2020 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.


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 for individual achievement and celebrates exemplary leadership that has had a significant and 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 DEI Leadership Award acknowledges exemplary leadership in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in our community with clear positive impacts as a result of these efforts.

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

Moran Technology Consulting logo

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

2020 EDUCAUSE Leadership Award

Jack Suess

Jack Suess: For modeling selfless leadership and commitment to innovation and creative problem-solving; for advancing research and scholarship in the areas of advanced networks, cybersecurity, identity management, analytics, and technology standards for learning technologies; for creating a culture of collaboration and opportunity among faculty, staff, students, and other stakeholders in the higher education IT community; for demonstrating commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion

The 2020 EDUCAUSE Leadership Award recognizes John "Jack" Suess, Vice President of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), for his servant leadership at UMBC, his trailblazing contributions to IT research, and the enduring impact he has had on the higher education IT community.

Jack has served the UMBC community his entire career, starting in 1978 as a student employee in the university's computer center and becoming a staff member in Academic Computing in 1981. In 1997, he was tapped to lead the UMBC central IT unit. In 2000, he was named CIO, and in 2005 he was appointed Vice President and CIO. Jack has led or been involved in almost every major UMBC technology initiative that has supported advanced research, teaching and learning, administrative systems, or technology furthering student success. Along the way, he has held roles as a systems programmer, project manager, research collaborator, and part-time instructor. Throughout his career at UMBC, Jack has leveraged technology and analytics to expand the use of IT services and technology in teaching, learning, administration, and academic research.

His national contributions include the field of networking: in 1986 he led the effort to connect UMBC to the internet as part of the National Science Foundation Network (NSFNET), and in 1998 he was Principal Investigator for UMBC's connection to the NSF's very-high-performance Backbone Network Service (vBNS). In the field of identity management, Jack led UMBC's participation as an Internet2 middleware early adopter in 2000, and he served as the higher education representative on the NIST National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) from 2012 to 2017. In recent years, he has worked to expand the university's cyberinfrastructure in high-performance computing, storage, and visualization, serving as Principal Investigator on UMBC's NSF Cyberinfrastructure award in 2014, and has been one of the leaders supporting national efforts in advancing the use of learning analytics for student success.

Jack is a strong collaborator who works quietly behind the scenes to build consensus. Across every project, initiative, and technology implementation, his overarching concern is the impact of technology on faculty, staff, and students. In recognition of his strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), Jack was appointed to the inaugural board of the Center for Women in Technology at UMBC in 1998. More recently, Jack and his team have become a model in diversifying the student workforce at UMBC.

Jack is the author or co-author of two book chapters and numerous journal and magazine articles, blog posts, and other publications. He has delivered more than seventy presentations and webinars on topics including teaching and learning, student success, MOOCs, data governance, identity management, analytics, cloud services, IT culture, and IT leadership. Jack has conducted research on fiber-optic networks, federated virtual desktops, data-intensive cyberinfrastructure, and network infrastructures supporting minority achievement in STEM. He received more than $1.7 million in contracts, grants, and sponsored research funding. He was the principal investigator (PI) on a 1997 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to develop vBNS networking at UMBC and a 2014 NSF cyberinfrastructure grant to upgrade the network on his campus to 100 Gbits. He was co-PI on an NSF grant to increase the number of women working in information technology through improved access to global resources and a state grant for broadening the IT skills of college students across all majors.

Jack's service to EDUCAUSE spans twenty years. Among his many other contributions to the organization, Jack has served on the EDUCAUSE Board of Directors (as a member, vice-chair, and  chair), the Higher Education Information Security Council (HEISC) (as a member and chair), the Network Policy Council, the Seminars on Academic Computing (SAC) Committee and SAC Board of Directors, the IT Issues Panel, the ECAR Working Groups Advisory Committee, and the EDUCAUSE Annual Meeting Program Committee (as a member and chair). He is currently a member of the EDUCAUSE Policy Advisory Committee and the Analytics Services Design Panel (ASDP) and is a frequent contributor to EDUCAUSE Review.

