By Catalina Righter
In a campus-wide email sent out on Oct. 17, Interim President Jay Griswold outlined several re-organizations that would be made in the College’s reporting structure. A large number of these dealt with changes in the Office of Information Technology (OIT).
The most sweeping was when Griswold appointed Vice President of Finance and Administration Mark Hampton to oversee the office. Griswold said in the email that OIT is “more strategically aligned within [his] portfolio than within the President’s Office under the direction of [Chief Of Staff Joseph Holt].”
These re-organizations were finally possible because “we now have a complete senior staff,” said Hampton. “A lot of the old reporting relationships were in place in anticipation of new senior staff members coming on board… In addition to the benefits of the closer alignment with business activities of the College, this organizational change frees [Holt] up to do more work that a Chief of Staff normally does.
He said, “There are clearly opportunities to improve IT services to benefit teaching, research, and the quality of life for faculty and students at the College… My goal with this reorganization is that by more closely aligning the things that need to happen with the IT-based means of making them happen we can focus more of our energy and planning into the truly transformative things that new technologies can do for the College.”
One of the most pressing tasks for Hampton is heading the search for a new chief information officer (CIO). Hampton will still be performing his duties as vice president of finance and administration, so it is important to find a candidate to oversee the “day-to-day operations of OIT,” he said. “In the meantime, I will work more directly with OIT staff… This will give me a chance to get to know better the opportunities and challenges ahead for IT at the College and to work with the new CIO to address them once she or he is on board.”
As far as a timeline for this, Hampton said, “I’m hoping to identify a top candidate before the end of the calendar year and have that person on board early in the spring semester so that she or he can play a key role in the next phase of the College’s other planning efforts.”
Currently Cal Coursey serves as interim CIO to fill the duties of Billie Dodge who was the College’s CIO from 2000-2013. She is now president of Eastern Shore Data in Baltimore.
According to Griswold’s email, a job description is available to “administrative colleagues as well as appropriate standing committees of the College.”
The job description for the new CIO will be revised from Coursey’s or Dodge’s responsibilities. Hampton said, “[I] have wanted to make sure that we have broad consensus on the roles and responsibilities of the new CIO, particularly in light of the fact that much of what formerly fell within the OIT umbrella now reports to through the library… It is very important to have a good understanding of the roles and responsibilities in the two areas for this to be successful.”
This transfer of OIT function to library functions occurred over the summer when Dr. Ruth Shoge was appointed the title of dean of library and academic technology by former-President Mitchell Rieiss. Shoge has worked at the Clifton M. Miller Library since 1990 and was appointed its director in 2004.
The changes to OIT were both timely and necessary. “We’ve reached a point in the history of IT where it’s no longer a ‘gee whiz’ kind of thing,” Hampton said. “Just as you expect to hear a dial tone when you pick up a telephone receiver, or know that you’re going to get a standard electric current when you plug something in to an electrical socket, most IT operations just need to ‘happen,’ but in very predictable, reliable, and high quality ways.”
By Catalina Righter