“I’m definitely more confident that I can do the job,” he said during an interview between sessions on security and compliance. “I’m not positive I want the job, but it’s good to know I could handle it.”

Rebecca Sandlin, deputy CIO at Bowdoin College in Maine, said CTL instructors have told students where campus technology chiefs should take charge, and when they should work with other department heads and faculty members.

A college IT director, for example, shouldn’t make the final decision on which learning management system (LMS) to use; rather, academic officials should have a say, because they’re better able to judge the curricular aspects of an online learning platform.

“We should never have an IT monarchy,” Sandlin said. “That’s why communication is so important in that role.”

The students’ IT network has formed over all-day classes, table tennis, and pool games in the National Labor College’s dorms, and dinners in downtown Silver Spring and Washington, D.C.

“We’ve spent an incredible amount of time together,” said Tina Finneran, education and research consulting manager at Bowdoin College.

For some CTL students, the sessions—which start at 8:30 a.m. and end at 4:15 p.m.—have provided some assurance that not all campus technology chiefs are technological prodigies bred for the job since childhood.

With a background in customer service and technical writing, Kristi Lenz, a business process analyst at Webster University in St. Louis, said she was relieved to find out that “technology wasn’t as important” as she thought it was in the college CIO role.

People management and consistent communication with other campus decision makers, she said, often trump a deep-seeded knowledge of all things tech.

“That’s really reinforced my decision to pursue a position as a CIO,” Lenz said.

Robert Loyot, IT director at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass., has attended his share of CIO training programs—including the renowned Gartner CIO Boot Camp—and said Excelsior’s CTL is the most valuable from a perspective of educational technology leadership.

The other CIO programs, Loyot said, are broad and often inapplicable to higher education.

“You get much more focusing and targeting here,” he said.