My EDUCAUSE 2013 Mega Post

One the things I try to do when I attend conferences is to make a detailed record of all the sessions I attend, with the exception of keynotes, which tend to get really good coverage from other folks.  I live blog the events as I attend them, which hopefully helps those who committed to other sessions, and then I do one of these “mega posts,” which summarize all the posts I attended.  Based on my itinerary, 2013 seems to be the year of big data and analytics.  I’m willing to bet a lot of my fellow attendees will agree 🙂

I’ve been in higher education for just over seven years now, and somewhat amazingly, this was the very first EDUCAUSE event I’ve ever attended.  Why didn’t anyone tell me about this conference?  It was an extremely worthwhile event, at least for me…one of the meetings I had will likely save my division close to $50,000 each year!  That savings will go a long way toward providing students at CSUN with more and/or better services.  There were lots of great sessions to attend, with lots of smart folks sharing what they’re doing with IT on their campuses.  I’ll definitely be back next year.

Without any further ado, here’s my EDUCAUSE 2013 mega-post…please drop me a line and let me know if this helps you!


Friday, October 18 (last day of EDUCAUSE was a half day)


Thursday, October 17 (my busiest day)


Wednesday, October 16 (spent a few hours prowling the vendor floor and visiting with my accessibility colleagues)


Tuesday, October 15 (each session was a half-day long)



Climbing the Leadership Ladder: An Insider’s View of the CIO Search Process

Title:  Climbing the Leadership Ladder: An Insider’s View of the CIO Search Process


  • Dianna Sadlouskos, Strategic Alliance Partner, Next Generation Executive Search, LLC
  • Philip J. Goldstein, Managing Partner, Next Generation Executive Search, LLC


This firm has done about 18 CIO successful searches, and is here to provide career coaching and observations to address the three what institutions want (candidate profile), making your case, managing your career.

The whole process starts with a consultative process with the institution about what they actually need.  It’s hopefully heavily influenced by institutional priorities.  It also includes thing “top of mind” with presidents and provosts.  Often, these folks think executive search firms have three boxes of the following types of IT pros to pull from:

  1. Optimizer:  delivers continuous improvement to IT
  2. Transformer:  early adopter of technologies, reforms and refocuses IT
  3. Strategist:  shapes institutional and IT strategies

IMPORTANT:  the institution needs a clear sense of what they’re looking for.


SLIDE:  Evolving Emphasis


  • Improve service
  • Contain costs
  • Run large technology/ process change projects
  • Provide technical leadership
  • manage Risk


  • Catalyze innovative pedagogy and enable student success
  • Enhance research competitiveness
  • Optimize central and distributed IT
  • Set sourcing strategy
  • Create sustainability


SLIDE:  Building your Brand

  • Personal Brand:  defined professional profile
  • Value:  Manage your reputation, influence the industry conversation, build a cohort community
  • Brand Attributes:  Authentic, energetic, connected, intellectual curiosity

Use of social media counts!  It’s important how you view yourself, and you have a real hand in developing your own reputation by influencing or even leading relationship-building activities.  Be true to yourself and your intentions.

Start with 3-tiered approach:  Study > Share > Build

What are other CIOs doing?  How do I want to set up my own profile and how does it resonate with the three CIO types above?  For example, if you’re interested in student success and retention, there are certainly groups you can join that will help you get up-to-speed.  Eventually, you will be able to create community with like-minded people whose ideas resonate with you.  Share your slide decks with tools like slideshare…chances are good that your experience will help someone else.

Shared some of the top CIOs using social media:

  • Baz Abouelenein
  • Phil Komarny
  • Stephen DeFilipo
  • Tim Chester

Be consistent in how you represent yourself!


SLIDE:  Presenting your Brand

If possible, arrange to be recruited

Ask for an informational interview first

Prepare a concise, tailored resume

  • quantify accomplishments
  • tailor description of experience

Cover letters aren’t perfunctory

  • Establish the basis for your interest
  • Highlight significant, relevant accomplishments
  • Proactively address anomalies


SLIDE:  Cover Letter Tips

  • Customize for each opportunity
  • Organize content:  beginning, middle, end
  • Focus on specific experiences in your background that align with this role
  • Anticipate questions, explain gaps
  • Minimize jargon
  • Proofread / read aloud

Your cover letter should tell a compelling story!


SLIDE:  Resume

  • Customize to each opportunity
  • Establish scope and scale of your position
  • Include a professional profile
  • Highlight significant accomplishments
  • Don’t forget the fundamentals

First 5-7 sentences should conjure an image of you.  PDF your cover letter WITH your resume.  If you’re telling a compelling story, length of resume is not that important.  HOWEVER, four pages is a good practical limit that most people will not read beyond.  Be sure to include enough detail, and don’t “bury the lede.”


