When the pandemic emerged, IT and academic leaders at Bucknell University worked closely together to make sure faculty had everything they needed to succeed.
IT and faculty leaders formed a remote learning team that offered training in how to teach effectively online. Tech support staff extended their availability to answer student and faculty questions. The university expanded its WiFi coverage to outdoor locations over the summer to support faculty who wanted to teach outside when students returned to campus.
“I think the pandemic in some ways transformed our relationship,” says Vice President for Libraries and Information Technology Param Bedi. Although IT and academic leaders have always collaborated well at Bucknell during Bedi’s 12-plus years in this position, “it became a true partnership,” he observes.
One of the few positives to come out of the global pandemic is the integral part that campus CIOs have played in planning and supporting high-quality instruction at their institutions, says Kathe Pelletier, director of the Teaching and Learning program at EDUCAUSE.
At the most successful colleges and universities, CIOs have always played this part. But, that isn’t the case at every institution. Taking on a larger role in academic conversations amid the shift to remote teaching and learning could allow CIOs to demonstrate their value in contributing to instructional decisions, Pelletier says.