I came across an interesting discussion on the Educause CIO listserv yesterday, around the topic of how IT can drive innovation. The discussion featured a post from the CIO of Bowdoin College, Mitch Davis…
“For IT to drive innovation, it must first be made a strategic priority by the Trustees, Senior Officers, Faculties and the Institution. This usually starts with the creation of a CIO position that is a Senior Officer, CIO and in charge of creating a culture of technology that spurs on innovation.”
Coincidentally the same day, I came across a WSJ article on the same topic, but related to the role of CIOs in corporate America.
Decided to do a quick search in the Chronicle to see what had been written on the topic, to find one the top ten Trends to watch in Campus Technology from a 1-5-07article listed as…
8. Making the CIO a cabinet-level appointment
"…Brian Hawkins, president of Educause, discussed a framework for the CIO position in the association’s journal in 2004 in which he described the position as executive level: "In thinking about hiring a CIO, members of the executive team first need to decide whether they and the campus are prepared to make a commitment to technology, to the executive role of the CIO, and to their own role and responsibility in understanding and managing the information resources within their functional areas."
Perhaps surprisingly, it appears that numbers of smaller institutions, at which communication among the leadership team would seem to be a less complex affair, have been slower to make the CIO a cabinet position. Among the institutions that have moved the position or its equivalent to the cabinet level are Brown, Purdue, and Tulane Universities, and the Universities of Maryland at College Park and Rochester."
I found all of this very interesting and exciting — since I’ve been at Blackboard (for a little over two years) it’s continually been stated that the technology is not the hard part; figuring out how to use it, manage it, instruct others in it – is the hard part. So to see a rally of support and acceptance for the CIO as the shepherd of this is truly encouraging.