2018 EDUCAUSE Awards

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The EDUCAUSE Awards Program, under the guidance of the EDUCAUSE Recognition Committee, brings peer endorsement and distinction to professional accomplishments in higher education information technology.

2018 EDUCAUSE Awards
Credit: Steve McCraken © 2018

The EDUCAUSE Awards Program, under the guidance of the EDUCAUSE Recognition Committee, brings peer endorsement and distinction to professional accomplishments in higher education information technology.

The Leadership Award is the association's highest recognition and honors exemplary leaders whose work has had significant positive impact on advancing the theory and practice of information technology in higher education.

The Community Leadership Award recognizes members for their roles as community leaders and active volunteers in professional service to the broader higher education IT community.

The Rising Star Award spotlights rising higher education IT leaders whose records reflect ongoing and exceptional growth in contribution to the profession and increased levels of leadership and responsibility.

Moran Technology Consulting logo

Moran Technology Consulting, an EDUCAUSE Gold Partner, is once again proud to sponsor the recognition of visionary IT leaders who are addressing today's ever-changing campus realities and transforming the strategic role of information technology across higher education.

2018 EDUCAUSE Leadership Award

Richard Katz

Richard N. Katz: For unparalleled impact and influence in higher education information technology; for developing groundbreaking initiatives, such as ECAR, which provides leading-edge insights for IT leaders, decision-makers, and practitioners seeking to advance the profession; for being a consummate bridge-builder between people, institutions, and organizations in the United States and globally

The 2018 EDUCAUSE Leadership Award is given to Richard N. Katz, principal of Richard N. Katz and Associates, to recognize his extraordinary leadership and contributions to the IT profession and the greater higher education community. Richard's impact not only has shaped the direction of information technology in higher education but also has influenced the careers of generations of IT professionals and aspirants in the United States and around the world.

In his early career, Richard advanced through the ranks at the University of California's Office of the President, culminating in his appointment as Executive Director of Business Planning and Practices. His broad experience in the management of financial, IT, and administrative services laid the groundwork for the future work he would do as a strategic thinker and leader for both CAUSE and EDUCAUSE. Under his leadership, the University of California received international recognition for innovations in accountability, capital programs, human resources and financial accounting. Richard received numerous awards including the Olsten Prize for innovation in 1986. In the footsteps of UC President Jack W. Peltason, Richard became the second recipient of UC's Award for Innovative Management and Leadership in 1996.

While Richard was widely known throughout UC and through his many speeches and publications as a volunteer with CAUSE, Educom, and NACUBO, many in the IT community got to know him best as vice president of CAUSE, the organization that merged with Educom in 1998 to form EDUCAUSE. Richard was, in many ways, the face—perhaps even the heart and soul—of CAUSE, and his genuine passion for the work of the association led many IT leaders and staff to find a professional home in CAUSE. As vice president at EDUCAUSE after the merger, Richard continued to cultivate EDUCAUSE as a member-driven organization, demonstrating his mastery in community building. Richard took pride and pleasure in catalyzing connections between people and organizations that might not otherwise find each other. He was a kindling force in all aspects of the growth and development of EDUCAUSE; his executive oversight included the EDUCAUSE annual conference, EDUCAUSE Review and EDUCAUSE Quarterly, and the association's technology operations, professional development, corporate relations, and research. Richard's leadership provided EDUCAUSE a solid foundation for its continuing growth in its conferences, publications, and corporate relations functions. Among his most significant contributions to EDUCAUSE was his founding of the EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research (ECAR), the research arm for the association to study the management, use, and impact of information technology on higher education and to provide colleges and universities with practical information to support their decision-making.

Following his fourteen years with CAUSE and EDUCAUSE, Richard has worked with trustees and regents, policy makers, faculty leaders, and staff in university systems and all segments of higher education throughout the United States and internationally. He has made a significant contribution to higher education through his extensive service on a number of corporate, university, and association governing and advisory boards, including those for Ashford University, the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC), the Ellucian Executive Advisory Council, the IBM Higher Education Policy Council, the New Media Consortium (NMC), and the Syracuse University School of Information Studies. He has generously shared his expertise by delivering more than 200 keynote addresses and has written or edited seven books—including the groundbreaking Dancing with the Devil (1999) and The Tower and the Cloud (2008)—and more than 75 articles, monographs, and book chapters. Richard's videos "EDU@2020" (2007), "EDU@2025" (2012), and "Edifice Rex: The Place of Place" (2014) are examples of how his work transcends information technology to raise awareness of higher education's role in building lives of impact.

