I’ve been re-reading the Tower and the Cloud over the last few weeks and was intrigued about the positions of the authors. It is interesting to note the number of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) that have contributed chapters to the book as well as prominent academics, consultants and higher education writers. Perhaps even more interesting is the number of CIOs who are also members of the academy. This seems to be a more common occurrence in US Universities than elsewhere. I guess it is reinforced for me by the fact that in many of the universities that I am familiar with the position of CIO does not exist at all at Vice President or equivalent level. Often Directors of IT are located in a resources portfolio along with other non academic service areas.
I think this is interesting given the changes that have been forecast by some commentators for the higher education sector over the next decade most of which will be driven by the changing availability of information and the nature of interactions between information consumers. I was reading recently (unfortunately I can’t remember where) that the universities that survive in the future will be those that are smaller (and hence more agile) and those that are are strategically lead by senior executive with a strong understanding of inofrmation technology. I’m not quite sure what this means for large universities that treat information technology as a subservient support function. My guess is that they will face challenges, maybe not in three years but more likely in about five to ten years.
This is a theme that I expect to return to in the future.