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The Non-CIO Face of Technology Decision-Making

CAOs, CFOs, and presidents weigh in on the relevance of technology.

NUMEROUS STUDIES HAVE surveyed highlevel campus decision-makers on the impact of technology in higher education—giving center stage to the feedback from CIOs and other IT executive leadership. But one study by Eduventures specifically excludes the CIO/CTO categories, focusing on the observations and opinions of nontechnical senior administration.

The study’s central hypothesis is that “Non-CIO/CTO senior administrators are [enjoying] steadily increasing influence in campuswide technology adoption and implementation decisions.” To get the views of non-technical campus leadership about the strategic role of technology as “a key enabler (if not the key enabler) to attainment of core strategic objectives for the growth and health of the institution,” Eduventures researchers surveyed 432 CAOs (50 percent), CFOs (16 percent), and presidents (34 percent) at USbased institutions.

In the 2004 Eduventures report, “Higher Education Survey on Leadership, Innovation, and Technology,” The authors correlated responses on the top overall strategic objectives with responses on the degree to which technology enabled attainment. Finding “Enhance teaching and learning” number one in both rankings, the researchers summed up the obvious by saying: “Senior administrators’ faith that technology has enhanced teaching and learning at institutions pervades survey results.”

The authors also noted that while in most cases progress mapped closely to areas of institutional priority, the most striking exceptions were student retention and fundraising. These important strategic objectives—ranked 4th and 5th, respectively—revealed large gaps in attainment.

If the participants targeted (presidents, CAOs, and CFOs) continue to recognize technology’s relevance to core strategic objectives, their technology decision-making in coming years may reflect interest in applicable technologies such as CRM systems. Researchers plan to watch what happens to attainment gaps in next year’s study.

Eric Bassett will present results of Eduventures’ 2005 follow-up study during the Syllabus2005 conference, July 24-28, in Los Angeles.

Most Imporant Strategic Objectives Degree to Which Technology Has Enabled Attainment
RankStrategic Objective RankStrategic Objectives Gap
1Enhance teaching and learning 1 Enhance teaching and learning0
2Improve student learning outcomes 5 Improve student learning outcomes3
3Attract/retain facult 7 Attract/retain facult4
4Improve retention rates12Improve retention rates8
5Improve fundraising16Improve fundraising11

Participants ranked “Enhance teaching and learning” highest as boththe most important strategic objective and the degree to which technology has enabled attainment (5 of 23 strategic objectives are listed above). Source: “Higher Education Survey on Leadership, Innovation, and Technology,” (Eduventures, 2004). Excerpted with permission,

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