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3 Questions Presidents, Provosts and Search Committees Should Ask Existing or Potential CIO's
August 9, 2011 - 9:30pm

Question 1 - Quality: What is your plan to leverage technology to increase the quality of learning at our institution?

Some answers to look for:

  • Learning is the goal, technology is only a means to an end.
  • Technology can be fundamental in making large lecture classes feel like small seminar courses.
  • Tools such as lecture capture are critical for improving both the quality and accessibility of our courses.
  • Student learning must be understood in the context of student culture, including the importance of such platforms as gaming and mobile devices.
  • A concrete plan to bring student voices and perspectives into the technology governance and decision making process.
  • A desire to bring technology professionals as close as possible to the teaching and learning process, and a mindset that everyone who works for a higher ed institution is first and primarily an educator.

Question 2 - Costs: What is your plan for reducing costs at our institution?

Some answers to look for:

  • Cost reduction and quality improvements are not mutually exclusive.
  • Concrete ideas for how to maximize the utilization of high fixed cost assets, such as classroom space through the introduction and support of blended and online learning.
  • Ideas for growing enrollment to new markets through the use of distance and blended learning, including non-local students, non-traditional students, summer students, etc. etc.
  • Plans to move from fixed to variables costs, and to rent campus platforms as services (with SLA's in place) as opposed to providing campus only solutions.
  • A desire to develop shared services and partnerships with peer institutions, and a set of dense relationships and experience with cross-institutional collaboration.

Question 3 - People: What are your plans around retention, recruitment and professional development of the professionals on your team?

Some answers to look for:

  • A recognition that people are the most important element of any technology organization.
  • An understanding that the best performers will be internally motivated, and that the job of a leader is to provide a vision for the team, and the tools and support necessary for the team to execute.
  • An indication of a willingness to fight for flexibility, support, professional development, and professional respect for everyone in the technology organization.
  • A recognition of the value of senior employees, a concern for the aging of our edtech workplace, and a plan to develop a new cohort of passionate technology professional in higher ed.
  • A commitment for transparency, open and constant communication, and an ethical and caring workplace culture.

What questions do you ask of your CIO?

What answers do you look for?

How would you answer these questions?

Are we asking these sorts of questions of our campus technology leaders?

 

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