Richard N. Katz personifies what it means to be a leader, visionary, innovator, scholar, and entrepreneur in higher education, and he is most deserving of the EDUCAUSE Leadership Award. He has been both a beacon and a bridge-builder in our community, and his influence is evident in the many individuals and institutions that have benefited from the wisdom, guidance, and inspiration he has provided in his capacity as an advisor to higher education.

You can read Katz's article "The CIO's New Clothes" here.

2018 EDUCAUSE Leadership Award

Celeste M. Schwartz

Celeste M. Schwartz: For extraordinary effectiveness and influence in advancing the application of information and educational technology in higher education; for cultivating a vision of continuous improvement and innovation for community colleges; for serving as a role model to aspirants in the IT profession; and for mentoring and cultivating future generations of IT leaders

The 2018 EDUCAUSE Leadership Award recognizes Celeste M. Schwartz, Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Digital Officer at Montgomery County Community College (MCCC), for dedicating her wide-ranging leadership to the profession of higher education information technology, for enabling the efficient and effective use of technology in support of student success, and for serving as a role model to women and other aspiring technologists in the profession.

From the time she stepped onto the MCCC campus in 1968 to begin her own educational journey as a computer science student, Celeste has felt a deep connection with the place she would serve for decades to come. She is regarded as an exceptional leader whose commitment to and passion for service is both unmatched and contagious.

Celeste has a reputation as a visionary who has continuously advocated for quality improvements through the adoption of innovative technology solutions. In the early 1990s, Celeste led the migration from in-house custom-developed apps (many of which she helped develop) to a commercial ERP system. She promoted the use of predictive analytics in the advancement of student retention. More recently, she merged the IT and IR departments to form a uniquely agile and effective Data and Analysis Team.

Celeste provided strategic thinking and leadership on several MCCC initiatives that profoundly influenced and improved the teaching and learning experience at the college. In the mid-1990s she collaborated with faculty to define classroom standards that continue to evolve and ensure that learning spaces have modern and effective technology. A decade later, she worked with Apple on the Digital Campus Academy program to deliver widespread course content via the Apple platform. Celeste's productive partnerships with technology providers and her participation in client advisory communities has allowed MCCC to contribute to the development and functionality of many commercial products and has provided valuable insight for vendors from a community college perspective.

High performance and exceptional dedication to the students and her community are the hallmarks of Celeste's career and the attributes she cultivates in those who work on her team. Over one-third of the IT team members on her staff are MCCC graduates, many of whom began as interns in Celeste's department. As a result of Celeste's organizational skills and leadership, the MCCC IT team has a first-rate reputation and has been recognized by the Center for Digital Education as a top digital community college eleven times, ranking three times as first in the nation. Celeste's personal approach to coaching others has extended well beyond the campus, as she generously mentors other aspiring technology leaders through her connections in EDUCAUSE and other professional networks.

Celeste has been active in the EDUCAUSE community since 1997 (and CAUSE prior to that). She was a member of the ELI Advisory Board and several event program committees (serving as chair of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference Program Committee in 2008) and was a mentor for the Hawkins Leadership Roundtable, among many other volunteer assignments. In twenty years of activity with EDUCAUSE, she has presented as a subject-matter expert on a variety of topics, including analytics and the use of technology to support student success, IT governance, and community colleges. Beyond EDUCAUSE, she has co-chaired the IT Affinity Group, a leadership and technical resource for the CIOs of the Pennsylvania community colleges. She is active in KINBER, the Keystone Initiative for Network Based Education and Research, and is MCCC's liaison to Achieving the Dream, an EDUCAUSE partner in advancing the success of community college students.

Celeste has dedicated her life's work to the advancement of innovative technology solutions that provide a bridge to student success. She is a tireless worker, empowering leader, and valued resource to all with whom she works, both locally and across the nation, and it is fitting to recognize her significant contributions to the profession with the EDUCAUSE Leadership Award.