Nationally, Jack has served, or is presently serving, on the boards of Internet2, IMS Global, REN-ISAC, and the NIST National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace.

In 2004, Jack was selected for the UMBC Presidential Leadership Award, the highest recognition the university bestows on staff members. He was named UMBC Alumni Volunteer of the Year in 2000 and received the Internet2 Presidential Leadership Award in 2011.

Jack stands out not only because of the work he has done but also because of his investment in others. He is a thoughtful and honest mentor, an inquisitive researcher, and a groundbreaking innovator. He has dedicated his career to seeking the best path forward for his staff, his university, and the broader higher education IT community. Jack Suess exemplifies what it means to be an inspirational leader in higher education.

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Jack Suess
Vice President of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Question: What led you to higher education and technology?

Jack: My higher education career was really an accident. And one of the interesting things for me is, so I'm the first in my family to go to college. And neither of my parents actually even finished high school. And so, my dad died when I was 13 and he had had this dream that I'd go to college. I ended up, the only one in my neighborhood who went to college. All my friends went to jobs at General Motors or Bethlehem Steel or other places. And so in going to college, I had no idea what to expect. None of my neighbors had gone to college. And so it's one of those things that I had no anticipation of what even a career after college would be like. And so, as I got to college, I was kind of off on my own and one of the things that really made a difference for me was landing a job at UNBC. I had worked all my life, even in high school I worked and then I worked while I was at college. But I was working, I was a commuter student, and I was working near home and I got this opportunity to get a job on campus. I was a grader for one of the programming classes. And then after that, I got hired in the computer center and getting that job and getting a chance to see what it was like to work with technology, was very different than what it was like to be a math major, taking computer science courses. I never thought I wanted to be a programmer until I got to be working, doing programming. And I found that the work was very different than the academic side of this and I loved the work. I loved interacting with people, creating programs that did things useful for them. And so, that really was sort of the first thing that got me hooked into working in higher ed technology.

Question: What are some aspects of leadership that may not seem obvious?

Jack: One of the things that I think is important for leaders is to learn to also be good followers. One of the pieces, you know, yes, I'm the leader inside the division of IT, but I'm also a follower of other leaders on the campus, the president, the provost, the CFO, I have to be working with all of these people and we have to be sharing. Sometimes I'm leading, sometimes they're following, sometimes they're leading and I'm following. And I think learning how to be a good follower and be just someone who's prepared to roll up their sleeves and do what's necessary to help, is one of the things that all leaders need to learn, when to put leadership aside and emphasize followship and just being a good worker in the situation that's needed. I've gotten to watch Dr. Hrabowski for the last 32 years. And when you have a leader like him at UNBC, you begin to understand some things. And so, some of the words that Freeman talks about all the time are, success is never final. And what that really means at UNBC is you can't just sort of say, well, I've reached the pinnacle, I can lay down, I don't have to do more. You always have to continue to be a leader. The other thing that he really highlights is that you can never not lead. And I know that sounds odd in the answer I gave you on followship, but what never not lead means is when you're a leader, people are always watching you, even when you're not leading, they're watching you. And others are taking their cues from you. And so this is an important element in being a leader that you are always sort of under the eye, the watchful eyes, so to speak. And so, that's a part that I've taken to heart and really try to model the behaviors I want my team to be delivering with people. And it's one thing, you know, all of us have bad days, but you have to really remember as a leader that you have to be watching your actions because your actions really do take more weight.

What I've seen time and time again, is the organizations that do the best job of using technology to help them teach and learn and do research are the ones where there's some strong IT leadership in the organization on campus. And that the organization that is not just focused just on keeping the bits flowing, but understanding how we can help the school leverage things. This award ceremony opened up to us, oh maybe, I don't know, eight, nine years ago or so. And we grabbed it right away because I'm a big fan of role models and to have people kind of say, well, how did they get the award? And it gets them to have the conversation to think through who's getting the award and why. And there's always a great story behind many of these recipients. I just think it's critically important to reach out and help organizations like this help the industry. And this is the best organization, we can work here and have the biggest impact on the industry anywhere, we're on board, we're supporting. Why, 'cause it's getting the award winners out there and getting that to happen. And, you know, I've been around a long time, I'm not sure I'll be around 30 years from now, but I'll stick around a few more years. But I'm more worried about the longer term picture of the industry healthy. So things that promote that are always good for the industry and they're are good for the industry as a small boutique firm like ours, they're good for us, too.

