The evolution of the higher education polymath: How the role of the Chief Information Officer is being impacted by information technology industry forces
The role of Chief Information Officer (CIO) in the higher education space is receiving increasing attention of late. Relatively nascent and sometimes mysterious, the individuals occupying this role need to possess an ever-evolving set of talents that could characterize them as renaissance men and women, or polymaths. The information technology (IT) industry that is principally responsible for defining the work of the CIO is changing at exponential rates with no respite in sight. How is this hyper-changing IT industry impacting the individual with overall responsibility for providing vision and leadership, as well as delivering a portfolio of mission-critical services to their college and university? Undoubtedly, this phenomenon elicits descriptors like uncertainty, agility, adaptability or even controlled-chaos. In recent years several emergent forces have prevailed, which promise to change the IT industry in profound ways, and the CIO role in ways never before imagined or experienced. These forces and how the CIOs react to them could very well permanently alter the CIO profession propelling it on a trajectory to an unknown destination. This research focuses on the higher education CIO role and examines its evolvement over its relatively short history. Furthermore, this study considers the group of IT industry factors that are most influencing the evolution of the role, and assesses how the higher education CIOs are reacting to them. This study offers evidence-based assessments about the role in current day, and traces its projected advancement amidst the uncertainty of what lies ahead. Ultimately, the future relevance of the role is analyzed and evaluated.
0489: Information Technology
0745: Higher education