EDUCAUSE Review: How did you get your start in the higher education IT profession?

Schwartz: I got my start in higher education upon graduation from my local community college with a job offer to be a keypunch operator. My goal was to obtain a four-year degree in business administration, and the community college position offered a benefit to cover costs of subsequent college-level courses. I worked full-time as a keypunch operator during the day and attended St. Joseph's University during the evenings for the next two years. In the early years, it was my intent to leave higher education for a corporate job. However, with each corporate offer, coincidently, came greater opportunity and promotions within Montgomery County Community College. Seven years into my career at MCCC, I was offered the opportunity to lead the IT department, and from that moment forward, I fell in love with the mission of the community college.

EDUCAUSE Review: Did someone inspire you to leadership?

Schwartz: Two mentors stand out in my early years. The first was a data-processing faculty member who supported me throughout my associate degree and in acquiring my first job in the field. The second and most significant career mentor, the dean of administration at MCCC, came early in my career and provided me the opportunity to lead the IT department at a very early age. This was also at a time when other college leaders believed that IT departments should be led by men. The dean mentored me over the next three years of his time at MCCC and throughout his retirement. It was through his encouragement that I learned that there was more to the job than providing a great infrastructure and reliable administrative and academic systems. He ensured that I understood the expectations of the leadership team and helped to prepare me to sit at the leadership table. His passion for the community college mission was evident. He demonstrated the importance of the open-access, community mission and the long-term importance of providing higher education opportunities throughout our country.

EDUCAUSE Review: When you think about your career, what lessons learned would you pass along to those starting out in this field?

Schwartz: Looking back at my career, I realize that a significant milestone occurred three years after I took on the leadership role in the IT department. With the appointment of a new president at MCCC and my completion of a master's degree in computer science, I was appointed as one of a six-member leadership team reporting to the new president. Since then, while the presidential leadership has changed over the years, I have been fortunate to remain a part of the president's leadership team for over three decades. Reporting at this level of the organization gave me an early opportunity to learn the inner workings of a community college.

For those starting out in the field, I am sharing what has worked for me throughout my career: be truthful, have high ethical standards, understand and support your institution's mission, keep learning, demonstrate value to your institution, leave your ego at the door, run your IT organization with a service mindset, solicit ongoing feedback and build your IT organization's improvements based on that feedback, listen closely to what is and is not being said, be a good observer looking for opportunities to add value to the institution, and most importantly, place your focus where it matters most, on doing what is best for your students.

EDUCAUSE Review: What are the most important decisions you made as a leader?

Schwartz: The most important leadership decisions I make don't involve technology. I believe that technology decisions are collaborative between the IT department and the institutional areas in which the technology will be used. My most important decisions have involved personnel: hiring, providing professional development, mentoring, and offering staff opportunities for project leadership and promotion. There are many technically talented individuals in the IT field. However, technical talent isn't enough. Today, critical characteristics for any IT hire include strong technical skills, strong soft skills, the energy and interest to stay current in the field, and the ability to transition from one technology area to another as technologies change. In addition to staying current with the IT landscape, IT leaders must annually evaluate the alignment of the IT organization as institutional strategies and priorities change.

EDUCAUSE Review: What have been your greatest accomplishments?

Schwartz: I have a few accomplishments over the years of which I am very proud. First is assembling an amazing team of IT professionals who all put students at the center of their work. More recently, I am most proud of my work around the involvement of information technology in student success. About six years ago, I had the opportunity to co-write a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant that supported the design and implementation of integrated planning and advising systems. The VP for Student Affairs had just completed a redesign of the advising process, and we were able to overlay technology systems onto the new advising process flow in a way that enhanced the college's delivery of support for student success. Some said we were lucky to have received the grant, but I believe it had more to do with that fact that the design was a collaborative process among faculty, advisors, and administrators. The grant set the stage for a new era of providing student success services while also fostering a culture shift within the college. The IT team supported the implementation of the new systems, and our collective IPAS (Integrated Planning and Advising Services) team was successful in receiving round two funding to continue this work. While the grant has ended, MCCC's work on student success initiatives is ongoing, with the IT team continuing to be a significant supporter and contributor. Finally, I am also very proud of my part in creating a college grant to help female CIS students gain valuable IT work experience in the technology infrastructure area.

