[Editor’s Note: This piece originally ran on Optimal Partners’ blog. Read more about Optimal Partners and their Blog here]
Ever wonder what other university CIOs and their IT departments are doing day to day? With an ever-increasing reliance on the internet and social media for marketing, it’s a no-brainer that there are so many University CIO blogs for IT departments to get the word out about their latest implementations. Although not every blog post will be directed at other IT professionals, there’s a lot you can learn from an insider’s perspective on a project, and these 7 CIOs are more than willing to give you a tour of what’s going on at their universities.
7. Cole W. Camplese, CIO at the University of Chicago
Cole Camplese, the Associate Vice President of IT and CIO at UC, keeps his user base and peers in the know with a well-written long form blog about his IT department’s most interesting projects, like their student blogging platform, UChicago Voices. Camplese is a great example of the growing trend of internet-savvy Higher Ed IT pros taking advantage of all that blogging and social media have to offer. Alongside his blog for the University of Chicago, Camplese also has other blogs from his time at other universities, as well as his own personal blog that he uses to discuss side projects and more personal topics. If you’re looking for a template to follow for how to create a successful CIO blog, or just interested in finding insights into a similar project, Camplese’s blogs are a great place to start. Follow Cole Camplese on Twitter.
(Next page: 6 other best CIO blogs)
6. University of Illinois: From the CIO
The University of Illinois is starting in the right direction, despite being new to the Higher Ed CIO blogosphere. Instead of focusing on marketing specific IT projects, UI’s CIO, Michael Hites, provides insight into topics that are important to Higher Ed. At approximately two posts a month, Hites is already outpacing most University CIO blogs, and the addition of guest posts from faculty helps add differing perspectives that keep the content fresh. If what they’ve already posted is any indication of what’s to come, then their CIO blog is definitely worth bookmarking.
5. University of Alabama’s CIO Blog
Some CIO blogs are about marketing university IT projects, while others take a more traditional approach to blogging. The University of Alabama’s John McGowan combines the two, using his over twenty years of experience in the field to chime in on some of the most important topics in Higher Ed IT, and show how his department is doing things right. Like many CIO blogs, the University of Alabama’s doesn’t get updated frequently, but when it does, McGowan makes sure to take the time to write exceptional posts.
4. Some Guy Named Rae, CIO at Davidson College
Like the University of Alabama’s blog, Some Guy Named Rae doesn’t get updated frequently, but when it does, it’s author, Raechelle “Rae” Clemmons, writes some of the funniest and most relatable posts about working as a CIO in Higher Ed. Rae, the CIO at Davidson College, shares her thoughts on a variety of topics, from lifehack-style advice for tech pros to long-read discussions about how we communicate in university IT. If you’re okay with digging through older posts, then her blog has a lot of content to offer, but if you’re looking for her thoughts on the newest trends, we suggest you follow Clemmons on twitter, where she posts more frequently. Follow Rae Clemmons on Twitter.
3. Stephen Frazier’s CIO Blog, Western Illinois University
If you’re looking for an in-depth look at what’s happening behind the scenes at a university’s IT department, then Stephen Frazier’s aptly titled “CIO’s Blog” is the place to start. Frazier takes a more informative approach to blogging, creating long-form posts for his IT department’s userbase about upcoming and ongoing projects that affect their day to day. Unlike other blogs that start out strong but taper off, it seems like Frazier has found a second wind this year, going from one post in 2015 to six posts so far in 2016. Here’s hoping that he keeps up, because it would be a shame to lose such a useful resource.
2. Ravi’s Blog, CIO at Wellesley College
Ravi Ravishanker, the CIO at Wellesley College, is another member of the growing group of Higher Ed CIOs that are very vocal online. He takes a combined approach to CIO blogging by discussing important topics and informing users about IT projects, allowing his blog to appeal to both Higher Ed users and IT professionals alike. If you’d prefer more interesting discussions mixed in with your IT project updates, then Ravi’s Blog is the place to go. Follow Ravi Ravishanker on Twitter.
1. Michigan State University, CIO Blog
Although all of the other blogs on this list are great in their own way, one stands above the rest, combining all of the qualities that make up a great CIO blog and adding in just the right amount of personality and wit to keep things interesting. Joanna Young, the former Vice President of IT and CIO at Michigan State University, struck gold with the University’s CIO blog, creating an environment where she can openly explain her thoughts on Higher Ed’s most pressing issues, while also updating her followers about Michigan State’s IT department. We’re especially fond of her “Asides” added at the end of most of her posts that highlight some of the funniest news or lessons learned from that month. Follow Joanna Young on Twitter.
While most CIO blogs don’t get updated frequently, they can be incredibly valuable to a resourceful Higher Ed IT professional. You may be going through a similar implementation or dealing with similar pitfalls, but no matter what you’re doing at your university, there’s a good chance you’ll find something useful.