Information Technology—What Executive Leadership Should Know

Original Broadcast: September 22, 2011


Members: $195 USD
Nonmembers: $195 USD

Program Content

Are you an academic leader who is ultimately responsible for information technology (IT) resources to enable strategies and support operations for your organization? Or do you require a better understanding of IT in order to work with others to create IT priorities, oversee projects, or participate in an IT governance structure?

Information technology is expensive and evolves at breakneck speed. You need the working knowledge to develop and lead your institution's IT strategy, guiding decisions and policy so it supports your institution's goals. Give us 90 minutes and you'll gain a grounding in higher education IT that will build your core knowledge, comfort level, and effectiveness.

Presented by Michael Hites, the executive chief information officer and associate vice president for administrative information technology services at the University of Illinois. Moderated by Michael Tanner the vice president and chief academic officer of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Understand the elements of information technology (IT) relevant to your role.
  2. Increase your comfort level interacting with IT people and IT organizations.
  3. Effectively lead IT governance structures.
  4. Ensure institutional IT is a high-performing component of your institution.

Who Should Watch This Webcast

  • Provosts and Associate Provosts
  • Those in charge of IT governance structures
  • Anyone entering a new leadership position and who wants a solid grounding and understanding of IT in higher education

Webcast Outline

I. Basics of Information Technology (8 minutes)

  • Differences between information, technology, and information technology
  • Uses of IT
  • Information management
  • Components of IT infrastructure (Your eyes don’t need to glaze over when someone mentions “infrastructure”. Learn what it means to IT staff and to your constituents.)
  • Two most important aspects of IT: applications and bandwidth—What you can do, and how fast you can do it.
  • Characteristics of IT people (Inside we are all the same, it’s just hard to get alignment between the need and the technology.)

II. Shared Infrastructure (8 minutes)
Networks connect all departments; IT depends on them, and uses them every day to run the institution.

  • Networks—The PC isn’t the lifeblood of IT anymore, it’s your network. Can yours handle the future demands of students and faculty?
  • Data centersAre you consolidated or still wasting money?
  • Cloud computing—You’ll understand the capabilities, risks, and relevance in five minutes!
  • Utility applications (email, calendaring…)—These are ready for the cloud, is your institution?
  • Security—Is your information at risk, and what to do about it now.
  • Authentication and authorization

III. Administrative IT—The systems that enable the business processes of the institution. (8 minutes)
Discover the questions you should ask about your business processes before you spend another million dollars on another new piece of software. Do you simply have a collection of IT systems that automate legacy and mythical policies?

  • Business and finance
  • Student records, registration, and financial aid
  • Alumni—The most effective campaigns track interactions with your alumni and make everyone feel part of the engagement process.
  • Human resources
  • Local administrative IT
  • Information management

IV. Business Intelligence/Performance Management—Includes data integrity, institutional research, and departmental users. (5 minutes)
Just because you have automated a process doesn’t mean you understand it or can act on your own data.

  • Data warehousing
  • Data integrity
  • Reporting tools
  • Dashboards, scorecards

V. Academic IT (8 minutes)
The most diverse because your faculty are the most diverse population at an institution.

  • Teaching and learning—Students and faculty evolve their technological mindsets at different rates. (Keeping up with students or innovative faculty can break the bank, but getting behind the times can make you look like a Luddite.)
  • Content creation and management—You’ve got intellectual property, but where is it, and how easy is it to share?
  • Library Services
  • Collaboration (Do you Google?)
  • Research—It’s not just the innovation, it’s how can you quickly hook up the innovators and get their proposals processed quickly, accurately and with minimal risk.

VI. Organizational Structures (5 minutes)
There is not a dominant organizational structure in education.

  • Centralized (Not all central IT departments are slow and evil.)
  • Distributed (Not all distributed IT departments are wasteful and "cowboys.")
  • Corporate models—There’s a reason that corporations stay in business when technology changes.

VII. Integrated planning—Ensuring participation of all stakeholders in order to plan a suitable course of action. (5 minutes)

  • IT as a planning partner—There’s no part of academics, finance, and facilities that doesn’t use IT everyday, so make it a part of your integrated plan.
  • Portfolio management and project planning—It’s 10 pm. Do you know the status of all of your priorities and projects?
  • Role of IT—Traditionally, IT has been either innovator or order-taker.

VIII. IT Governance (10 minutes)
Ways to know if your IT model is effective

  • Who sets the priorities, and how involved do you want to be in the process?
  • Creating a structure of committees as authority on prioritization
  • Allowing IT to be the authority
  • How to best be involved in the institution’s IT enterprise

IX. IT Budgeting and Finances (5 minutes)

  • What is an IT expense?
  • Separate versus integrated budgeting
  • Cost recovery models
  • Basic metrics—Using peer comparisons, EDUCAUSE, and Gartner data.

X. Trends (5 minutes)
Top five emerging technologies to mention at a cocktail party—or in front of your faculty senate.

Audience Interaction
There will be ample opportunity for questions and answers during the program, plus audience polling questions. Do you have a question for the presenter now that you recommend he addresses during the program? Email your question to webcast.question@scup.org.

Handouts will include the presenter's PowerPoint and other supportive articles for your reference.


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