EDUCAUSE Review: What changes have you seen in EDUCAUSE and the higher education IT community over the years?

Schwartz: In the early days of EDUCAUSE, we saw a focus on specific technologies and on research around the use of those technologies. EDUCAUSE conference attendees were more likely representing research institutions, large four-year colleges, and two-year college systems and were serving IT staff in infrastructure, administration systems, academic systems, IT support, library staff, institutional research staff, and academic faculty. Over the past several years, however, we have seen an increase in the number of smaller colleges, international institutions, and community colleges participating. We have also seen a significant shift in the annual EDUCAUSE Top 10 IT Issues lists, with higher rankings assigned to student success initiatives, thereby increasing the number of student affairs staff attending EDUCAUSE meetings. EDUCAUSE is attracting more cross-functional teams, aligning with the changes we are seeing across higher education. As the IT department starts to become a more collaborative, supportive arm of institution and align with other departments to deliver institutional strategic priorities, the numbers of those attending EDUCAUSE from those other departments will increase. I have also seen much greater participation in and expansion of the EDUCAUSE online communities, a significant increase in information and research made available via EDUCAUSE, and more emphasis on data and data sharing. EDUCAUSE is not just an organization that supports technologists but, rather, is an organization that is important in the advancement of higher education institutions as a whole.

EDUCAUSE Review: How can we prepare ourselves for the higher education IT challenges ahead? What do you see coming in the next five years?

Schwartz: To be successful with future IT challenges, we need to remain flexible, understand that the pace of change will continue to accelerate, and realize that the expectations of end-users will continue to expand as technologies remain embedded in our everyday lives. I expect that we will always be challenged with budget and staffing constraints, information security and privacy, and talent shortages in data science and information security. Over the next five years, I anticipate greater adoption/integration of artificial intelligence, smart buildings, virtual reality, and cloud services. I also expect to see a razor-sharp focus on the user experience and on increased options for self-service.

EDUCAUSE Review: What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?

Schwartz: Former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower stated, "The supreme quality of leadership is unquestionable integrity." Selecting a single characteristic is not easy, since I believe that great leaders require several characteristics. But I would say that honesty and integrity top the list. Leading a higher education IT organization is an interesting, challenging, and fulfilling career. I remain passionate about my work, knowing that I have had the opportunity to make a difference that has positively impacted students' lives.

2018 EDUCAUSE Community Leadership Award

James Phelps

James Phelps: For exemplary leadership, strategic vision, and influence in the field of enterprise architecture and other emerging technology initiatives; for community-building within the IT profession; for foresight in assessing the evolving landscape and cultivating vision to solve problems both inside his institution and across higher education.

The 2018 EDUCAUSE Community Leadership Award is presented to James Phelps, Director of Enterprise Architecture and Strategy at the University of Washington, for his unique and remarkable contributions to information technology and the higher education community, including his prescient understanding of the importance that enterprise architecture will have in both commercial and academic enterprises.

Jim's strong sense of giving back to the community and contributing to the common good was present in his early career choice to work on medical products to assist in the treatment of brain tumors. Building on his passion to employ technology in the service of others, Jim returned to higher education and, over the past twenty-four years, has served in a variety of roles and across multiple institutions and organizations. Each step of his journey has brought increased responsibility and expanded leadership.

During his work at the Biological Computing Consortium at Oregon State University, Jim promoted a holistic vision of information technology, working collaboratively with staff and researchers to develop a suite of services in support of his vision, guiding the organization to new funding and staffing models, and developing pathways to larger opportunities and success. When Jim's career led him to a position as an enterprise architect at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, he worked with key university leaders to promote a deeper understanding of the strategic role that information technology could play in the university's mission and established a series of IT solutions that fundamentally changed the ways the university conducted its business. He also worked to build deep collaborative partnerships between the administrative units and the IT organization to improve the student experience.