2020 EDUCAUSE Community Leadership Award

Hilary J. Baker

Hilary J. Baker: For demonstrating innovative and exceptional thought leadership in and across higher education institutions; for modeling the values of inclusiveness, integrity, and personal commitment in service to the community and the profession; for fostering collaborative and supportive environments and mentorship among IT professionals to develop the potential of future leaders in higher education

The 2020 EDUCAUSE Community Leadership Award recognizes Hilary J. Baker, Vice President for Information Technology and CIO Emeritus at California State University, Northridge (CSUN), for her tireless and unwavering commitment to building community and advancing the higher ed IT profession through her exceptional leadership, mentorship, and dedicated service.

Throughout her career, Hilary has been a champion in helping IT organizations to implement sound planning and innovative service models to support their campus communities. As Senior Director of IT Services at the California State University Office of the Chancellor, she effectively worked across boundaries to lead system-wide planning, design, and implementation of an ERP administrative systems project for the system's 23 campuses—the largest project of its kind in higher education at that time. Later, at CSUN, she was responsible for shaping the overall direction and vision for information technology at the university, including implementing CSUN Technology Vision 2022, a university-wide strategic plan to leverage technology and create a more digitally enabled institution in support of student success. During her tenure at CSUN, she also led several innovative and award-winning technology projects, including student competitions with virtual/augmented reality and artificial intelligence themes, a student/faculty tablet initiative, and an AI-powered CSUN chatbot.

In addition to furthering higher education by exploring and implementing new technology initiatives, Hilary also has a natural ability to identify future leaders and to foster talent by providing a positive learning environment in which people can grow professionally. She not only generously supported and mentored emerging leaders but also challenged her direct reports to help identify organizational staff with the aptitude and potential to grow their responsibilities.  

At the time of her retirement in December 2019, Hilary was a member of the EDUCAUSE Board of Directors, having served in that role since 2017. During her service on the board, Hilary and EDUCAUSE President and CEO John O'Brien spearheaded the work of the International Task Force to facilitate opportunities for collaboration, increase interaction and sharing, and learn how EDUCAUSE could best serve the association's non-US members. Hilary served on the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference Program Committee several times, including acting as Chair in 2004. She participated as a member of the Recognition Committee, and she has served as a faculty member for several EDUCAUSE Institute programs. Beyond her committee and faculty service, she has been a frequent presenter on leadership and a variety of other topics at EDUCAUSE conferences.

Hilary also served as Vice Chair of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce Innovation and Technology Council and has been a member of the Oracle Education & Research Industry Strategy Council and the Salesforce Higher Education CIO Council. She previously served on the PeopleSoft Higher Education User Group Board and the Northridge Hospital Community Board and is an alum of the 2004 Leadership California Program for California women executives. In 2017, she was the recognized with an Outstanding Executive in Technology Award from the Advancing Women in Technology organization.

Hilary embodies the community leadership qualities most valued in the higher ed IT profession. The impact she had on those fortunate enough to have worked with her is unparalleled. Her ability to create environments that encourage professional growth and potential and her dedication to the success and advancement of others, particularly women in the IT field, have made Hilary J. Baker an empowering force for all those she has helped and inspired in their own professional journeys.

