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A Meeting of Minds

Higher ed IT leaders from across the country spend a day at Syllabus2004 sharing challenges and visions.

The second annual Executive Summit convened campus technology leadership from a range of institutions around the nation for a full day of big-picture thinking. Topics ranged from Course Management Systems, Security, and Privacy, to Budgeting.

Delivering the results of an exclusive Summit survey of participants is the first order of business, and opens the meeting. Researcher Mary Fallon presents her findings, including a ranking of key IT issues and an analysis of anecdotal interviews completed a few weeks prior to the event. Casey Green then offers commentary and perspectives from his own Campus Computing Survey and other current research.

There’s always time for informal discussions like this one between University of Florida associate provost for Distance/Executive/Continuing Education Bill Riffee, and Casey Green (foreground). Isn’t that how all the really important work gets done?

A highly interactive format draws Summit attendees. MIT Assistant Provost and Director of Academic Computing Vijay Kumar takes the floating mike, and adds his comments.

Two plenary panels fuel debate. “Making the Case: Campus IT Investment and ROI,” moderated by Bill Riffee, center, is a complex topic taken on by panelists Brad Wheeler, left, (Indiana University associate VP for Research and Academic Computing); Ruth Sabean, right, (UCLA assistant vice provost and director of Educational Technology); and Rich Pickett, not pictured, (University of San Diego director of Administrative Services).

“Keeping the Front Door Unlocked: Security Concerns in the Traditionally Open Academic Culture,” a panel moderated by ethicist and Carnegie Mellon (PA) professor of philosophy Robert Cavalier, calls on the experience of seasoned technologists Ron Danielson, (CIO, Santa Clara U); Anthony Hill, (CTO, Golden Gate U), and Kevin Wiggen, CTO and co-founder of Xythos Software.

In ‘musical chairs’ roundtable talks, workgroups of about eight participants each tackle the hot issues, in depth. Above, MIT senior strategist Phil Long, left, and Indiana U’s Brad Wheeler, right, lend their viewpoints to the group, below.

More food for thought. After time off and a cocktail reception, participants relax over dinner and gain yet another perspective from UC-Berkeley special assistant to the Chancellor for Science and Technology and past White House technology advisor, Tom Kalil.

Participants rank this year's issues...

  1. Course Management Systems (CMS)
  2. Network Security/ Privacy
  3. Portal Technologies/ eServices
  4. Mobile/Wireless/ Broadband
  5. Budgeting/ Infrastructure Replacement
  6. ePortfolios/ Student Assessment
  7. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
  8. Cost of Content/ Publishing

From the Syllabus2004 Executive Summit Survey Report, “IT Issues and Strategic Viewpoints in Higher Education,” July 18, 2004.

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