While at UW–Madison, Jim worked with Internet2 to help spread knowledge and teach best practices surrounding the emerging issue of identity and access management. These efforts led him to work with the leadership of Internet2 and EDUCAUSE to found Itana (so named for its focus on IT Architecture in Academia). Jim's vision for the organization has guided Itana through an expansion in both its focus and its membership—from a small group at its inception to a current group of over 700 active constituents. And Jim's masterful facilitation of the group has created in Itana a program that engages its participants in face-to-face gatherings and every-other-week call-in programs.

In his current role as Director of Enterprise Architecture and Strategy at the University of Washington, Jim is building on his deep understanding of enterprise architecture and the field's changing and exceedingly more critical role in today's business transformation. Having served as a coach and mentor to many other enterprise architects over the span of his career, he recognizes the need for diversity in both technology and architecture services and is promoting outreach efforts. These include the EDUCAUSE Women in IT Constituent Group, with the hopes of increasing the number of women in architectural leadership roles.

Jim has been a strong advocate of EDUCAUSE through his writings and his participation at conferences and in constituent groups. Beyond EDUCAUSE, he has contributed across the professional landscape through his involvement with Internet2, Itana, the Committee for Institutional Collaboration (now called the Big 10 Academic Alliance), the Common Solutions Group, and countless other higher education collaborations. He uses his hard-won experiences to mentor others individually, to support leaders of other EDUCAUSE Constituency Groups, and to advance emerging initiatives such as the work Internet2 is doing in the Internet of Things.

Today, higher education is far better prepared to realize the opportunities afforded by information technology due to Jim's extraordinary leadership. He has focused on contributing to the greater good of the people and organizations around him, making James Phelps a community leader in the truest sense and worthy of the EDUCAUSE Community Leadership Award.


EDUCAUSE Review: Why did you decide to build Itana? What motivated you to take on that work?

Phelps: I saw the complexity of the problems that higher education faced—the growing complexity of the technical landscape and the rapid changes due to the internet and World Wide Web—and I thought: "The future of higher ed needs to be architected." I knew that we needed to design modern solutions and that doing so wouldn't be easy. I also knew that there were not enough IT architects in higher education. So I reached out to people I knew in Internet2, EDUCAUSE, and the Common Solutions Group (CSG) to find a small core group to start this work and to establish a support structure for the effort.

EDUCAUSE Review: How can we build communities to solve our common IT problems?

Phelps: About the time that I worked to found Itana in March 2007, I read "The Cathedral and the Bazaar," by Eric S. Raymond. I was taken by the idea that one person's intractable problem may have already been solved by another person. The open-source concept was gaining notice. Higher education has always had a culture of collaboration and community. What I thought, back then, was that we could share the heavy lifting. The higher education community is unique in that we are not in competition in the same way that businesses are. We don't protect our every advance or every idea as intellectual property. Give a compelling problem to a wide group of people, and some will engage to do the heavy lifting. They will be inspired by the mission.

EDUCAUSE Review: What goals should IT professionals across higher education pursue collectively, as a community?

Phelps: I think it is absolutely critical that we get our executive leadership (chancellors, presidents, provosts, CFOs, etc.) to truly understand that higher education is an IT business and that information technology is the driver of the transformation that every institution needs to go through to remain relevant. We need to find those institutions whose leaders are already converts, share the stories of how they came to see the vision, and get them to speak to their peers.

We are also in the midst of a digital transformation driven by many shifts in technology itself. Communities need to share wins and lessons learned around machine learning and artificial intelligence, the internet of things, and all the rest of the digital transformation technologies. We have difficult paths to navigate, and we must convince vendors that our requirements are also important. We should not do this heavy lifting alone but, rather, together as a community.

Finally, we need to develop the next set of leaders. We need to increase the diversity of enterprise, business, and technical architects. Communities are places where individuals can find coaches and mentors. We need to create communities to build the future leaders of higher education.

EDUCAUSE Review: How can IT professionals make the community sustainable and scalable?

Phelps: Being the solo champion is fine in the beginning. I led Itana for the first three or four years as the community grew. I found I had a few individuals who would always step up. As Itana grew, I decided it was time to build a steering committee to spread the work. The members of my steering committee are absolutely critical to the success of Itana. Itana would never have been as successful without them. They are a force multiplier. They bring great ideas to the table, as well as new networks and extra hands to solve problems. They share the heavy lifting.

EDUCAUSE Review: Do you have suggestions for gaining institutional support for community work?