2020 EDUCAUSE DEI Leadership Award

Deborah Keyek-Franssen

Deborah Keyek-Franssen: For building a culture of inclusion, engagement, and improvement across the higher ed IT profession; for providing creative and visionary leadership, training, and support to help IT professionals advance in their careers; for offering mentorship and being an exceptional role model for what it means to lead through service

The 2020 EDUCAUSE DEI Leadership Award recognizes Deborah Keyek-Franssen, Associate Vice President and Dean of Online and Continuing Education at the University of Utah, for her dynamic and visionary leadership to promote positive relationships between the academy and the IT community and for her research and advocacy in support of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) across the IT practice.

Throughout her career, Deb has understood the need to increase diversity in higher education information technology, to ensure inclusive environments for IT staff, and to advocate for the technology tools and practices that would promote equity, especially among students. As Associate Vice President, Digital Education & Engagement, at the University of Colorado (CU) System, she was instrumental in convening leaders and practitioners from the CU System's four campuses and creating intentionally collaborative efforts to explore innovation in teaching and learning with technology.

Deb's work portfolio is characterized by her deep commitment to DEI. She has actively promoted programs designed to encourage and support women in their choice of information technology as a profession. As co-director of the Colorado Coalition for Gender and IT, she led a statewide nonprofit coalition of education, industry, and government representatives to increase participation of girls and women working in and studying technology. In this role, she secured grant funding directed to research projects at and for community colleges and worked with area computer science departments to promote educational and work opportunities as part of a military spouses' initiative. She has offered workshops on effective DEI practices in the recruitment, retention, and advancement of underrepresented groups and on training to help professionals in academic and technology sectors identify and interrupt implicit bias.

Among her many contributions to EDUCAUSE, Deb served on the DEI Task Force, which launched DEI as a strategic priority for the association and led to the creation of the CIO's Commitment on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. In 2009, she co-founded the EDUCAUSE Women in IT Community Group and served as co-chair of the group through 2016. The gatherings of this group at annual conferences attracted hundreds of attendees, and Deb and her co-founder, Beth Schaefer, used innovative techniques (e.g., improvisational theater and carousel discussions) to engage participants in a commitment to behaviors that would increase DEI on their home campuses. She has served as a faculty member for the EDUCAUSE Management Institute, where she taught interactive sessions on DEI, negotiation, and career development. She has presented frequently at EDUCAUSE events and has written articles on a variety of subjects for EDUCAUSE Review.

Beyond her service to the EDUCAUSE community, Deb has an extensive portfolio of advocating for DEI, open educational resources, and student success and STEM initiatives in the higher education IT community, both nationally and internationally. She has been a frequent speaker on building diverse and inclusive organizations, presenting invited keynotes for conferences sponsored by the National Association of System Heads, the National Center for Women and IT, and the Colorado Women's Education Foundation. She has been an instructor at the University of Colorado Boulder and an adjunct professor at the University of Denver, where she has taught courses on gender, race, and technology. She is a frequent blogger on DEI issues and guest-edited a Gender & IT issue of Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies.

Building on her creativity, experience, commitment, and collaborative spirit, Deb has been a passionate advocate for greater awareness of DEI practices and resources. Deborah Keyek-Franssen is a role model for promoting opportunities and reducing barriers for underrepresented groups and has made a positive impact in leading the IT profession and higher education to become more diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

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Deborah Keyek-Franssen
AVP and Dean of Online and Continuing Education
University of Utah

Question: What led you to higher education and technology?

