The Higher Education CIO, 2019

Conclusion and Recommendations


The CIOs with cabinet-level appointments basically have IT superpowers.1 They largely do the same things as CIOs who do not have a cabinet post, but the impact they have (or perceive themselves to have) on their campuses is considerably greater. And our research on salary suggests that they are handsomely compensated for these additional responsibilities and efforts; the increased influence that accompanies a seat on the president's or the chancellor's cabinet is associated with a salary increase of $30,138. Our data suggest that for an institution to fully embrace IT as a strategic imperative, especially in the face of a looming digital transformation, presidents and chancellors need to make room on their cabinets and open up their wallets for their CIOs.


  • Reorganize the reporting structure of the institution so that the CIO reports directly and solely to the president, chancellor, or CEO. A CIO whose organization resides within the purview of the executive office of the institution is in a more authoritative position to establish IT's strategic importance for campus-wide technology initiatives, effectively communicate the contributions of IT to the institutional mission, and provide leadership with the insight and expertise to shepherd the digital transformation of higher education at their institution.
  • Elevate the CIO to a cabinet-level position. Cabinet-level CIOs will still do the work of the CIO but will be positioned to spend more of their time engaged in strategic activities such as planning and innovation across the institution and serving the larger IT profession. Moreover, CIOs with cabinet appointments have a great deal more impact on their campus. They are able to shape and influence institutional administrative directions, strategic directions, and institutional academic directions more than their peers without a cabinet post.


  1. EDUCAUSE Core Data Service.