Phelps: One thing I do is take ideas that I learned in the community (from Itana, EDUCAUSE, and CSG) back to my institution and tell my colleagues, for example: "This is a great idea that came from Michigan. I learned about it on the last Itana call." This helps my leadership see the value of my being involved. I also look for colleagues I think would gain from engagement with the community and bring them along to meetings, using this opportunity as a foundation for coaching and career planning. I think this has made leaders at my institutions happy to have me involved. What I gain gets spread widely.

EDUCAUSE Review: Are there specific projects you are particularly proud of?

Phelps: Last year, we asked Beth Schaefer to step into the role of Outreach Officer for the Itana Steering Committee. I loved the calls we had with EDUCAUSE constituent groups like Women in IT, Diversity in IT, and IT Service Management. I'm really proud that the committee took to heart the idea of building bridges to other groups and that this has become a core value of Itana.

EDUCAUSE Review: What is your secret for successfully balancing institutional leadership with service to the community?

Phelps: I don't think they are that separate. I lead in the community to get feedback on things we are working on in the institution and to bring great ideas from our partners back to the institution. I use the community to coach and mentor young professionals in the IT organization. I look to help those who are interested and engaged. Community leadership and involvement doesn't take that much time, and I think the value far outweighs the cost.

For example, I was on the EDUCAUSE Digital Transformation Task Force. I learned so much, and this work helped ground my thinking. When I returned to my institution, I put together a talk for our senior leadership team. What I shared helped set the stage for a day-long strategic planning effort.

EDUCAUSE Review: What do you find most rewarding when it comes to community leadership?

Phelps: Watching people rise to new leadership roles and activities. When the person who has been a lurker on conference calls for months suddenly says, "I'll help with that" and then steps up and shines, eventually taking on leadership roles for the next working group. You can see the potential and just wait for it to be realized.

I'm also incredibly proud of the work that Itana members are doing, for example, on the internet of things, the Enterprise Architecture Maturity Model, and the long-running API Management Working Group. All of that has little to do with me. I enjoy watching the community come together, form into working groups, and then do good work.

Finally, I love hearing about the breadth of work and experience of community members. With so many great efforts going on across higher education, it is marvelous to get to sample some of them.

EDUCAUSE Review: Do you have advice for the next generation of community leaders? Is there anything that you wish you had known before?

Phelps: There is a lot I wish I had known. First off is how much you learn by leading a community. People are afraid, I guess, to present to the community. They feel like they have to be "done" or have a perfect answer. I get such great feedback on my half-baked ideas.

Also, leading a virtual community helped me lead face-to-face meetings back at work. Nothing is as hard as getting a group on the phone to engage. Once you get the hang of that, you can get a room of people engaged pretty easily.

My advice? Just step up and lead. You will learn to lead, you will learn about your area of practice, you will learn about people. And you will find compatriots who are dealing with the same problems that you are trying to solve. Someone may even have already found the solution.

2018 EDUCAUSE Rising Star Award

Damian Doyle

Damian Doyle: For demonstrating exemplary leadership in the implementation and deployment of information technology in support of the educational mission; for strong mentorship and promotion of diversity for those aspiring to the IT profession; for modeling collaborative partnerships within his institution and in the greater higher education community

The EDUCAUSE Rising Star Award for 2018 is presented to Damian Doyle, Assistant Vice President of Enterprise Infrastructure Services at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), to recognize his steady progression of achievement within UMBC and his expanding influence in the profession as a role model for collaborative partnerships to achieve success.

Damian's connection with UMBC began when he was a student and scholar in the university's Honors College. He was a student employee in the Division of Information Technology (DoIT) and joined the department full-time upon his graduation. Over time, he distinguished himself by taking on some of the university's most foundational and difficult technical assignments, beginning with supporting the NSF grant to implement the vBNS (very high speed Backbone Network Service, which later formed part of the backbone of Internet2) and continuing with his leadership on numerous other projects to establish or upgrade the technology to support the educational process and maintain network security on campus.