Deborah: Most people know that I started out my career in German literature, and that's my bachelor's degree, and my PhD, and a master's degree. And at the same time that I was getting my PhD, I got a graduate certificate in women's studies, and a master's degree in higher education administration. I've known since I was probably four years old that I wanted to go to college. And I've known since in undergraduate that I wanted to work in higher education. So it's just been one of those things where I just kept going down that path. What was interesting is that starting as an undergraduate, I was a power user of technology. So I like to joke that without even knowing what I was doing, I was in chat rooms before there were even chat rooms. And I always tried to use whatever technology was available. I had one of the first Macs ever as an undergraduate, and just loved it. I didn't get too deep into it. I wasn't a technologist per se, but I was definitely a user, I really wanted to pursue using technology, and applied technology for my studies, and then of course, just for playing around. When I went to graduate school and I was a TA, I was a TA for German languages and literatures, then again, I was always pushing the edge of technology use. So I was working with the center, CRLT the Center for Research on Teaching and Learning at the University of Michigan, and testing out the tools that they were bringing on. So asynchronous group writing tools for instance, first-generation, it didn't go well, but it was fun to really push the technology to its limits in intro and intermediate language and culture classes. Now when I moved from Michigan to Colorado, I started to work for the first CIO at the University of Colorado Boulder. And Y2K was my first project. And if there is any, I think it was the best way in the world to get a crash course in the technical infrastructure of a university that keeps the administrative trains running, the educational trains running, and the research trains running. So I learned a whole lot real quickly about the structure of the university, and about the infrastructure, the technology infrastructure, that was in place. And from that we learned a lot. We learned how to reach out in a very decentralized campus, and start to bring people in, at least in communities of practice, or having people embedded in departments. And we found models that really worked, and started to investigate models for technology refreshes for instance, around the campus. But then again, this was way back in the day. After that I was working for the Atlas Institute, which is the Alliance for Technology Learning And Society. Did a lot of ed. tech research, use of technology by faculty, some obstacles to technology use by faculty and students, and ran a student computer lending program, also way back in the day. And I think one of the biggest lessons I learned, and it was, I actually repeated the same lesson out loud in a meeting yesterday, is it's not the technology, it's the practice. And I think if there's been one thing it's to look at the learner needs, the pedagogical needs and then to appropriately match that, those needs, whether they're assessment, whether they're classroom teaching styles, whether they're fully online, but match those appropriately to the tools that we have.

Question: How do you keep diversity, equity, and inclusion at the forefront of your professional strategy?

Deborah: One of the best things about being at the University of Utah right now is that there is broad and deep support for diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, practices, and mindsets. This has been making it very easy for me as a new person coming in, to be able to give authority to staff who really want to pursue this as part of their jobs. So what I have been doing personally is making sure that there's a committee looking at this, and giving the perspective from the staff level what's needed. Because if I just come in and say, "This is what we need." I could be way off, because it could just be what I need. I need to hear from the broader community, from our staff especially, to say, "This is what's missing. This is what we need to do." And to give them the authority to come up with strategy and tactics for moving us all toward being a more inclusive organization. I'm also closely aligned with campus leadership to see, what do you need? What are the other efforts happening on campus, and how can I help? And even if I can't help it with a particular project, how can I make sure that my unit is aligned with the campus vision and the campus practices? So those are just two ways, really authorizing, giving authority, giving agency to as many people as possible to develop and disseminate effective DEI practices. And then also aligning with what the campus is doing, because sometimes other people on campus feel that they're working in isolation and don't realize that they have a whole unit that can be seen as an ally to their efforts as well.

Deborah: What I've seen time and time again is the organizations that do the best job of using technology to help them teach, and learn, and do research, are the ones where there's some strong IT leadership in the organization on campus. And that's organization that is not just focused just on keeping the bits flowing, but understanding how we can help the school leverage things. This award ceremony opened up to us, oh maybe, I don't know, eight, nine years ago or so, and we grabbed it right away, because I'm a big fan of role models. And have people kind of say, "Well how did they get the award?" And take a look. And it gets them to have the conversation, to think through who's getting the award and why. And there's always a great story behind many of these recipients. I just think it's critically important to reach out and help organizations like this, help the industry, and this is organization, we can work here and have the biggest impact on the industry anywhere, we're on board, we're supporting. Why? 'Cause it's getting the award winners out there, getting that to happen. And you know, I've been around a long time, not sure I'll be around 30 years from now, but I'll stick around a few more years, but I'm more worried about the longer term picture, is the industry healthy? So things that promote that are always good. For the industry, if they're good for the industry as a small boutique firm like ours? They're good for us too.