SLIDE:  Search Committee Interview

Committees are testing candidates on multiple levels

  • Depth of experience and knowledge
  • Ability to communicate clearly and persuasively
  • Personality, energy and style
  • Leadership presence

The interview is an audition for

  • How you would interact with cabinet or board
  • What you are like as a colleague
  • How you perform under pressure


SLIDE:  Typical Questions

  • Why do you want this job?  (people often stumble over this one)
  • How have you failed and what did you learn?
  • What resources will you need to be successful?
  • How do you develop a culture of service?
  • How do you optimize the relationship between central and distributed IT?
  • How can tech help institutions gain a a comparative advantage in research?
  • How do you quickly spread innovative uses of academic technologies?

When you failed, what did you learn?  How are you a better leader for taking a risk?  That question is not a trap!


SLIDE:  Managing Your Career

Essential Experiences you must be able to articulate:

  • Build the depth of your experience
  • Plan – for an institution, org, or service
  • Vision – get the institution, a department or individuals to stretch
  • Prioritize – demonstrate how you apply scarce resources to maximize impace
  • Lead – develop eople, build cpacity, challenge your team
  • Influence – create change without authority
  • Deliver – continuously improves services


SLIDE:  If you are a Rising CIO

  • Build experience working outside your primary portfolio:  within IT, outside of IT
  • Develop a point of view on broader higher education and IT isssues
  • Proactively addres predicatble areas of doubt – leadership, strategy, risk
  • Seek opportunities that align with your deepest area of experience

Be able to proactively answer the question:  “are you ready yet?”  This is something that senior leadership teams will want to know.


SLIDE:  If you’re an experienced CIO

  • Continue to broaden your experience – research, instruction, consituent engagement
  • Refine your point of view on key issues in IT and higher education
  • Demonstrate your ability to work collaboratively across the organization
  • Develop your rising leaders
  • Articulate your key accomplishments

Strike up conversations with people who are leaders in areas you need to brush up on.  It pays off in two ways:  proves your a good leader and it helps your institution function better.



How many clients were willing to hire the rising CIO rather than the sitting CIO?  About 20%.  What got them the job was their area of primary expertise lined up with the needs of the university and they had the soft skill nailed.  They had actually worked in larger organizations, and were taking a step back.  You have to be aware the key issues the institution is facing.

What’s the best way to represent 20 years of consulting work in a resume?  You want to include in your introduction details that explains the value of consulting, i.e. diversity of experience.  Clearly articulate your accomplishments and be laser-focused with how those accomplishments align with representative examples that align with the institution you’re interviewing with.

What about “jumping Carnegie classes?”  Depends on the scale and complexity of the operation you’ve run.  For example, if going from a community college to a research university.

Where should people look for opportunities (since not all are advertised)?  Look at aggregators and cultivate search firms.  Read the job posting in the Chronicle of Higher Education.  Create a network of colleagues at EDUCAUSE and other places…endorsements can be extremely valuable and will give you the inside track on opportunities you might not otherwise hear about.




EDUCAUSE Web Professionals Constituent Group

Title:  EDUCAUSE Web Professionals Constituent Group

Facilitator:  Aren Cambre, Team Lead, Web Technologies, Southern Methodist University


Quick round of introductions, about 16 attendees.

What is the web now?  What makes it special?  What are we now?

There’s a ton of work to do yet with the web, we tend to be about five years behind the rest of the world.  We spent several minutes talking about CMSes (Ektron, OmniUpdate specifically) and how we tend to work with our marketing departments.

IT people are often are a store of institutional knowledge…do others experience this, too?  General nodding of assent around the room.  Decentralized IT units seem to be the norm.  UCLA has about 80 IT departments.  Other campuses also have many IT units.

We all leverage students to take care of our work.  It’s generally best to serve them with “progressive development opportunities.”  For example, angular framework, CloudFoundry, and Node.js were discussed.

Some talk about UX and design patterns, which led into a discussion about WCM.  Lots of Drupal, some WordPress, Cascade, OmniUpdate, plus a few others I didn’t catch.

Please use the UWebD list serve and use our EDUCAUSE web professionals list!




Turning Big Data Analytics into Personal Student Data

Title:  Turning Big Data Analytics into Personal Student Data


  • Shah Ardalan, President, Lone Star College System
  • Christina Robinson Grochett, Chief Strategist – Innovation & Research, Lone Star College System


SLIDE:  The Challenge

  • Why is our educational ranking getting worse as technology becomes faster and bigger
  • Why is the US GDP still hanging around 2.0
  • Why is the unemployment rate not reduced to an acceptable level?
  • Whay are there 4 million unfilled jobs in the U.S?


SLIDE:  The Buzz

  • Analytics
  • Cloud Computing
  • SaaS
  • BYOD
  • Big Data


Assumption is that big data can solve our big problems


The DOE MyData Button

In October 2012, the DoE announced they will add a “MyData” download button to allow students  to download their own data into a simple, machine-readable file that they could share at their own discretion, with 3rd parties that develop helpful consumer tools.


The Solution:  

What it is:

The Technical Spec

  • HEY, QUICK QUESTIONS:  do students get hired off data?  NO
  • …analytics  NO
  • …reports  NO
  • documents:  YES  (transxripts, diplomas, resumes, etc.)


