Board of Directors announces selection following a six-month search

educause-leadershipThe EDUCAUSE Board of Directors on January 20 announced the selection of Dr. John O’Brien as the next president and CEO of the higher education technology association, which serves more than 2,400 member colleges, universities, and corporations globally. O’Brien will succeed Dr. Diana G. Oblinger, who will now retire May 31, 2015 after serving in the role since January 2008.

“I am honored to join EDUCAUSE as president and CEO,” said O’Brien. “The opportunity presented by EDUCAUSE—as the premier leader in the dynamic, growing, and ever-changing environment of higher education—is extraordinarily compelling. Higher education is at a crucial inflection point, and technology will make a significant difference in the years ahead, ” O’Brien noted. “By convening and advancing the work of its members, the association is uniquely positioned to help the higher education community more fully realize the strategic importance of IT on campus and beyond.”

Currently, O’Brien serves as the senior vice chancellor for academic and student affairs for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU), the fifth largest higher education system in the country. An accomplished leader, O’Brien previously served as president of North Hennepin Community College, chief academic officer and acting president of Century College, and associate vice chancellor of instructional technology at MnSCU.

(Next page: O’Brien’s new contributions to EDUCAUSE)


Along with administrative experience in higher education, O’Brien brings to EDUCAUSE considerable experience using technology in the classroom through his faculty roles at Normandale Community College, Augsburg College, the University of Minnesota, the University of St. Thomas, and Augustana College. Additionally, O’Brien was director of the Minnesota “Students First” initiative which was a statewide technology project working across 31 system institutions to improve the seamlessness, interactivity, and functionality of student e-services.

“The work that EDUCAUSE does and the community it supports are more important than ever as higher education faces some of the toughest challenges to date,” said Bruce Maas, chair of the EDUCAUSE Board of Directors and Vice Provost for IT and CIO at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “My colleagues on the board and the members of the search committee are confident John O’Brien has the right mix of experience, vision, and leadership to advance the mission of the association and extend its reach, building on the strong accomplishments Diana and the EDUCAUSE staff have achieved together during her tenure.”

Oblinger announced her plans to retire in April 2014 after having led the association for a decade, first as a vice president then as president. Under her leadership, the association has seen extensive growth in international participation, membership, new programs, and influence. Oblinger is well known for the creation of the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI), which supports innovation in teaching and learning with technology, and the Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC), which provides grants and change strategies for transformational technology-mediated programs in post-secondary and secondary institutions.

“My time at EDUCAUSE has been an exciting and deeply rewarding experience. Every day our members use technology to make the world better in ways we could only dream about,” said Oblinger. “EDUCAUSE will continue to be a leader by building our profession, empowering higher education IT professionals with resources that enhance their decision-making, and facilitating collaboration with other higher education leaders,” Oblinger continued, “We look forward to John moving the association and our community forward.”

O’Brien will assume his new position June 1.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

About the Author:

Laura Ascione

Laura Ascione is the Managing Editor, Content Services at eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's prestigious Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura

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