The Role of CIO: Is it changed forever due to the Pandemic of 2020?

Concurrent Session 6
Streamed Session

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Brief Abstract

In response to the Pandemic of 2020, many CIOs across the nation found themselves at the intersection of remote work, teaching, and learning.  One institution shares their story and discusses the future of the CIO role on campus and beyond.


Dr. Bouchey is Associate Professor and Associate Dean, College of Professional Studies and Advancement at National Louis University where she also serves as Director of Online Academics for the university. Dr. Bouchey has enjoyed a long history in higher education and online leadership serving in roles at smaller institutions ranging from Vice President of Operations, Provost, and Dean, to her most cherished role as faculty member. Dr. Bouchey has had the opportunity to lead all aspects of an online campus in her career and spends time each week in deep dialog with an engaged personal learning network discussing the evolving nature of online education. Dr. Bouchey holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University at Albany, an M.B.A. in Entrepreneurship from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a Doctorate in Education from Northeastern University. Dr. Bouchey is proud OLC member where she is a graduate of the Institute for Emerging Leaders in Online Learning (IELOL), was awarded a Bruce Chaloux Scholarship for Early Career Excellence, and is a co-chair for the IDEA Committee for OLC. She is also a member of the leadership subcommittee for the National Coalition on Online Education (NCOE, part of UPCEA).

Extended Abstract

In March of 2020 when every institution across the globe was pivoting to remote working, teaching, and learning, Chief Information Officers (CIOs) also pivoted into the crossroads of technology and higher education.  National Louis University (NLU), like other peer institutions began to make plans to pivot working, teaching, and learning into a remote environment in mid-March.  A task force was assembled and led by our CIO, and what ensued was unprecedented in the institution’s history where a group of inter-disciplinary team came together to solve challenges, no matter their origin or type, simply based on the strengths and ideas of the team members--not according to formal role or authority.  This upending of formal authority and a fierce commitment to “can do” resulted in a relatively elegant pivot to a fully remote environment across hundreds of employees and nearly 10,000 students.  While some time will be spent discussing the pivot at NLU, the breadth of this time will be spent discussing the nature of the CIO’s role on campus, in light of the Pandemic of 2020 and the continued proliferation of online education.  Several trends and key phenomena shape the provocative question for this lightning session: 

  • The traditional role of the CIO has been to focus mainly on technology, and disruptive innovation has increasingly shifted the CIO’s focus on the business of higher education, in addition to technology.  Critical skills around leadership, change management, and the ability to work across the institution are becoming more and more important.  

  • Electronically delivered and supported education has required the CIO to understand the nature of education.

  • Business continuity is now of paramount concern to all institutions, and technology is a key enabler in this preparedness.  

Considering all of these changes, the boundaries between technology and education in higher education continues to shrink, what does that mean for the role of CIO?