“They got into the field to do technology, and my job doesn’t look like it involves a whole lot of technology,” Brown said. “It’s a lot of administrative stuff, a lot of meetings. … But it really is an exciting position. [Because] the role of technology is so pervasive, you can have a real impact on the institution.”
Universities nationwide have launched CIO training programs and degree programs based on a curriculum that would help groom a future technology chief, although most of these offerings are not specifically for higher education.
Carnegie Mellon, for example, has a certification course that focuses on IT management and information assurance, among other subjects. Western Michigan University, Brigham Young University, and Colorado Technical University are among schools with similar programs for aspiring CIOs.
The federal government has its own CIO University, consisting of partner universities offering graduate-level courses that address “federal executive core competencies.” Most of the partner schools are located in the Washington, D.C., area and offer a range of study options, including part-time schedules and evening and weekend classes.
Excelsior officials said grooming the next wave of college CIOs—and spurring interest among technology staff who have never considered that career path—would prove important to higher education, as campuses increasingly rely on computer resources to compete for students and provide a reliable technology infrastructure.
“We expect the Center for Technology Leadership to quickly evolve as a vital resource, both for these technology leaders and for the higher-education institutions that rely on their expertise,” said John Ebersole, president of Excelsior College. “Information technology management is vital to nearly every component of higher education.”
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