Over the last several months, Colgate University has been in the process of recruiting a new Chief Information Officer (CIO). The university has put together a CIO search committee consisting of 13 members. Vice President for Finance and Administration and chair of the CIO search committee Brian Hutzley expressed that the university hopes to fill the position by the first week of June 2016.
Hutzley stressed the importance of the search committee having engagement and input from all disciplines on campus during the hiring process in order to ensure that the needs of the entire community are taken into consideration, as Information Technology (IT) affects nearly everybody in the community.
The CIO search committee includes representatives from the Libraries, Information Technology Department, Athletics, Institutional Plan & Research Department, Admissions, Dean of the College, faculty and student body.
Along with the CIO search committee, Colgate has partnered with the professional search firm Spencer Stuart in order to expand its search for qualified candidates nationally. In recent years, Spencer Stuart has assisted Colgate to assess and recruit professional candidates for a number of administrative positions on campus, namely finding Colgate’s seventeenth President, Brian W. Casey, who will take office on July 1, 2016.
Hutzley stressed that the key to any recruiting process is to pin down specifically what the committee and Colgate are looking for from the next CIO. While in depth knowledge and understanding of IT, change management and budget management are three qualities Hutzley mentioned extremely important for the next CIO to possess, he admitted that leadership and communication skills are far more important. [These skills are] especially important on a college campus because [they] not only [have] a place in academic and administrative settings, but also play a large role in the daily operation of Athletics, Dining Services and Residential Life that are unique to an academic community. The ability for the next CIO to be able to effectively communicate with representatives from all disciplines on campus and the students themselves will be one of the most important things the committee looks for when considering a candidate.
“We’re looking for somebody who is a true leader, who can provide the vision for not only the technology but also his organization,” Hutzley said.
The position for CIO at Colgate became available when Kevin Lynch, former CIO, decided to leave higher education. Former Provost and Dean of the Faculty Douglas A. Hicks appointed Lynch as CIO in 2013. Lynch had previously served as CIO at Clarkson University from 2010-2013.
“Lynch left Colgate in a position of strength. He set the bar extremely high for the incoming CIO in terms of communication skills and engagement of individuals,” Hutzley said.
In terms of goals for the future of IT at Colgate, Hutzley mentioned both short-term and long-term projects that will be implemented on campus. One of the decisions that the new CIO will need to make is to either maintain or change the enterprise system currently in effect, especially as technology advances.
Hutzley also mentioned the position itself will be one that is extremely interactive and collaborative.
“In some organizations the CIO will make all the decisions and that doesn’t work at Colgate, nor does it work in higher education in general. So, how do you create models and systems and parties and policies that make sure the decision process is clear and levels of service are clear? Developing and enhancing our governance models are extremely important in this regard,” Hutzley said.
As the search for CIO continues, there will be opportunities for students, faculty and staff who are not immediately involved with the search process to meet the candidates and provide their feedback to the committee. Hutzley mentioned the importance of student feedback during this process, as students will have a large stake in the future of IT on campus in the coming years.