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IT Staff Development: An Opportunity to Think Like an External Review Team (the story of Highhopes College) Justin Sipher & Gene Spencer

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Presentation on theme: "IT Staff Development: An Opportunity to Think Like an External Review Team (the story of Highhopes College) Justin Sipher & Gene Spencer"— Presentation transcript:

1 IT Staff Development: An Opportunity to Think Like an External Review Team (the story of Highhopes College) Justin Sipher & Gene Spencer Justin Sipher & Gene Spencer EDUCAUSE Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference January 16, 2008 EDUCAUSE Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference January 16, 2008 Copyright Justin Sipher & Gene Spencer, This work is the intellectual property of the author. Permission is granted for this material to be shared for non-commercial, educational purposes, provided that this copyright statement appears on the reproduced materials and notice is given that the copying is by permission of the author. To disseminate otherwise or to republish requires written permission from the author.

2 Introductions – Justin Sipher  CIO at Skidmore College  Been at Skidmore for almost 3 years  Previously 11 years at SUNY Potsdam, last 4 as CIO  Various IT consulting engagements  EDUCAUSE Management Institute Faculty  Skidmore College  IT organization of 40 people  Decentralized (in 5 different buildings)  Helpdesk - 1st floor of Library (building, not department)  CIO at Skidmore College  Been at Skidmore for almost 3 years  Previously 11 years at SUNY Potsdam, last 4 as CIO  Various IT consulting engagements  EDUCAUSE Management Institute Faculty  Skidmore College  IT organization of 40 people  Decentralized (in 5 different buildings)  Helpdesk - 1st floor of Library (building, not department) JS

3 Characteristics of a Highly Effective group  Optimized & efficient  Commitment to communication  Focused & prioritized  Enjoyable  Optimized & efficient  Commitment to communication  Focused & prioritized  Enjoyable JS

4 Introductions – Gene Spencer  Former CIO at Bucknell University  IT organization & Merged Library/IT organization  “Living our Values”  Creating our Collaborative Organization  Asking people to "think like their boss”  Gene Spencer Consulting  Providing Organizational Development assistance  Former CIO at Bucknell University  IT organization & Merged Library/IT organization  “Living our Values”  Creating our Collaborative Organization  Asking people to "think like their boss”  Gene Spencer Consulting  Providing Organizational Development assistance GS

5 Introductions – Gene Spencer  Commitment to Professional Development  EDUCAUSE Management Institute Faculty  Frye Institute Faculty  EDUCAUSE Professional Development Committee  Articles in EDUCAUSE publications about PD  Commitment to Professional Development  EDUCAUSE Management Institute Faculty  Frye Institute Faculty  EDUCAUSE Professional Development Committee  Articles in EDUCAUSE publications about PD GS

6 Departmental Reviews  What?  Review of operations in general or specifics  Often with external expertise  Opportunity for self reflection (self-study)  What?  Review of operations in general or specifics  Often with external expertise  Opportunity for self reflection (self-study) JS

7 Departmental Reviews  Why?  Regular interval (every 3 or 5 years)  Leadership transition  Identify a perceived problem  Why?  Regular interval (every 3 or 5 years)  Leadership transition  Identify a perceived problem JS

8  Typical Review Outline  Setup/expectations  Interviews  Focus groups  Report to administration  Typical Review Outline  Setup/expectations  Interviews  Focus groups  Report to administration JS Departmental Reviews

9  Our experiences  Reverse learning  Questions:  Who has participated on a review team?  Who is part of an organization that has been reviewed?  Our experiences  Reverse learning  Questions:  Who has participated on a review team?  Who is part of an organization that has been reviewed? JS Departmental Reviews

10 A Case Study – Highhopes College GS Highhopes College Aim High – Dream Big

11 A Case Study – Highhopes College Expectations of the Day  Collaborative & interactive  Everyone participates  Questions anytime  “Ride the roller coaster”  Make it FUN Expectations of the Day  Collaborative & interactive  Everyone participates  Questions anytime  “Ride the roller coaster”  Make it FUN GS Highhopes College Aim High – Dream Big

12 Highhopes Case Study – Overview  Skidmore Staff is the “Review Team”  6 mini-groups  Everyone receives a introductory document  Call from the Associate Provost: Amanda Adams  Sets up a call from the Provost: Paula Peterson  Skidmore Staff is the “Review Team”  6 mini-groups  Everyone receives a introductory document  Call from the Associate Provost: Amanda Adams  Sets up a call from the Provost: Paula Peterson GS Highhopes College Aim High – Dream Big

13 Overarching Questions  What can you tell so far?  Underlying issues?  Additional information?  Who to talk to?  Strengths and weaknesses?  Major areas of focus? Overarching Questions  What can you tell so far?  Underlying issues?  Additional information?  Who to talk to?  Strengths and weaknesses?  Major areas of focus? GS Highhopes College Aim High – Dream Big Highhopes Case Study – Overview

