Information Technology Services


Date of this Version


Document Type



Educause Review, May/June 2013, pp. 11-19


Copyright 2013 Mark Askren


Those of us who are IT professionals in higher education spend a lot of our time focused on the “new normal” of accelerating demand, flat resources, and constant change. But we often invest little time in assessing and advancing our careers. As a community, we are typically self-motivated to reach our potential and, in many cases, to extend the boundaries of our potential. However, if we are laissez-faire in our approach to career growth—in other words, if we are “too busy” to focus on ourselves—reaching our potential becomes much less likely.

In 2013, information technology matters . . . a lot. Enrollment growth, student success, next-generation analytics, increased operational efficiency, social media presence, increased research activities—these all depend on highly effective and transformational information technology, as envisioned and implemented by the CIO-level IT leader. Yet in a troubling trend, the belief that being a CIO is not a great position and worthy career goal seems to be growing among IT professionals. By definition, this belief results in increasing numbers of our talented community not being interested in filling the most important IT positions on our campuses. Perhaps this is partly due to the fact that too many current CIOs grumble about the difficult aspects of the role. There are indeed many challenges, but the opportunities for CIOs to make a difference at their institutions have never been greater. This is the IT position that drives change, makes investment decisions, collaborates with regional and national leaders, and ultimately shapes the future of technology integration.