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Thursday, July 19, 2018

A Professional Life Defined in EDUCAUSE Years | EDUCAUSE Review

The author describes the thirteen years of her IT professional life S.E. (Since EDUCAUSE).


Cindy Mitchell, Chief Information Officer at Colby College says, "Twenty years of EDUCAUSE—and I missed the first seven! My professional life divides into B.E. (Before EDUCAUSE) and S.E. (Since EDUCAUSE)." 


Despite an IT career of thirty-plus years, I was not privileged to have EDUCAUSE experiences for all of its twenty years. In my administrative systems IT department B.E., there were neither the resources nor the intention for professional development for early-to-mid-career staff—other than specific training to develop technical skills. Adding to the challenge was geographical isolation. B.E., the use of research at my institution occurred primarily among the academic technology staff and the growing and fast-moving network technology fields. Transitioning into managing a team was learned, at best, through modeling good managers (if we were lucky enough to have had them) and, at worst, through inflicting a big experiment on the team with a new leader. 

In 2004, a promotion took me from managing a small team of three to leading a team of forty. The next year, when EDUCAUSE was seven years old and a gem I did not yet know about, my world changed. IT at my institution was reorganized, a CIO position was established, and that position was filled by a great man, Ralph Caruso. Ralph taught me more about leadership and management in one year than I had learned in the prior seventeen, but more important, he gave me the gift of EDUCAUSE as he encouraged me to engage with and take advantage of all EDUCAUSE had to offer.

The CIO Minute: Advice to My Younger Self 


From my very first EDUCAUSE conference, Ralph inspired me to take pre-conference seminars focused on leadership, and in those seminars I began developing relationships that changed me, challenged me, enriched me, and expanded my world. I attended compelling sessions, and the connections I developed as a result of asking presenters numerous questions added to my growing network. I read articles, which took me down trails of further reading. I was mentored and coached. I learned that leading a team well isn't due to luck or personality. It's intentional and thoughtful, and EDUCAUSE has great research, materials, and training to guide our success and impact. Sometimes I wonder how I stumbled through my B.E. life and went from managing three people to leading forty without the network and tools I found and everything I learned S.E. I am sure those forty people wish I had connected with EDUCAUSE before I took over that team. I'm sorry, folks. If only I had known then what I know now!
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Source: EDUCAUSE Review and educause Channel (YouTube)


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