14 Skidmore  Initial “observations” of Highhopes  New Provost doesn’t get IT  Problematic leadership (CIO)  Unhappy faculty  How was Highhopes similar and/or dissimilar from Skidmore  Typical initial perspective - why??  The problem is “somewhere else”  Jumping to conclusions  Initial “observations” of Highhopes  New Provost doesn’t get IT  Problematic leadership (CIO)  Unhappy faculty  How was Highhopes similar and/or dissimilar from Skidmore  Typical initial perspective - why??  The problem is “somewhere else”  Jumping to conclusions JS

15 Pictures From the Day

16 Highhopes – Visiting Campus The Campus Visit:  Meetings and open forum sessions  Deep listening – people want to be heard  Meeting with the Provost & President The Campus Visit:  Meetings and open forum sessions  Deep listening – people want to be heard  Meeting with the Provost & President Highhopes College GS

17 Highhopes – Visiting Campus The Review Team’s Report  Public Document – stimulate discussion  Reports back what you heard (with team’s interpretation)  Protect confidentiality  Need to handle some issues privately The Review Team’s Report  Public Document – stimulate discussion  Reports back what you heard (with team’s interpretation)  Protect confidentiality  Need to handle some issues privately Highhopes College GS

18 Skidmore  Value of observations & discussion  New perspective of age-old problems  Mini-groups  Crossing organizational boundaries  Staff took leadership roles  Value of observations & discussion  New perspective of age-old problems  Mini-groups  Crossing organizational boundaries  Staff took leadership roles JS

19 Highhopes – Unfolding Details Six Strategic Areas of Focus:  Organizational Structure  Governance  Standards  Administrative Applications  Organizational Culture  Academic Innovation Issues found in almost every review Six Strategic Areas of Focus:  Organizational Structure  Governance  Standards  Administrative Applications  Organizational Culture  Academic Innovation Issues found in almost every review Highhopes College GS

20 Highhopes – Unfolding Details Six Strategic Areas of Focus:  Organizational Structure  Governance  Standards  Administrative Applications  Organizational Culture  Academic Innovation Issues found in almost every review Six Strategic Areas of Focus:  Organizational Structure  Governance  Standards  Administrative Applications  Organizational Culture  Academic Innovation Issues found in almost every review Highhopes College GS Interdependencies!!!

21 New Perspectives  Cross-talk enlightenment  Complexity exposed  Mini-group questions - examples  Cross-talk enlightenment  Complexity exposed  Mini-group questions - examples JS

22 Highhopes – Final Thoughts Questions for Community Dialog: What are your greatest concerns about Highhopes? What are the key recommendations? What will you tell the President and Provost privately? Would you recommend any specific staffing changes? Questions for Community Dialog: What are your greatest concerns about Highhopes? What are the key recommendations? What will you tell the President and Provost privately? Would you recommend any specific staffing changes? Highhopes College GS

23 Department Event Assessment  Were the goals of the day clear?  Do you feel we achieved the stated goals?  Do you feel you have a better understanding of the notion of "organizational effectiveness" and why it is important for us and the College?  Was the opportunity to work with others outside of your normal work group useful?  Do you think we can use the general ideas in the Highhopes College exercise to think about our environment and work here at Skidmore?  Were the goals of the day clear?  Do you feel we achieved the stated goals?  Do you feel you have a better understanding of the notion of "organizational effectiveness" and why it is important for us and the College?  Was the opportunity to work with others outside of your normal work group useful?  Do you think we can use the general ideas in the Highhopes College exercise to think about our environment and work here at Skidmore? JS 74% 87% 96% 70%

24 Worth the effort? - Justin’s Perspective Definitely!!  Skidmore  Greater appreciation (or most do)  Change is not an overnight thing  Communication foci  IT Operations Council Definitely!!  Skidmore  Greater appreciation (or most do)  Change is not an overnight thing  Communication foci  IT Operations Council JS

25 Worth the effort? - Gene’s Perspective Definitely!!!  New vantage point  Getting beyond defensiveness  Think like my boss  Understanding the perspective of Presidents and Provosts  It’s all interrelated Definitely!!!  New vantage point  Getting beyond defensiveness  Think like my boss  Understanding the perspective of Presidents and Provosts  It’s all interrelated GS

26 Recommend Readings  “A Learning Opportunity for Staff: Simulating an IT Department Review” by Justin Sipher and Gene Spencer, EDUCAUSE Quarterly, Vol. 30, No. 4,  Cultivating Careers: Professional Development for Campus IT (Chapter 2: A Comprehensive Approach to Professional Development for an IT Staff” by Gene Spencer and Jeannie Zappe.  “A Learning Opportunity for Staff: Simulating an IT Department Review” by Justin Sipher and Gene Spencer, EDUCAUSE Quarterly, Vol. 30, No. 4,  Cultivating Careers: Professional Development for Campus IT (Chapter 2: A Comprehensive Approach to Professional Development for an IT Staff” by Gene Spencer and Jeannie Zappe.

27 Thanks!! Q&A


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