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Max’s Minute: Top Issues in Higher Ed Technology

Educause recently published their annual “Top 10 Issues in Higher Education Technology” article. In this Max’s Minute video update, CIO Max Davis-Johnson, discusses how the Office of Information Technology addresses these issues at Boise State.

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Video Transcript: Max’s Minute: Top Issues in Higher Ed Technology

>> Max Davis-Johnson: Because we all want to educate and we all want to help improve society.

TITLE: Boise State University, Office of Information Technology, Max’s Minute, March 2018

>> Max: Hi, this is Max Davis-Johnson, Boise State University, Office of Information Technology. Today I’m going to talk a little bit about Educause and specifically about the Educause Top Ten IT Issues.

Basically, every higher ed institution in the country is part of the organization, and their focus is higher ed technology. What’s neat about higher ed technology is that we share our successes, we share how we do things, we share our failures. But the important this is that we share.

And Educause is a national organization that helps facilitate that sharing of IT knowledge across all institutions. And some of that goes back to the fact that we all have a common mission. And so that’s sort of what drives Educause as an organization.

Educause does produce a monthly magazine and this particular magazine focuses on the top ten issues here, top ten IT issues. Ten years ago, probably a lot more technology specific, more concerned about issues with certain technology. Now as you look at it you can see technology has somewhat matured in higher ed and so there’s more concern about how we use that technology, are we using, doing the right technology, whether the processes and the people that are behind that technology.

So, one of the big issues that basically keeps me up at night, and again we’re talking IT issues here across higher ed, is the concept of institutional-wide IT strategy which is basically, “repositioning or reinforcing the role of IT leadership as an integral strategic partner in institutional leadership in achieving institutional missions.”

As OIT goes down their path, are we meeting the needs, institution wide, of the university? And, how do we approach that, how do we check, how do we get verification, how do we get input in the direction that we’re going?

And so we do rely on two organizations here, or high level committees: ITPC which is IT Planning Committee. And then at a higher level we also have ITGC, or the IT Governance Council, which basically consists of the University VP’s. Again, they approve basically what we’re bringing forward from ITPC, they help us define policy. One of their goals is to make sure we are aligning ourselves with the institutional goals. And so we do rely heavily on those.

So, the second Educase top ten IT issue that resonates with me and certainly is a primary focus is our IT staffing and organizational model. At the end of the day, the biggest asset we have is the people in OIT, the work they do, the skill level they have, the broad range of talent they have. And making sure that there’s a progression path for folks in IT. Making sure that people are in the right position, that we’re playing to people’s strengths, that’s very critical. Making sure they understand what the expectations are.

And I’ve said this a few times before, it’s not necessarily technology that drives us, but it’s the combination of technology, process, and people, and people being the key component.

So, to summarize: these are all important issues. I encourage you to go out, and we’ll provide a link to these issues. Certainly we’d like some feedback. If you think we’re not addressing these issues properly, let me know. And we’ll see what we can do to move forward. Not necessarily mediating, because some of these issues will never go away, but addressing them as appropriate and hopefully making them less of an issue than they are now.

Thank you.