Introduction to Season 2

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The Integrative CIO | Season 2, Episode 1

Hosts Cynthia and Jack talk about the guests and themes coming up in season two of the podcast.

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Jack Suess: Welcome to the EDUCAUSE Integrative CIO podcast. I'm Jack Seuss, vice president of IT and CIO at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Cynthia Golden: And I'm Cynthia Golden, associate provost at the University of Pittsburgh. Each episode we welcome a guest from in or around higher education technology as we talk about repositioning or reinforcing the role of IT leadership as an integral strategic partner in support of the institutional mission.

Hello to all of our listeners. I'm Cynthia Golden.

Jack Suess: And I'm Jack Seuss. Today we're going to spend a few minutes talking about season 2 of our podcast, the Integrative CIO. EDUCAUSE and our producer, Gerry Bain are getting ready to release another set of episodes that we hope you'll enjoy. I know I really enjoyed making them.

Cynthia Golden: So did I. And if you're familiar with the podcast, you know that we talk to higher ed CIOs and IT leaders about the integrative role information technology plays in our institutions and the integrative nature of the role of the leader. We've talked not only with CIOs, but with senior leaders of educational technology, data analytics, and even with those who recruit and place professionals in key roles. In season 1, we had a broad set of conversations raging from skills the CIO needs to building careers to managing change. It was a really rich set of conversations, and if you haven't had the chance to listen, please tune in.

Jack Suess: I especially think the session with Phil Goldstein and Mary Beth Baker from NextGen Leadership Partners was incredibly useful to those who might be looking for their next job. Here's a short clip of Phil talking about some of the things colleges and universities are looking for in an IT leader.

Phil Goldstein: The recognition of the competition for IT talent, recruitment, and retention has really put an emphasis on leaders in not just CIOs, but rising CIOs as well, who establish organizational culture, who really can think creatively about staffing strategies, who can think about professional development, who could think about diversity, equity, and inclusion if we can create a sense of belonging in the IT organization for people and ideas from very diverse backgrounds and perspectives that that's gone way up higher on the list of criteria, because you're leading people much more than you're reading technology at this point.

Cynthia Golden: That was a really great session, Jack. If our listeners want to tune into the entire show or any of the other shows from our first season, you can find them at the EDUCAUSE website or on Spotify, on Apple, Google Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Jack Suess: So this season we focused our conversations around EDUCAUSE's top 10 issues for 2023. Each of our interviews we talked about what was top of mind with our guests and our community in general. The 2023 top 10 issues list came out in late fall of 2022. We've had some fantastic conversation about the way EDUCAUSE has framed the issues. They've grouped the top 10 issues into three foundational models, the first, leadership or leading with wisdom, the second, data or the ultra intelligent institution, and the third, work and learning where everything is anywhere.

Cynthia Golden: So for example, if we take the third set of issues about work and learning and the idea that everything is anywhere, this really acknowledges the effect of the pandemic and how it has pushed us more quickly toward digital transformation. So when we think about our campuses and how things have changed, we know that the campus now truly consists of both the physical and the digital environments. Issues we explored in this area of focus deal with managing and supporting our students, our staff, our faculty, and our systems when learning and teaching and working is happening everywhere, on our physical campuses and any place else we can imagine.

Jack Suess: I thought we just had great conversations on this topic. I really enjoyed talking with Jackie Malcolm on Minnesota State College System. She's leading an ERP implementation across 30 institutions and talked about the power of communicating. Her early career was in marketing and communications, and she draws on this regularly in her work.

I also remember the conversations we had with Lois Brooks from Wisconsin and Steve Burrell from Northern Arizona. Lois has a very large organization and is working to intentionally build connections between teams into their virtual meetings. Steve talked about the importance of the and, this isn't simply that we are virtual or remote, but that we have to do both. For us, it's very much the era of and, A-N-D, where we used to say, "Look, they're either online or they're face to face, or they're out there or they're on campus," right? Now the narrative is, "Well, they're here and they're there. They're online and they're in our classrooms." And so we're taking the same approach as some of the information systems that we throw out there.