In recent years, Damian was promoted to director, senior director, and recently Assistant Vice President of Enterprise Infrastructure Services (EIS) and also assumed responsibility for support for the university's high-performance computing facility. In this role, he has led campus efforts to move to cloud services and has spearheaded efforts to prepare technical staff in their support of this move. More recently, Damian closely collaborated with staff involved in business services, enrollment management, and institutional research to help manage upgrades to Amazon Web Services involving the university's financial and analytical platforms.

On a campus with a strong tradition of staff participation in community-shared governance, Damian stands out as an especially insightful and effective leader. Serving as the first UMBC Professional Staff Senate president to come from DoIT, Damian has exhibited an inclusive and positive leadership style that has inspired trust and collaboration as the staff and campus community face complex challenges. He has made key contributions on several high-level committees and groups on campus, always demonstrating an outlook that is thoughtful, substantive, and collegial.

Damian's commitment to UMBC's ethos of "inclusive excellence" resonates through his work to expand opportunities for under-represented groups in all disciplines. Damian serves on the internal board of UMBC's Center for Women in Technology (CWIT) and has collaborated with CWIT to develop internship programs for women and minority student employees with DoIT. As part of this same effort, CWIT students gain valuable hands-on experience working in the university's cybersecurity, Unix infrastructure, and advanced networking teams—all to help prepare them for their future careers. Damian also volunteers extensively with Maryland's First Lego League, serving as the chair of the state planning committee and one of the head referees at competitions throughout the state.

Damian has participated in the EDUCAUSE Institute Management, Leadership, and Leading Change Programs, as well as contributing to the Cloud Computing Constituency Group and the ECAR Cloud Working Group. He has also presented in or moderated several sessions at EDUCAUSE conferences and has served as a reviewer for both the Connect and the Annual Conference Program Committees. He will be among the first faculty cohort in next year's EDUCAUSE Institute program for senior directors.

Damian's demonstrated technical and managerial aptitudes in an academic computing setting, as well as his commitment to the promotion of diversity and inclusion and his consummate focus on building relationships as a bridge to working collaboratively to leverage technology, make Damian Doyle worthy of recognition as an EDUCAUSE Rising Star—and as a leader who has much more to contribute to the higher education IT community.


EDUCAUSE Review: Who inspired you when you started in your career, and who inspires you now?

Doyle: Early in my career, my love of technology is what inspired me. Whether it was consumer electronics, innovations in networking, or computing, I always loved how technology could transform and connect things. I credit my parents, and especially my father, for that love. He worked with computers as a hobby and in his job, and he involved me from an early age in understanding how they worked. He inspired me to want to know more and to appreciate things for how they were made and designed, not just for how they functioned. My mother's leadership and guidance have also been a constant inspiration to me throughout my life; from her I got my love for education.

What inspires me now are the unbelievable people I get to work with and learn from every day. The people within higher education and their stories, passions, and dreams have a huge impact every day on my thinking and motivation. I'm continually impressed by the challenges many students have overcome to get where they are, and by the faculty, staff, and colleagues who are changing lives through their work, their research, and their commitment to education. The more people I talk with, learn from, and connect with, the more inspired I am to help them succeed and achieve their goals. The best part is there are always new stories, and new people, to be inspired by.

Another source of inspiration these days is my son, Leo, who has helped me to grow in ways I'd never have imagined—from helping me tackle my fears, to seeing things in a different perspective, and to always striving to be better. That being said, I still geek out over new technology, of all kinds. It's just that now I have to work even harder to keep up with Leo and his love of technology as well as my own.

EDUCAUSE Review: What advice would you give to those who are just getting started as IT professionals in higher education and to other "rising" leaders?

Doyle: One of my biggest regrets is that while I have spent so much of my life in higher education, until recent years I didn't take advantage of many of the things that make it such an amazing environment in which to work. In higher education, we are constantly immersed in some of the most forward-thinking, innovative, and diverse environments in the world. Regardless of what your job is, it's incredibly important to step outside of your role and be involved in what is going on throughout the institution—whether that means attending events on campus, helping a student organization, actively participating on a campus committee, or collaborating with other professionals throughout the community. I've been teaching classes recently, and that has connected me with students and other faculty in an entirely new and extremely rewarding way.

These connections can help rejuvenate you and keep you motivated and focused not only on your job but also on what makes higher education so amazing. It is often too easy to say we are busy and just keep our heads down, working hard. In the end, being part of the larger community and taking advantage of our unique opportunities will help us understand who we are serving.

