Three candidates vie to fill VPCIO position

Kaler is still not finished filling in the upper ranks of the U’s administration.

Three candidates vie to fill VPCIO position

Greta Kaul

President Eric Kaler still has lots of administrative shoes to fill.

The process to replace another vice presidential position ramped up this week, as three candidates for the UniversityâÄôs chief information officer visited campus to speak on the subject of transforming teaching with technology.

The VPCIO is responsible for overseeing the Office of Information Technology âÄî a network of information technology offices across campus. OIT handles everything from Web traffic to Moodle, and from active learning classrooms to network safety.

Aside from academics, the VPCIO is also in charge of administrative information technology.

The role of a CIO has grown more important as technology has advanced, Kaler said in an interview. HeâÄôs looking for a VPCIO that can integrate changing technology in both the UniversityâÄôsâÄô business operations and in its everyday support of faculty and teaching needs.

âÄúA successful [VPCIO] understands the most critical role of technology at the University is as a strategic driver,âÄù said Ann Hill Duin, the interim VPCIO. âÄúIn order for a program to be excellent, it needs advanced technology.âÄù

In April, previous VPCIO Steve Cawley accepted a position as vice president for information technology and chief information officer at the University of Miami in Florida.

In 2010, CawleyâÄôs salary was $258,250.

Each of the three candidates for the job is currently a CIO at another school.

Donald Harris

Vice Provost for Information Services and University Chief Information Officer

University of Oregon

Donald Harris said one challenge facing CIOs these days is in screening technology âÄî just because something works in the corporate world doesnâÄôt necessarily mean it will fit in academics, he said.

âÄú[At Oregon], IâÄôve got people who want to develop more and more websites, and IâÄôm saying âÄòIâÄôm not sure thatâÄôs where the students are going,âÄôâÄù he said.

As a young graduate student, Harris developed computer models to help university administrators with data-driven decision making. HeâÄôs worked in information technology at six colleges and universities ever since.

Not adapting to technology really isnâÄôt an option for universities, Harris said.

He has served as the vice provost for information services and university chief information officer at the University of Oregon, a land-grant institution like the University of Minnesota, since 2005.

Harris earned his doctorate from Claremont Graduate University in 1983 in a program that focused on economics, quantitative research methods and politics in higher education. He earned his bachelorâÄôs and masterâÄôs degrees from Biola University in California in 1975 and 1977.

R. Scott Studham

Chief Information Officer

University of Tennessee

R. Scott Studham has served as the chief information officer at the University of Tennessee since 2009. Prior, he served as the chief information officer at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

âÄúWeâÄôre seeing people move from digital immigrants to digital natives,âÄù he said, adding that universities need to adapt to 21st century accessibility needs and studentsâÄô comfort with technology.

Under StudhamâÄôs leadership, the universityâÄôs IT department helped carry out three major student-driven initiatives: outsourced email with bigger inboxes, training faculty to be more adept at technology and allowing students to stream lab software to their own computerâÄôs desktop, he said.

âÄúYou donâÄôt have to go to the chemistry lab to do your chemistry homework anymore.âÄù

StudhamâÄôs tenure in Tennessee has also focused on operations efficiency.

He sees advanced technology as a good way for universities to partner with and engage area businesses.

Studham earned a Bachelor of Science in chemistry with a minor in management from Washington State University in 1997. He earned his Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Tennessee.

Jim Davis

Vice Provost for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer.

Iowa State University âÄî Ames

Jim Davis asked the audience Wednesday what it thought the next big technological changes would be.

The crowd responded: storage, mobile, cloud, tablets, social networking, big data and consumerization.

Consumer devices are everywhere, Davis said. ItâÄôs just a matter of using them in higher education.

âÄúWe really have the potential to do some really interesting things here with these devices,âÄù he said, explaininghow GPS-capable mobile phones could be used to identify, pinpoint and learn about plants around campus in a horticulture class.

The same goes for a universityâÄôs use of social networks, he said.

âÄúSocial networks bind people to devices, and they bind people to each other,âÄù he said. âÄúBusinesses have cracked that nut âÄî higher ed hasnâÄôt yet.âÄù

With tighter budgets, collaboration is key, Davis said âÄî and maybe thatâÄôs a good thing. He emphasized collaboration between faculty and IT in academic environments, citing his experience as a faculty member as an asset.

He said he was attracted to the job at the University because he thinks the University can be an even bigger leader in information technology.

Davis earned his bachelorâÄôs degree in computer science in 1975, a masterâÄôs in electrical engineering in 1982 and a doctorate in computer science in 1984 at Iowa State University. He took his current job in 2004.


Presidential transitions: A time to retire

The VPCIO is just one of many administrative positions Kaler has needed to fill since he started at the University of Minnesota in July.

ItâÄôs not uncommon.

Administrators often see presidential shifts as a time to retire, return to the schoolâÄôs faculty or change careers altogether.

When administrators started leaving in high numbers more than a year ago, former University President Bob Bruininks purposefully left many of the positions open for Kaler to fill.

His highest-profile replacement so far was Karen Hanson, whom he named in October to be the next senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. SheâÄôll take over for Tom Sullivan in February. Sullivan will return to the Law School.

Having a hand-chosen team is an asset to a president because both parties may feel a sense of loyalty to one another, said Amy Phenix, KalerâÄôs chief of staff.

 âÄúAt a macro level, certainly [KalerâÄôs] goal is to put together a high-performance leadership team âÄî a group of people who can help take this university to the next level,âÄù Phenix said.

Last week, Kaler announced the beginning of a nationwide search for a new vice president for equity and diversity.

Karen Himle, the UniversityâÄôs former vice president for University Relations, was the first senior administrator to announce she would leave with the presidential transition in December, after a semester of controversy over the âÄúTroubled WatersâÄù documentary.

Former Vice President for Scholarly and Cultural Affairs Steven Rosenstone left his post earlier this year to become chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.

Former Carlson School of Management Dean Alison Davis-Blake left her job for a similar position at the University of MichiganâÄôs Ross School of Business in August. The University has said it hoped to fill that position by March of 2012.

Carol Carrier left her post as vice president for human resources in the summer. Her position was filled by Kathryn Brown.