2020 EDUCAUSE Rising Star Award

Shannon Dunn

Shannon Dunn: For contributing to advances in instructional technology; for advocating for excellence in teaching and learning; for promoting student success; for championing diversity, equity, and inclusion; for being a supportive mentor and insightful leader

The 2020 EDUCAUSE Rising Star Award recognizes Shannon Dunn, Assistant Director at the University of Florida Information Technology (UFIT) Center for Instructional Technology and Training (CITT) for her exemplary growth and achievements in the areas of instructional design, educational technology, and staff leadership.

Since joining the University of Florida (UF) five years ago, Shannon has taken on increasing responsibility, moving from her role as an instructional designer at the CITT to her appointment as an Assistant Director in UFIT, managing instructional design and educational technology services and staff at the CITT. Shannon has been instrumental in expanding the role of instructional designers at UF. In addition to course-development services, UF instructional designers now offer teaching and technology consultations, training, and curriculum development services. Shannon has also implemented many technology-focused programs and services that have positively impacted the entire university. In 2017, she introduced a slate of instructional development workshops, including some of the university's first training modules for asynchronous instructors. In 2019, she led the inaugural UF Teaching TechXploration, an event aimed at educating faculty about the tools, academic technologies, and services available at UF and advising staff on how faculty would like to leverage technology in their courses. She has also cultivated communities of practice around augmented reality / virtual reality (AR/VR) and 3D scanning/photogrammetry.

Shannon actively promotes collaboration and inclusion across the organization. She not only facilitates meetings and workshops to improve teamwork within her unit but also encourages staff from the CITT to join committees and increase their representation. Among other things, she has encouraged CITT staff to participate in the LGBTQ+ Presidential Advisory Committee, the General Education Curriculum Committee, and the Provost's Student Success Task Force. Shannon has also championed training programs to help faculty improve the accessibility and inclusivity of their online courses.

Always willing to take on new responsibilities and challenges, Shannon has served on a variety of councils and committees at UF and has progressed into leadership appointments. She served on the new faculty orientation work group and currently serves on the Teaching Innovations Committee. She is co-chair of the Teaching with Technology Faculty Learning Community and chair of the multi-institution Learning Technology Consortium. Because of her experience in academia and insights into the needs of UF faculty, staff, and students, she was asked to lead development of the UF Strategic Plan for IT 2020–2025.

Shannon has demonstrated a commitment to mentorship, professional development, and service to EDUCAUSE. She completed the EDUCAUSE Learning Technology Leadership Program in 2018 and has served as a proposal reviewer for EDUCAUSE and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI). She has been a presenter at the ELI Annual Meeting and the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference and has encouraged her colleagues to do the same. Because of Shannon's recommendations and guidance, 80 percent of the instructional designers in the CITT have presented at an EDUCAUSE conference or completed an EDUCAUSE course or program. Indeed, one of the hallmarks of Shannon's leadership style is her dedication to building up those around her. She actively encourages staff members to seek out professional development opportunities and mentors women who are pursuing careers in academia. She also started an internship program for undergraduate students who are seeking experience in academic technology.

Shannon has championed significant innovation at UFIT while maintaining a focus on access and inclusion. At the same time, she has established herself as a gifted instructional designer, an excellent mentor, and a compassionate leader. Through her contributions to UF and EDUCAUSE, Shannon Dunn has distinguished herself as a rising star in the higher education IT community.

View Transcript

Shannon Dunn
Assistant Director at the University of Florida Information Technology (UFIT) Center for Instructional Technology and Training (CITT)
University of Florida

Question: What led you to higher education and technology?

