University solidifies tech staff

Kristin Gustafson

After leading the University through the problems and trials of the Enterprise Project — the University’s complete overhaul of its technological infrastructure — Steve Cawley has signed up for another round.
This time, it is permanent.
On Thursday, the University hired Cawley as its permanent chief information officer and associate vice president for Information Technology, after he served as the position’s interim for almost two years.
Beginning March 1, Cawley will serve as the director of the Office of Information Technology — managing the University’s information technology infrastructure and technology support services. This includes administrative and operational data systems, infrastructure for telecommunications, voice, data and video, desktop computing and associated support services.
“I’m looking forward to diving in,” Cawley said. “The University faces some interesting challenges for managing the technology.”
Specifically, Cawley looks forward to completing the PeopleSoft conversion, scheduled to end in June, and working 18 more months to polish the systems “for the performance and functionality we want.”
Web access and Internet technology — specifically to improve services for students, faculty and staff — are other areas of interest for him.
Cawley said he is eager to explore wireless technology. For instance, he said laptops with wireless modems could transform University classrooms and education.
Nancy Sinsabaugh, interim director of scholarships and financial aid, said she was pleased with Cawley’s promotion.
During the University’s conversion to PeopleSoft — which included financial-aid services — Cawley demonstrated a sense of humor and perspective on the problems faced, Sinsabaugh said.
“He’s always available when issues come up, and he’s been a hands-on manager … very committed to having the best technology capabilities at the University,” Sinsabaugh said.
University Executive Vice President and Provost Bob Bruininks said he was pleased to appoint someone with Cawley’s level of experience and commitment.
“Steve’s technological knowledge and experience will help us meet the challenges of developing a University-wide technology strategy for the future and bringing together the technology-enhanced learning tools our faculty and students need in today’s environment of rapid technological change,” Bruininks said.
Others agreed.
“He was the clear choice,” said Bob Kvavik, associate vice president from the office of the executive vice president and provost.
Cawley has clearly demonstrated his technological expertise and commitment to service during his 13 years working in information technology management at the University, Kvavik said.
Before his most recent interim position as the University’s chief information officer, Cawley served as assistant vice president for information technology. He started his University career in 1987 as director of telecommunication services.
Kvavik said the University would not have gotten to where it did with the PeopleSoft conversion without Cawley’s smart and gutsy moves.
“He was the cement and the glue,” Kvavik said.
For instance, Cawley decided to do a computer upgrade in the middle of the implementation process of the PeopleSoft system in August.
It was a gutsy decision that went flawlessly, Kvavik added. “And now we look like geniuses.”
Kvavik is relieved Cawley will be leading the way for the next challenges of developing a broad technology strategy for the University.
“I’m sleeping a lot better knowing he is staying,” Kvavik said.

Kristin Gustafson covers University administration and federal government and welcomes comments at [email protected]