Been Blogging

Yep, I still do it from time to time. I do it in various places these days and most seriously at my SB You space on campus. I use that space to help inform my campus community and to work through ideas. I also publish stuff a little less seriously at Tumblr — mostly photos from Instagram. I’d like to sit down and write a bit more long form here from time to time and I may start again now that I am a year into the new job. When I dig through my archives, I see a pattern like this — new job, less writing in this space and focus on the institutional space … get used to new job, more writing in this space and less in the on campus … and then an import of all the stuff I’ve published elsewhere. I wonder if I am watching the same pattern all over again? For now I think I am going to enjoy the last remnants of summer.


Letter regarding the final report of the Institute-wide Task Force on the Future of MIT Education

The past few years have brought mounting evidence that higher education stands at a crossroads. As with any disruptive technology, MOOCs have been viewed with enthusiasm in many quarters and skepticism in some. However, the underlying facts are inarguable: that the rising cost of education, combined with the transformative potential of online teaching and learning technologies, presents a long-term challenge that no university can afford to ignore.

via Letter regarding the final report of the Institute-wide Task Force on the Future of MIT Education | MIT News Office.

A Year of Posts

Screen Shot 2014-08-03 at 12.02.06 PMIt is hard to imagine I am arriving at my one year anniversary of joining Stony Brook University. Yesterday marked one year since I walked out of my office at Penn State for the last time after 15 years and in the next nine days it will mark a year since I walked into my new office at SBU. I am going to work on a reflection, but for now I just want to share that this space has been helpful for me to work through some ideas in public. And while I didn’t write as much as I hoped, I did get at least something out each month — I did get 52 posts in for the year so I guess an average of one a week isn’t too bad. There were times when I even got some comments and that is something I truly appreciate and hope for more of. I am starting to see other people around DoIT use the SB You platform to write and reflect — that also makes me smile as it is one indicator of an engaged organization. Perhaps over time more of us will find voices either through original posts or through the act of leaving comments.

I think using a platform like this is a great illustration of our DoIT Values, number one in particular, “Communicate: We are committed to engagement, communication, and sharing information with a human voice.” With that in mind I will commit to writing and sharing more and I hope that each of you consider how you can show a belief in our shared value. It doesn’t have to be through blog posts, but finding time to share your view of how we do our work in an authentic way is a critical part of what we do.

New York State CIO Conference

It has been so hectic that I failed to share my thoughts on the 2014 NYSCIO gathering that I attended. It was my first one and my first time getting to spend time around the amazingly beautiful Finger Lakes. This event was once again held in Skaneateles, NY and if you haven’t made the five hour trip, consider it worthwhile. The event was exceptional and I not only learned quite a bit, but got to engage in great conversations with new and old colleagues.

I really liked the quick hitting format of the event. Most sessions were panels so there were a diversity of perspectives shared during each 75 minute block of time. It was all in a general meeting room, so the agenda was set for all of us, in other words, no changing rooms. The event packed as much content into the format as possible, with a dinner reception as a kick off with Dr. Satish K. Tripathi, President, University at Buffalo giving a great talk, “Threats and Opportunities for Information Technology in Higher Education – A President’s Perspective.” I found it valuable in terms of how a President of a University views IT and how to help shape that view. Exceptionally smart discussion.

The next morning was the meat of the meeting with sessions presented by Gartner on The Higher Education CIO World in 2014, a panel on Preparing for Changing Enrollment Demographics that I found fascinating as I am newer to that conversation at the VP level and it is outside of my direct area, another panel titled, the Digitization of Education: Selected Instructional Uses of Technology & What Higher Ed CIOs Need to Know About Them that I really enjoyed and had plenty of take aways from, and a closing session that was a real highlight titled Data Loss Prevention – How a lot of effort can potentially save you a lot of money. Each session provided depth and some real world stories that I made sure to write down. The day wrapped up with a reception and dinner at a local vineyard with a keynote from NYU’s CIO, Marilyn McMillan.

I ended up having to leave earlier than expected and missed a chance to see my old friend and colleague Brian Alexander whom I greatly admire and respect. I have seen Brian on numerous occasions, but it is was a drag to miss the chance to hear him talk. I did however spend lunch with him the day before talking about trends and the world as he sees it. Brian recently started his own consulting company and was also just joined the New Media Consortium as their research director. Leaving early also meant missing Jeff Selingo, who I also really enjoy and respect. Because of that I have vowed to read his book, “College (Un)Bound: The Future of Higher Education and What It Means for Students” … knowing Jeff it will be well worth it. Below are some unedited thoughts and highlights from a few of the sessions.

