Friday, February 14, 2014

Advancing your career in higher-ed

David Lassner is currently Interim President of the University of Hawaii, where he served as the first Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer since 2007. He wrote a "Viewpoints" op-ed in a recent EDUCAUSE Review discussing what he believes made him a strong candidate for Interim President. Lassner's advice is certainly strong for anyone who wants to reach beyond the CIO position, but these traits apply equally well to anyone looking to advance themselves in the leadership ladder in higher-ed.

Lassner's recommendations include:
  1. Know your institution.
  2. Understand students, faculty, and researchers.
  3. Participate in the business.
  4. Collaborate.
  5. Engage with government.
  6. Take risks.
  7. Join peer communities.
I especially appreciated this statement in Lassner's conclusion, reminding us that for CIOs to be successful, we must also be engaged and willing to step forward: "We talk about whether CIOs should be 'plumbers' vs. 'strategists,' but the truth is that CIOs who are seen primarily as plumbers are less likely to be accepted as contributing members of the cabinet or to enjoy direct reporting lines to the CEO. Effective CIOs must create and lead teams that provide both effective IT plumbing and visionary IT strategy for their institutions. In addition, those CIOs who aspire to higher leadership positions must leverage their opportunities to go even further. They must demonstrate to their communities that they can provide broad internal and external leadership in areas that matter not only to the IT organization but also within their institutions and beyond."

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