Shannon: It was not a linear path to land here. I entered college thinking that I would do physics education in a hands on museum. And it turned out that some of the math required was not quite what I was prepared for. And I made a transition to anthropology and archeology through a very fun liberal arts curriculum at a very small public institution here in Florida called New College. I went down that path fully. I thought that I would pursue an academic career. I got my masters and PhD. I had a very fun time learning a very different set of technology doing archeology over in Ireland. And in order to, I felt best prepare myself to be the type of professor that I wanted to be, I went out and I did work in the field. So I worked for a private contractor and then I worked for the federal government. One of the things that I noticed among the faculty that I had when I was a student was that they were all lifetime academics, they didn't have applied experience. And as a student who was also working in an applied area, I knew that most graduates in anthropology go into applied work. So it was really important to me to get some of that experience. As it turns out, I was not prepared to make some of the sacrifices that people often have to make to go fully down that academic path. And as I went on some faculty interviews and I started to have that realization, I really reflected on what it was that made me want to be an academic. And it wasn't as much about the research or about the publishing as it was about the teaching. I really missed teaching when I was in graduate school at Syracuse University, I was really, really fortunate to be able to participate both in the future professoriate program and the preparing future faculty programs. And at that time, technology enabled classroom meant that we had a computer in it and that we were making the transition from overheads to projectors, but that was where we were. We would do classroom visits for faculty and teaching assistants with VHS camcorders, so they could see themselves teaching, but that's where we were. And that's really where I was introduced to the idea of thinking about teaching, reflecting on teaching and even some of the articulation of technology and higher ed. So when I was in this position of realizing that maybe the academic path wasn't for me, I started to look around and think about what I could do to support teaching in higher ed that wasn't the academic route. And I land up in instructional design. And from there, I really got to learn more about the IT landscape and how IT really supports pedagogy. Now it's such a deep way across higher ed, and that's how I've landed here.

Question: What do you aspire to bring to the faculty and staff when helping them design with technology?

Shannon: So I hope that our team is able to bring to faculty and staff, some of the same core ideas that they want their students to walk away with. We want them to reflect on their experience in teaching. We want them to want to grow and learn about their experience as teachers, we make a lot of recommendations as instructional designers, that faculty are not always ready, or maybe don't have time to implement, but we hope that by planting that seed, we spark a little bit of curiosity, a little bit of interest, and maybe they'll come back and they'll be ready. So we see that oftentimes with accessibility. So if somebody has never encountered any kind of training or resources around what it means, what digital accessibility means, if we expect them to then make a fully online course, a hundred percent accessible, they may get overwhelmed. So can we start to scaffold some of that information into the instructional design process or the support process? Can we introduce heading structure and why meaningful text and hyperlinks is important. And then from there move on and the same thing with everything from course design and user paths to assessment strategies, adopting technologies that we hope are not creating barriers for students not artificially placing obstacles in their path. We were very intentionally selected and incorporated a meaningful way to develop skills and knowledge that will help the student either in the rest of their curriculum or in their job search or their careers after graduation. We're trying really hard to incorporate really explicit conversations with faculty about diversity and inclusion and how to make sure whether it is through technology selection or the language that they use and their syllabus. We've got faculty who have to use specific course policies that are provided by the institution or institutional policies, but they can add to that. They can provide a human component to that and their own interpretation, whether it's of the academic integrity policy or accessibility resources. I think it helps for faculty to take a really personal approach and try to make sure they're humanizing themselves and their course in such a strange time. So that's a diversity and inclusion is a key focus for us.

What I've seen time and time again is, the organizations that do the best job of using technology to help them teach and learn and do research are the ones where there's some strong IT leadership in the organization on campus and that's organization that is not just focused just on keeping the bits flowing, but understanding how we can help the school, leverage things. There's award ceremony opened up to us, oh, maybe I don't know, eight, nine years ago or so. And we grabbed it right away because I'm a big fan of role models and have people kinda say, well, how did they get the award and it gets them to have the conversation to think through who's getting the award and why. And there's always a great story behind many of these recipients. I just think it's critically important to reach out and help organizations like this, help the industry. And this is the best organization we can work here and have the biggest impact on the industry anywhere. We're on board, we're supporting, why? 'Cause it's getting the award winners out there and getting that didn't happen. And then I've been around a long time not sure I'll be around 30 years from now, but I'll stick around a few more years, but I'm more worried about the longer term picture of the industry healthy. So things that promote that are always good for the industry or the good for the industry as a small boutique firm like ours, they're good for us too.

EDUCAUSE Review 55, no. 4 (2020)

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