October 2018 EDUCAUSE Board of Directors Meeting

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EDUCAUSE CEO and President John O'Brien provides an update on the October 2018 EDUCAUSE Board of Directors meeting.

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The October 2018 EDUCAUSE Board of Directors meeting took place just before the annual conference in Denver, Colorado. The board welcomed four new members: Raechelle Clemmons, Elias Eldayrie, Carol Smith, and Louis Soares. This wonderful group of exceptional colleagues highlights the degree to which the board represents institutions of all kinds. The board also said goodbye to retiring board members Kay Rhodes, Ron Kraemer, and Jack Suess, thanking them for their service and recognizing them for their outstanding contributions.

As part of our end-of-year activities, we reviewed the status of the 2018 EDUCAUSE goals, noting progress and accomplishments. It was great to hear positive feedback as board members praised the efforts of EDUCAUSE staff in advancing important work on behalf of members.

While it's always good to review the past and see just how far we've come, the board was equally interested in learning about where we are heading next. I eagerly shared with them the ambitious goals and objectives that we have planned for 2019, all of which the board supported. I am excited about the value-add improvements and opportunities that lie ahead for our members. The following highlights give a taste of what's to come:

  • Personalization: Develop personalized email and web communications; launch a community platform to provide additional functionality to support the work of our members and community groups; improve the member experience through enhanced analytics and feedback mechanisms
  • Professional Learning: Implement a digital learning platform to increase capacity of our professional learning programs, both synchronous and asynchronous; deploy professional learning resources in support of the leadership pipeline
  • Partnerships and Collaboration: Establish EDUCAUSE as a leader in the area of digital transformation (Dx); provide curated resources to C-suite leaders; implement key findings of the DEI Task Force

I also shared with the board the encouraging and significant work under way related to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). DEI was incorporated in visible, intentional ways at the annual conference, including through the opening keynote, many other sessions, and an interactive display wall that encouraged participants to explore "What's Beneath Your Surface?" The annual conference is just one example of our ongoing and considerable efforts to infuse DEI throughout member-facing programs and channels, including professional learning offerings, research studies, publications, the website, and partnerships.

Following the conference, I received a wide variety of comments, tweets, and emails from members around the world recognizing how powerful the DEI messages were, beginning with Michele Norris's opening keynote on the "Race Project" all the way through to remarks made by Reddit Co-founder Alexis Ohanian in the closing keynote—and a lot in between. At the conference, we also promoted the new EDUCAUSE CIO's Commitment on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and were thrilled to see that over 300 CIOs signed the statement by the end of the conference. We are currently nearing 400.

Next at the board meeting, Keith McIntosh, co-chair of the EDUCAUSE DEI Task Force, and task force member (and now board member) Rae Clemmons reported out on the work of the group, sharing the goals and measurable objectives associated with the DEI initiative. In addition to the work of the task force and the focus on DEI at the annual conference, there is a new resource hub for DEI on the EDUCAUSE website. (I encourage everyone to check it out now and periodically later, as we will continue to add resources and highlight the work that EDUCAUSE and our members are doing to promote DEI.) Board discussion then centered on the commitment to this ongoing initiative and the desire to see DEI infused into EDUCAUSE strategic priorities, programming, and partnership efforts.

As part of our end-of-year activities, members of the EDUCAUSE executive team took deeper dives into their respective areas, especially their focus on the EDUCAUSE strategic priorities. First, Vice President Stacy Ruwe reported on the association's strong financial health, despite unplanned spending events that occurred during the past year (e.g., GDPR). She also shared that membership renewals were on track to exceed 2017, including a 10 percent increase in two-year institution members. After a slight dip in recent years, international membership levels are back up to 2016 levels. Board members agreed that we are, as hoped, seeing the benefits of the new member model.

Vice President Eden Dahlstrom provided the board with a sneak peek of the annual conference. She highlighted the newest feature, Braindating—an app that facilitates 1:1 and small group conversations—and encouraged the board members to participate in at least one braindate while at the conference. Dahlstrom shared how significant thought went into making the conference fun and energizing while also expanding on and developing new opportunities for community building. On the professional learning front in general, she reported that registrations for the association's events and offerings have consistently been positive throughout the year, and she updated the board on the work being done to select a digital learning platform.

Vice President Catherine Yang provided an overview of new functionality and features supporting personalization and showed examples of how these are being deployed through the website, via email communication channels, and even at in-person events such as the annual conference. She previewed upcoming enhancements for content personalization, including the development of notification alerts that prompt website visitors to take, or complete, a specific action based on their unique roles.

Chief Information Officer Mairéad Martin, one of our newest executive team members attending her first EDUCAUSE board meeting, presented an overview of the IT Department and focused on opportunities for improvement. Specifically, Martin shared her vision for the department and for IT governance in EDUCAUSE, both of which are strongly grounded in the shift from an advisory to a strategic model of information technology. Toward this effort to become a strategic partner, Martin will begin by addressing IT service delivery and plans to do so through the application of an IT service management approach (ITIL), including creating a service desk and hiring a dedicated IT project manager.

Vice President Susan Grajek provided an overview of the upcoming focus on digital transformation (Dx), launched through the work of the Digital Transformation Task Force. She gave an update on the Horizon Report, offered a sneak peek at the 2019 Top 10 IT Issues, and highlighted recent improvements to the Core Data Service. With the retirement of Joanne Dehoney this past June, the responsibility for strategic partnerships has transitioned to Grajek, who shared that she is currently in the process of creating a cross-organization team to advance this work.

Finally, board members reported on the significant work accomplished in 2018 by two ad hoc subcommittees—the Nominations Subcommittee and the Bylaws Subcommittee. The first, chaired by Barron Koralesky, focused its efforts on how best to build up the leadership pipeline and improve the board nominations process. The recommendations of the subcommittee, including an expanded charge for the Nominations Committee, will be implemented over the next year. The second subcommittee, chaired by Kay Rhodes, reviewed and suggested changes to EDUCAUSE bylaws, including definition and clarification of officers' roles and the suggestion that the president/CEO serve as a non-voting member of the board, which is considered a best practice for associations. The proposed bylaw changes will be reviewed by legal counsel before being put forward for a vote by the board at the February 2019 meeting.

On completion of regular business, the board entered into executive session to discuss the CEO's performance evaluation (standard at the annual conference board meeting) and to elect the following new board officers: Chair: Michele Norin; Vice-Chair: Sue Workman; Treasurer: Keith McIntosh; Secretary: Barron Koralesky.

Note: Longer accounts of this and other board minutes are archived here.

John O'Brien's signature

John O'Brien is President and CEO of EDUCAUSE.

© 2018 John O'Brien. The text of this work is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0 International License.