©2006 Susan E. Metros
In 2004, the EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research (ECAR) published a research study titled Information Technology Leadership in Higher Education: The Condition of the Community.1 While many of the 2,000 information technology professionals surveyed agreed that IT leaders were effective in their positions, higher education was a calling, and universities were a good place to work, they were concerned about dwindling interest in leadership positions. The survey found fewer candidates in the pipeline than needed to fill expected vacancies, with a quarter of all respondents considering retirement within five years. In addition, the data showed that the current IT leadership community lacks both gender and racial diversity. The report concluded that in order to retain and "grow" current staff and to attract newcomers to the profession and to leadership positions, the IT community must provide its workforce with targeted professional development and mentoring opportunities.
EDUCAUSE, a nonprofit association of more than 2,000 colleges, universities, and educational organizations whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology, takes the continuity, growth, and diversity of the higher education IT workforce seriously. The association's leaders charged its Professional Development Committee to advise EDUCAUSE staff on the development and delivery of a suite of resources aimed at supporting their membership's work and advancing their professional careers. These opportunities range from conferences, seminars, institutes, targeted leadership training events, fellowship, scholarship, and volunteer opportunities to a wealth of easily accessible presentations and publications.
The idea for this book, Cultivating Careers: Professional Development for Campus IT, was conceived by EDUCAUSE Vice President Cynthia Golden, who is responsible for coordinating the content of the association's professional development activities, as well as content and knowledge management initiatives. She understood that while there exists a plethora of books published on leadership, and many dedicated to leadership within corporate IT operations, there were limited resources targeted toward IT professional development in general and aspiring IT leaders in higher education in particular. One notable exception is Technology Everywhere: A Campus Agenda for Educating and Managing Workers in the Digital Age.2 This collection of essays addresses recruiting, hiring, and training knowledge worker professionals and educating IT learners to manage the ever-increasing flow of information. It serves as a foundation for many of the concepts in Cultivating Careers.
Cultivating Careers addresses the needs of our IT workforce community by providing an overview of current and emerging professional development practices and opportunities, focusing on aspects of the profession that are unique to higher education. It provides how-to approaches both from individual and organizational perspectives and is interspersed with ideas and examples that can be replicated on campuses both big and small, private and public. The authors are leaders from a variety of institutions, including large research universities and small liberal arts colleges. They are CIOs, librarians, technology directors, faculty members, and professional organization leaders. In the pages that follow, they share their experiences, wisdom, and lessons learned.
This book is written for those responsible for managing and leading information services organizations in colleges and universities. It is designed to serve as a guide both for those who have responsibility for preparing the next generation of leaders and for those who aspire to or have recently assumed greater responsibility and leadership in higher education. While the title of this book refers to campus information technology, it is intended to serve a broad segment of the higher education population. It is important to recognize that at many institutions, IT and library organizations have merged, and distributed IT service units work in concert with central IT groups to provide customer support. All professional personnel within these organizations share a need for professional development and thus constitute the audience for this book's content.
Those of us who have had the good fortune to work in this rapidly changing world of IT in higher education have an obligation to prepare the next generation to support and to lead higher education into the future. It is my expectation, and the expectation of the EDUCAUSE Professional Development Committee, that Cultivating Careers: Professional Development for Campus IT will serve as a guide for today's leaders to help prepare our workforce for tomorrow's challenges and to entice and inspire those beginning their careers to actively seek rewarding leadership opportunities in higher education.
- Richard N. Katz and Gail Salaway, "Information Technology Leadership in Higher Education: The Condition of the Community Key Findings" (Boulder, Colo.: EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research, January 2004), <http://www.educause.edu/LibraryDetailPage/666?ID=EKF0401>.
- Brian Hawkins, Julia A. Rudy, and William H. Wallace, Jr., eds., Technology Everywhere: A Campus Agenda for Educating and Managing Workers in the Digital Age, EDUCAUSE Leadership Strategies Series, vol. 6 (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2002), <http://www.educause.edu/LibraryDetailPage/666?ID=PUB7006>.