Tapping the Potential of IT to Achieve Academic Excellence
By Dan Moore, CIO, Southeastern Oklahoma State University
A one-stop solution
A one-stop solution
One approach to help integrate data in various systems is to extend access to users via a centralized portal system. Many organizations have experienced success with this approach already and I think there could still be some opportunities out there to build portal systems further, not only for back-end users but also for customers. Encouraging vendors to help integrate portal solutions that have the capability to link various systems together and at the same time bring in needed features like mobile and accessible interfaces can be a good step forward.
Customer relationship—An edge over competitors
Greater offerings in higher education are causing increased competition among college and universities to attract and retain students. Customer Relations Modules(CRMs) that can manage the student recruitment and workflow process in a timely manner will offer institutions a competitive advantage. CRM’s that also incorporate analytics and employ communication methods that prospective students prefer will offer even more value.
Unfortunately, a recent trend on college campuses has been the need to manage tragic events and life threatening critical situations. There are several technology solutions to help with this, but the rise of these type of situations is what concerns many of us on and off campus.
Wireless Internet and Online Portals
There is an ever-increasing demand for WiFi infrastructure on campus. Students, faculty, and staff are using more devices than ever and expect seamless integration with all of them.
The expansion of online classes requires a solid IT infrastructure and close partnerships with faculty users to support course design and technology integration. Our organization recently expanded the use of document imaging in the student admissions and advising process. The system allows multiple offices to share information campus-wide that is critical to enrolling new students. This type of technology allows us to streamline operations both on-campus and also at our remote sites by standardizing the way we share information internally.
Technology appending to a CIO’s role
Funding in higher education has been a challenge for many institutions including our own. Declining state support and enrollment fluctuations impact IT budgets; however, IT has adapted by seeking external funding through federal grant programs. Because of grant funding including a Federal Title III Strengthening Institutions Grant, we are able to implement project GRAD and move beyond maintaining a status quo environment. The CIO helps to identify grant opportunities and then steer resources through each stage of the grant process.
IT departments within our industry are looking to each other to leverage resources across institutions using consortium purchasing and consolidated solutions. The CIO plays a vital role with these opportunities.
Driving Process Transformation
Southeastern Oklahoma State University was recently awarded a Title III Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP) grant that is focused on improving distance learning, student advising, and graduation rates. The grant period is five years and includes the following:
• Additional Staff Positions
• Professional Development For Staff & Faculty
• Network Infrastructure Upgrades (Fiber, WiFi, and Copper)
• Synchronous Learning System Upgrades
• Administrative System Upgrades
• Document Imaging
These improvements directly support the core mission on the institution and strengthen IT infrastructure.
A word to aspiring CIOs
• Learn to delegate your “old” responsibilities so you can fulfill your new ones. It is hard to move forward while holding on to the past.
• Look for opportunities to further develop your management and leadership skills.
• Practice talking less and listening more. What you hear may surprise you.
• Have a good life outside of your day job. Doing so will help you balance your thoughts and emotions and maintain perspective at work.
• Listen to your doctor.