Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives


Chief of Information Officer Search

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Members of the Southwestern University Community,

I want to provide you with information on the initiative to integrate the operations of the A. Frank Smith Library and Information Technology Services under the leadership of a Chief Information Officer (CIO). I also want to affirm that Chairman Morton and I are in full agreement that it is my responsibility, as President, to determine the configuration of Senior Staff positions and the organizations that report to them. Therefore, we will move forward with the search for a Chief Information Officer as soon as possible.

The liberal arts college has a defined need for information, to serve inquiry, pedagogy, and scholarship. Traditionally, the college library along with adjacent university research libraries has provided this resource. The Internet has subsumed this tradition. Namely, Web resources and search engines have changed the nature of this inquiry process. These digital resources provide students and faculty un-paralleled access to a world of knowledge and expectancy that this online access is the norm rather than the exception.

The decision to move in the direction I have outlined is not to disrupt that which Southwestern has been doing well. In an increasingly competitive environment, our students, faculty, and staff will demand instant access to all available resources built on a high-level platform of support, services, and information. Our administrative computing system users have identified significant needs in these times of extraordinary change in technologies to support students, staff, and faculty, and we need a CIO leader to foster a plan of action to reach for these University aspirations.

While our current budget and staffing do not allow all that, we can actively move ourselves in that direction by acknowledging that our core mission is dependent upon our University community being afforded these solutions and having this access. I envision having our experienced library and information services professionals reporting to an equally knowledgeable, progressive, and accomplished Chief Information Officer.

Our ideal CIO may be a scholar who has become focused upon the need for knowledge access in inquiry, pedagogy, and scholarship. Many peer institutions, including Bryn Mawr, Allegheny, Rhodes, Connecticut, Middlebury, and Occidental have CIOs of this sort. There may equally be a current technologist with an academic background that could provide the leadership we are seeking, not to mention the possibility of a librarian with requisite academic and technology experience. Our goal is to identify the candidate who best understands Southwestern’s mission and the role of information services in fulfilling that mission.

To take us to the next step in this initiative, I am appointing a search committee that is drawn from the members of the Library/ITS/NITLE Task Force, a group that has been exploring and discussing the intersection of the Library and ITS. The members of the search committee are as follows:

  • Joey King (Chair), Vice President for Innovation & Executive Director, NITLE
  • Richard Anderson, Vice President for Fiscal Affairs
  • Elma Benavides, Assoc. Vice President for Human Resources,
  • administrative support
  • Lynne Brody, Dean of Library Services
  • Alex Gartman, Student
  • Martín Gonzalez, Associate Professor of Biology
  • Dara Harmon, Student
  • Hal Haskell, Professor of Classics
  • Jim Hunt, Provost & Dean of Faculty
  • Ed Kain, Professor of Sociology and University Scholar
  • Mary Visser, Professor of Art
  • Todd Watson, Director of Systems & Networks

Thank you. 

Jake B. Schrum