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IT Funding, Student Safety Top Concerns for CIOs

University information technology officials rated funding for technology as the most pressing issue they face, according to an annual "current issues" survey by the Educause higher education association.

The survey asked campus IT managers to rank a series of information technology challenges on their campus, including security, funding, identity management, and strategic planning. Funding was No. 1.

But Peter DeBlois, director of programs for Educause, said the association believes technology spending is not an isolated concern for campus CIOs.

"We're certainly not advocating technology for technology's sake," he said "We want it to be the right use that is appropriate for different institutions, and every institution obviously has their own different missions for how technology is going to enhance learning and student services."

Ken Frazier, interim CIO at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said that while funding and computer security are significant issues, student safety is a high priority given the exposure students have on new social media services, such as FaceBook.

"Social networking is growing very, very rapidly and it's not going to stop," he said. "Since the user defines the way they disclose themselves on Facebook, it's very difficult to see how the university can protect students from their own behavior. I really worry about students," Frazier said. "I don't think many students appreciate the level of risk that's out there."

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About the Author

Paul McCloskey is contributing editor of Syllabus.

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