Cynthia Golden: I've thought about that a lot since we did the interview with Steve. The other conversation in this space I really enjoyed was with Joanne Kossuth. Joanne is Chief Operations Officer at Leslie University. She is one of those leaders who has moved beyond the IT role to lead across the institution by leveraging technology to streamline and improve operations. Joanne is so passionate in talking about people, process, and technology. It was just a joy to talk with her. She also had a lot of practical advice to share too.

Switching topics a little bit, we had some interesting conversations around the ultra intelligent institution theme. We heard how many institutions are effectively using the insights that are gained from data and analytics. It was exciting to hear President David Lassner of the University of Hawaii talk about how they're using data to advance student success at Hawaii. But they're also doing deeper dives and looking at data by different groupings and developing strategies to improve outcomes.

Jack Suess: I agree. One theme I took away from the conversations was that everyone was working on using data to improve student success. Vince Kellen talked about the ways that they were focusing on improving time to degree completion. Steve Burrell talked about using data to support student success in first generation and underrepresented communities at Northern Arizona.

Also, Celeste Schwartz at Montgomery County Community College was talking about this at the community college level and all that she's doing. Thinking of Celeste leads me to the leading with wisdom theme. This topic is front of mind for leaders who are working hard to steer the ship and manage and lead their workforce, their technology directions, and their institution. One conversation I truly enjoyed was the one with Celeste, who has been leading IT at Montgomery County Community College since the eighties. She's the consummate leader that is completely invested in doing what is right for both people and the institution and has a long history of success.

Cynthia Golden: We really covered a lot of ground this season when it comes to the leadership issues. When we talked with Lois Brooks, who is CIO at UW Madison, we started out talking about the importance of relationships in the workplace. Let's hear a little of what Lois said.

Lois Brooks: Relationships are the currency of the university. It's how you get things done. It's how you influence. And you don't underestimate not only being at the table, but being in the hallway before and after the meeting. I get probably more work done in the hallway than I do formally, building relationships, doing quick check-ins, just furthering things.

Cynthia Golden: And that's a challenge these days, isn't it? To build relationships when so many of our meetings are on Zoom. It really was interesting to hear Lois talk about her journey and how she views her role as a leader. It was also fun to hear her talk about some of the big data related initiatives currently underway at Wisconsin, particularly how they're leveraging teaching and learning data for student success.

Jack Suess: Our session with David Lassner and Garret Yoshimi of University of Hawaii has an interesting aspect to it. David is president of the 10 campus University of Hawaii system and leads the flagship research University at Manoa. And Garret is the CIO there. The interesting twist is that David was formally the CIO before he moved into the president's role and one of the few university presidents to come from IT. So Garret essentially works for his predecessor. David and Garret talked a lot about the respective roles and what a president needs from a CIO and vice versa.

We also spend a lot of time talking about cybersecurity and privacy with them. Here's a little of that from Garret.

Garret Yoshimi: It's really absolutely critical to make sure that the institution makes the necessary investments, the resources are not endless and they're not bottomless. So it's very important to make sure that we make the right decisions on investment choices, that we make the right decisions on outreach and educating the institution, all of the institutions, students, faculty, staff, researchers, our partners, our vendors, to make sure that everybody's on board with the cybersecurity, the program, the initiatives and the requirements of the space. Requirements are getting... They're literally getting pile on us all over the place from a statutory compliance point of view. And then from a threat perspective, we face a number of challenges that if you roll the plot back even 10 years that nobody ever thought we will have to deal with this level of threat and potential harm to the institution, that we have to deal with on a regular basis now.

Jack Suess: I think our listeners will really enjoy tuning into this conversation. So that's a quick picture of season 2 of the Integrated CIO. We hope you will tune in as well.

Cynthia Golden: And if you have ideas or suggestions for guests you would like to see on the show or ideas you'd like us to cover in future podcasts, feel free to drop us a line at [email protected]. Thanks for listening.

This episode features:

Cynthia Golden
Associate Provost
University of Pittsburgh

Jack Suess
Vice President of IT & CIO
University of Maryland, Baltimore County