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

One thought on “New York State CIO Conference

  1. Thanks for sharing those notes on the Security portion of the conference. Regarding the fourth bullet, how do we define “wrong?” I would answer that differently than you would. However, I think it boils down to whether or not we can defend the decisions we make if an outside party were to ask us to explain why we are or aren’t doing something that others are.

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