocating for the customer, Tina has a keen ability to enhance experiences through process optimization, which has led to her current campus-level position.

Throughout her tenure at Rutgers, Tina has dedicated herself to increasing collegiality, communication, and engagement among the nearly 1,200 IT staff members across the Rutgers University system. She integrated Slack into the greater Rutgers IT community, allowing central and distributed IT staff to communicate across departments and campuses, solve problems quickly, share resources, and connect with common interests. As the self-described chief culture officer (CCO) for the Rutgers University technology community, she regularly organizes informal gatherings, providing IT staff members with the opportunity to meet face-to-face and develop connections. Her unique ability to foster relationships has made her the nexus of the Rutgers IT community.

The impact of Tina's work extends beyond her informal activities through her leadership roles on the Rutgers University Senate, the CIO IT Leadership Council, and a number of enterprise service strategic committees. Through her participation in the Rutgers Leadership Academy, Tina spearheaded the development of an onboarding program for IT staff members at Rutgers. In an institution with hundreds of departments, campuses spanning three cities, and numerous satellite locations, Tina recognized that a disparity in the quality of onboarding processes for technologists was leaving some IT departments isolated. Her onboarding initiative—created in collaboration with central and distributed departments, faculty and staff subject matter experts, and human resources—promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and ensures that valuable information is accessible to all employees.

Tina has quickly become an active and influential leader within the EDUCAUSE community as well. She serves as chair of the Young Professionals Advisory Committee and as co-chair of the Young Professionals Community Group. As a member of the EDUCAUSE working group exploring the future higher education IT workforce, Tina participated alongside ten US and UK IT leaders to develop solutions and recommendations around issues such as effective recruitment/retention strategies and hiring practices as they relate to undergraduate and graduate education requirements and DEI. In addition, she has presented on effective communication techniques and women leading change at several EDUCAUSE conferences and events.

Tina is a passionate, tenacious advocate and ambassador with a natural ability to move groups forward in meaningful ways. She has established herself as a leader and role model in cultivating relationships and building a culture of inclusion for faculty, staff, and students, as well as for the broader EDUCAUSE community. Tina Pappas is laying a foundation that will have a profound and positive impact on the higher education community for years to come.

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