IT Leadership Roles Reflect Changes on Campus

The advent of disruptive technologies, like artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud computing, always holds threats and promises for workers. 

Those doing work that can potentially be handled by a machine are justifiably anxious. But for IT professionals, increasing reliance on tech has always been a job security factor, albeit with upskilling.

How much does an evolving campus rely on IT? How will IT leadership roles be affected?

The Connected Campus

A connected campus, much like a smart city, uses communication and other tech to maximize efficiency and efficacy and improve the lives of citizens (or learners).

When it comes to connecting a campus, there are three main areas where tech plays a role:

  • Physical safety and security – monitoring and notifications, access control, and social media mining (for threats)
  • The learner experience – infrastructure, tools, and data security
  • Facilities management and energy efficiency – improve utilization, distribute energy load, detect faults. 

Changing Roles of IT Staff

Going back even a single decade, campus IT had little to do with many of the above campus life aspects. And even their work in traditional areas, such as infrastructure, has changed in nature. 

Discussing Ithaca College’s move to Microsoft’s Azure, Dave Weil, Associate Vice President, and Chief Information Officer, says future IT will be focused on leveraging data to provide offerings that enable learners to succeed. He says IT will “focus on value-added business transformation services instead of unique coding solutions for each application.” 

The implication of this is that we will see data scientist and analyst roles become prevalent,  while hardware technicians and server support roles are mainly going to disappear or relocate outside the campus to the supplier chain. 

Changing Roles of IT Leadership

IT’s shifting role does more than impose a need to upskill staff on new technologies for IT leadership. This leadership must now assume a strategic role along with other Campus decision-makers for the first time.

Education of the future will be data-driven; not just the infrastructure it runs on, but also the content and pace at which it runs. AI brings in opportunities for personalized learning that has never been achievable previously.

Implications for Leadership Upskilling

Technical expertise and management skills are no longer going to be enough for IT leaders. To take their “seat at the table,” CTOs, CIOs, and CISOs need to become governors, negotiators, persuasive presenters and strategists.

So what does this mean for your career, you may ask. Well, only good things if you’re up for the challenge. Working with HR, IT leaders should proactively perform gap analyses in their own and others’ roles to see where skill shortfalls exist. 


As the term suggests, disruptive technologies are disrupting campus. This is a thrilling but daunting time for IT – much hangs off your ability to adapt to the change and actively steer your career.

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