The role Of the Chief Information Officer in Higher Education

31 Oct

In many respects education can be viewed as an industry. This statement can be taken into context with the views of higher education. The running of college’s is like running a large multinational company with as many as 18,000 to 20,000 workers/students. With the information explosion that has taken place and an ever increasing need for computers and telecommunications for students in college, it is no wonder why more and more colleges and universities are employing chief information officers to help manage the day to day running of within these institutions.

Initially many colleges set about an infrastructure that was solid enough to support computer technologies and services, while also enabling them to keep good maintenance of the I.T areas. However it was soon realised that a chief information officer would be needed in order to bridge the gap and achieve the goals for the higher level educational facilities. Higher education facilities can face numerous problems such as student, grant and staff issues.  Another issue they may face would be due to increasing numbers attending the facility the efficiency of the how the college is run may fall behind. This is where the CIO can play an integral part. “The emergence of the CIO in education has come about quickly, but organizational structures, and to some degree position qualifications continue to evolve and vary from institute to institute”(Penrod,2,1990). Through developing business and organizational structures the CIO has enabled the higher education facilities to handle the ever increasing needs from faculty and students.

The university or college CIO is increasingly being recognised as playing a key role in the running higher educational facilities. The CIO in higher education has evolved from the 80’s right up the the noughties. The CIO has gone “from the mainframe era to the internet era”(2)(Black,P6,2006). Due to how the CIO has vast amounts of management and leadership skills it is clear they have become a key part of many universities day to day running  and planning for the future. The role of the CIO in universities will continue to be a difficult one. However since they have managed to evolve from decade to decade it is clear they will continue to have much to offer higher educational facilities for many years to come.



  1. The Chief Information officer in Higher Education.
  2. The Higher Education Chief Information Officer, A 30 Year perspective.



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