Higher Education CIO in 2014

  • The position of “Chief Digital Officer” (or someone serving in a like role) is set to triple in the next year to focus on adaptive eTextbooks, MOOCs, Mashware, and other new forms of digital technologies in the ed tech space
  • Next phase will be digitalization leading to education as a digital business — providing new service delivery and business models. This will continue to challenge enrollment, libraries, IT departments, and curricular design.
  • When we are talking through this new form of leadership, it isn’t solely about technical capabilities, but about all the issues surrounding technology in the context of higher education expectations and change
  • A critical idea is to produce “technology showcases” to make the community more aware of IT offerings
  • “Every budget is an IT budget”

Digitization of Education

  • At NYU, they have a critical governance group … Faculty Committee on the Future of Technology Enhanced Education. This is something we need to consider doing in a functional way.
  • Creation of a studio for the construction of small pieces to enhance resident instruction called the “Blended Learning Studio.” Contains a Smart Board, lighting, camera, provides safe practice space, very little editing, spend about an hour with each faculty member and then use their own time after that. It sounds a lot like the Media Commons approach at PSU with the One Button Studio.
  • Instructional Technology Support at NYU


  • “You can’t stop stupid, you can only slow it down.”
  • “If you cannot enforce a policy, don’t write them.”
  • Data classification policy … 1. Sensitive: PII/PHI/Student, 2. Confidential: contract — no government fine, 3. Internal: proprietary, 4. Public: on the web freely available
  • “We let people do anything they want unless it is wrong” at Columbia
  • Losing 5000 SSN can cost close to 500k … we need to make this very clear to institutional leaders that

Sharing Experiences & Growth

We walk around with a shared value in DoIT that is focused on all of us and our growth.

We will actively hire great people, develop the growth of our staff, promote a diversity of voices, and support our staff.”

I want so badly to make sure that we as an organization find ways to support growth in a systematic way through professional development. It is a struggle to do that however — events are limited, interests are all over the place, funding is always an issue, and finding time is a complicated endeavor.

SB You Aggregate ResultsWith those thoughts as context, I’ve been discussing how important it is for us all to share our experiences at conferences, training events, and growth opportunities through participation through IT Travel & Training Reports. I’m not thinking of ultra formal reports that end up in a manger’s email, I am thinking about ways to share experiences widely so that all of us in DoIT and beyond can learn from each other. I am willing to share most thoughts on such events in the open, but I also understand that everyone isn’t comfortable with that, so I wanted to offer ways for both to happen.

Participation allows us to:

  • Share our experiences with a diversity of people
  • Help each other evaluate opportunities
  • Help ensure that training dollars are used wisely and the community can learn from other experiences

Share Your Experiences

Travel and training takes time and money. Let’s work to maximize that investment across Stony Brook by sharing information. Let your peers know where you went, what you did, and what you thought by sharing your experiences in SB You and the “IT Travel and Training” group in Yammer.

To get started:

  • We’ve created a standard list of questions that can be found in the “IT Travel and Training” group in Yammer as a guide to sharing your experiences. Simply use those to create a shareable report in Yammer.
  • Or if you’re like me and you are already blogging your experiences using SB You, please add the tag “sbuittravel” to your blog posts, and then share links to your posts in the IT Travel and Training group. By using this tag, all results can be aggregated together into a single search result.

Screen Shot 2014-07-13 at 2.33.34 PM

When we all share, our contributions can be shared with the Stony Brook community and we can all grow and learn together.

Delighting People

Running through my feeds tonight and came across this quote from Seths Blog

Do your work, your best work, the work that matters to you. For some people, you can say, “hey, its not for you.” Thats okay. If you try to delight the undelightable, you’ve made yourself miserable for no reason.

I’m not going to wax poetically about it, but it does raise some interesting thoughts given we have a DoIT value that stresses our intent to work to delight our users. Specifically …

3. Satisfy: We will work to delight our customers in the innovative delivery of our solutions and services.

Maybe it is an important thought to recognize that it can’t be done all the time and accept that? I’m not sure if that is defeatist or realistic. I wonder what people think.