Page 42 - Campus Technology, June 2017
P. 42

C-Level View
It should be no surprise that with one significant change, like getting a seat at the table, further adjustments are needed. Being included at the table is great! We now are to the point where there is hardly a conversation that happens in which we in IT are not asked to be there. As a result, we’ve needed to think more about balance and capacity in some regards: Now that we’ve built up the excitement, how do we actually address it all? How do we give service to
we’ve learned that we need people who may fall comfortably into that stereotype, but now we also need them to develop soft skills and the people skills that go along with that. I would say right now we are at the point, critically, where it can’t be one way or the other for our IT staff. We have to have a strong mix: people who have the technical chops and really can see things from different points of view and communicate solutions to different constituencies.
IT department can partner with them and make all these wonderful things happen, we can then actually reach them by having a really solid team of IT people who can be out and talking with the user community to see where solutions can make a difference.
CT: How has your institution benefitted by forming external partnerships?
Albin-Hill: Forming external partnerships presents a great way to both manage costs that are continuing to rise and increase our capacity to offer new services. A good, recent example is a consortium we’ve formed with four other schools in our region to obtain security-as-a-service.
We worked together to make a plan, forming our consortium called the West Suburban Information Technology Group. Elmhurst College [IL], Judson University [IL], North Central College [IL], Wheaton College [IL] and of course Dominican University pursued a contract with an outside vendor to provide a shared managed security service. To paraphrase our objectives: “The concept behind this endeavor is to enable the member schools to leverage economies of scale and scope as we work within constrained budgets to improve our respective information security environments. Each of our schools is unable to retain full-time staff to address
“How do you get to a place where people at all levels finally see technology as just an enabler and recognize the IT department as a true partner?”
each of these needs as they all arise? We are really having to try to prioritize things in new ways, because we are so often called on by every area of the university.
This is the environment in which we quickly grew to understand that all this is not just about the CIO. It has become very critical to have a team of professionals in IT who are business-savvy and can learn about what people are trying to do, so we can talk technology in terms that matter to people. I think we’ve been seeing that anyway, universally, as a profession.
Think back about the old jokes referring to the computer science majors and their pocket protectors. As a profession
And that communication can’t be purely technical jargon. It has to be in a language that our constituents understand — you’ve got to be able to walk in their shoes. So, it starts with the CIO, but it’s not just the CIO who can do all that’s required and make great progress by herself. I’ve seen, more than ever, this need for a strong team. Perhaps especially at smaller institutions, where we already have staffing challenges ... where we haven’t put that much intentional mentoring and development into the IT leaders within our structure.
So, once we create that spark for our constituencies, and we get everyone interested in wanting to see how the

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