Education and Career Positioning System, MyEdu Vault

Self Assessment:  values, interests, skills, personality type.  Shows jobs available.


WOW, this is a lot like the Pathways tool my team built:



Is this available for anyone?  Yes.  It’s available for $50 / year by the student, not the institution.



Campus Readiness: Communicating IT Changes to the Campus Community

Title:  Campus Readiness:  Communicating IT Changes to the Campus Community


  • Jo-Ann Cuevas, Campus Readiness Specialist, Stanford University
  • Ammy Woodbury,  Campus Readiness Specialist, Stanford University
  • Christine Jacinto, Assistant Director of IT, Humanities & Sciences, Stanford University


SLIDE:  Campus Readiness at Stanford University

  • 28K constituents
  • About 20 client-facing projects released every year
  • 2 people responsible for getting the word out to the campus


SLIDE:  When an IT Need is ID’ed…

  1. A document management solution to facilitate collaboration and manage data security
  2. PM receives approval to start the project
  3. PM creates charter
  4. PM assembles team, including campus readiness
  5. Campus readiness reviews the charter
  6. Have a meeting to review the charter (impact, audience, training, marketing, documentation, communication).  Campus readiness forecasts hours based on the discussion.


SLIDE:  Communication Plan

A living document that’s updated frequently.  Focuses on communication across phases, IDs key stakeholders and end users.  This functions as a to-do list and a kind of “shadow project plan.”  Includes a running narrative and summary.

Four main sections to the rest of the communication plan:

  1. Awareness and engagement:  who do we need who will be informed about the project?  Might include help desk, key decision-makers, governance groups, administrative assistants, power users, and so on.
  2. Training and documentation:  all the elements we need to create for ongoing needs, current employees, new employee on-boarding.  Instructional designers decide on the best approach for training, because it will vary.
  3. Reinforcement and post-implementation feedback:  what does help desk need to promote for struggling users.  We use qualtrix for survey-taking.
  4. Ok, I missed one step here – my bad.  Can’t type fast enough…


Plan Execution

Includes a ton of work:  E-mail communication, hands-on training, surveys, change training, UX testing, documentation, service promotion, e-learning dev, campus communication, instructional design, user advocacy, presentations.

We function as the user advocate and engage in a lot of geek-to-English translation.


SLIDE:  Case Studies

Case 1:  Mobile Device Management

  • Early intervention led to iteration in the development
  • UX testing led to significant improvements in usability.
  • Adoption was strong
  • When adoption plateaued, Campus Readiness held user interviews determining that further improvements were largely out of Stanford’s control.  Promotion methods were altered to address those issues and use different approaches.

The dev team embraced Campus Readiness input as they saw the impact on adoption.  Team talked a bit about some bumps in the room with AirWatch and how they mitigated some of those issues.  UX issues are considered so important now that the team can delay roll-outs to accommodate needed changes.


Case 2:  Converged Communications VoIP Rollout

Change that affects administrators; on-site training that was all-inclusive accommodated client’s busy schedules.  We started with Humanities and Math & Science departments, then went campus-wide.  Phones would be on the desk after staff went through training, ready-to-roll.

It’s definitely a good idea to reach out to your connectors, ’cause someone is always the “go-to” tech helper in a department.


Case 3:  International Travel Data Security

It’s no longer just about visas and vaccines, it’s also about data security!  You have to be conscious of where your data is going.  We have three preferences of how we want people to work (in order of preference)

  1. What would we most like you to do?
  2. What’s a good approach?
  3. What’s the minimum required?

Their shop has loaner iPads for overseas trips.  If the user MUST take their own computer, it is imaged prior to departure and is restored upon their return (and PRIOR to the computer going back on the network).


Case 4:  e-mail and calendar upgrade

At launch, the campus readiness team provides:

  • Video tutorials (what’s new and different)
  • Daily tips by e-mail
  • Front-line support
  • Demos
  • Hands-on training
  • Campus partners

Each session had a roomful of people, since implementation of such a product affects pretty much everyone.  We would also engage with key stakeholders and representatives from each area to hear what their pain points were.  We would then help these “decentralized” folks formulate their own plans for communicating changes to their teams.  This helps build community.


A “Campus Readiness Specialist” has experience with:

  • Communications/business writing
  • ID and training
  • Presentations to large and small groups
  • Help desk support
  • e-learning development
  • UX testing

Key Qualities

  • Warm, friendly and outgoing style
  • Ability to rapidly learn new systems
  • be a geek-to-English translator



Are you a part of the PMO?  No, we’re matrixed but mostly report to documentation team.

What communication mechanisms do you use…Social Media?  We do use Facebook and Twitter, we also use an IT access page as well as a space for messaging on our ticketing page.  We also use the “Stanford Report,” a daily e-mail communication managed by university communications.

Do you participate in requirements gathering phase?  Yes!  But not always…

How many people normally attend your weekly monthly meetings?  Depends, from 40 or less on weekly meetings to 81 for monthly meetings.





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