In short? Stay connected and involved, and take the time to appreciate what a truly unique, remarkable environment we are privileged to work in.

EDUCAUSE Review: Do you have suggestions on how best to stay current as a higher education IT professional?

Doyle: It sounds simple, but love what you do. If you are doing something you love, it is much easier to stay current because it is a passion and not really "work." Find an area within our field that you find inspiring and fascinating. Also, realize you cannot be an expert in all facets of information technology. Try to have a well-rounded understanding of higher education information technology and of higher education in general. Take advantage of all the information available from organizations related to your area of interest. Publications like the Chronicle of Higher Education and associations like EDUCAUSE itself are amazing repositories of information. I wish I had known, earlier in my career, about the information and knowledge they provide. Lastly, surround yourself with really smart and driven people, listen to them, and always be willing to learn.

EDUCAUSE Review: What can others in our community do to support young IT professionals?

Doyle: For me—and I think this is true for most other young IT professionals—there is a drive to innovate, the do new things, to solve interesting problems. To that end, leaders can be very deliberate about making sure that people have ways to grow and be challenged, ways that resonate with them as well as benefit the institution. I feel it is incredibly important that we find more ways to connect people early in their careers to the mission of higher education and to the community that exists outside of their daily jobs.

The IT organization can be very siloed, and many of the early career roles lend themselves to back-office work away from students, faculty, and much of the campus community. Managers and leaders need to be intentional about freeing up time to help jumpstart opportunities for development in younger staff. Too often these opportunities are reserved for staff later in their careers, and we are missing a great chance for new ideas if we wait. If we can help broaden younger professionals' access to new ideas and different ways of thinking earlier in their careers, we would all benefit from a great infusion of innovative ideas that would help drive change.

EDUCAUSE Review: What are you doing to ensure that you continue to grow and develop as a leader?

Doyle: Two things immediately come to mind. I try to (1) never stop learning, and (2) make a point of taking risks and putting myself in situations that make me uncomfortable. Part of learning goes well beyond reading and staying up-to-date on technology; you have to be willing to listen and to take the time to connect with people. Relationships and trust are the foundations that good leadership is based on, and you will learn more from connecting with people from all parts of higher education than you can through any other method. Find colleagues and friends, both internally and externally, who will not only support you but also challenge you to be better and think differently.

In terms of taking risks, I shied away from this early in my career, and I wish I had been braver. I finally decided that if something made me uncomfortable (e.g., public speaking or volunteering), or if every part of me was saying "Oh geez, I don't want to try that," I would immediately raise my hand and take the risk. This has led to so many amazing opportunities and rewarding experiences that I couldn't list them all even if I tried. Taking risks was not, and is not, easy. It is scary and unnerving, and I often immediately think, "What did I just do?" That being said, taking these risks has changed how I think and act in almost every aspect of my life and my career. It has also affected how I work with my son as he is growing into a wonderfully kind, caring, and thoughtful young man. I work with him to be braver and more confident than I was at his age, to realize he has valuable ideas to contribute, and to act with confidence—never hubris, but with humble conviction. I feel every leader and every person should strive to do the same.

EDUCAUSE Review: What is most important for a leader to keep in mind in order to be successful?

Doyle: For me, it is remembering that everything is about relationships, not technology. That is one of the most important lessons I've learned over the years. Technology is an amazing, innovative, constantly evolving set of tools, but still just tools. Before you can use technology to solve a problem, you have to take the time to understand the people involved and their core issue. Doing so takes time, patience, and empathy, but it's worth the effort. If you spend time connecting with people across the institution and listening to their frustrations, drives, and passions, you can learn to collaborate in ways that will resonate with them. In addition, by showing that you understand their concerns, and why they do what they do, you build trust. That trust will often evolve into a partnership. That can lead to an increased willingness to work together, to take risks, and to help drive change. Building that trust can be one of the most challenging but most rewarding parts of the job.

© 2018 Richard N. Katz, Celeste Schwartz, James Phelps, Damian Doyle, and EDUCAUSE. The text of this article is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

EDUCAUSE Review 53, no. 6 (November/December 2018)