Planning for Higher Education Journal

Higher Education’s New High-Tech Executives

Journal Cover
From Volume 23 Number 1 | Fall 1994
By Thomas Vernon

Over the last 15 years, an important new administrative position has emerged at hundreds of colleges and universities. Known as the chief information officer (CIO) or senior information technology executive (SITE), this important position has appeared because of the tremendous growth in the technology and telecommunications industry. In addition, the necessity to integrate new technology (the computer center) with traditional educational methods (the library), reduce costs, and manage technology growth has made the CIO/SITE a valuable institutional asset. There are three routes of entry into the CIO/SITE position. Many people come from faculty positions, where knowledge of politics, economics, and social issues in higher education is important. A few enter from industry, and others through library science. There are six models to help colleges and universities plan for the transition to high-tech higher education: (1) The CIO/SITE has almost complete control of information technologies. (2) The CIO/SITE is in charge of many, but not all, informational resources. (3) The CIO/SITE controls technological operations while traditional administrators handle nontechnical operations. (4) The librarian is the CIO/SITE if he or she knows about technology. (5) An in-house technology consultant with minor management responsiblities has control. (6) There is no CIO/SITE. As the technology revolution continues, higher education institutions will have a greater need to plan for and manage it. The CIO/SITE will not only install the information infrastructure but will have to stay informed about the tremendous amount of new technology. The CIO/SITE is a necessary member of colleges and universites.

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