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University Begins Search for New IT Leader

BUworks, academic technology systems among initiatives


Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

The University has begun the hunt for a new vice president of information systems and technology. A search committee, including faculty and administrators from several departments and disciplines, has been formed, and BU has hired the recruitment firm Korn/Ferry International to conduct the search.

President Robert A. Brown says the position will fill a critical need, as the University’s business and academic technology needs expand.

“The vice president of information systems and technology is responsible for the coordination and leadership of all institutional telecommunications, computing, and software critical to the University enterprise,” Brown says. “He or she also shares responsibility with the University Provost for initiatives in educational technology and makes policies that are implemented by IT professionals working throughout the University.”

The role has been significantly restructured to reflect the University’s expanding IT needs, says Peter Fiedler, BU’s vice president of administrative services and the chair of the search committee. The most significant new initiative is the BUworks project, a two-year plan to revamp all of the University’s budgeting, payroll, procurement, and human resources systems; Fiedler calls it “one of the most ambitious administrative systems projects ever undertaken at Boston University.” The project committee is meeting with other University employees to discuss the functional requirements needed in a new system; once started, the transition is expected to take 24 to 30 months.

The new vice president will also build a close working relationship with the Office of the Provost, which is in the process of rolling out several online course work initiatives, such as iTunes U, ePortfolio, and the course description database that allows for searches of the BU course bulletin. He or she will report directly to Joseph Mercurio, the University’s executive vice president.

Currently, the Office of Information Systems and Technology supervises academic and research computing, the campus network, and phone systems, and has an annual operating budget of $31.2 million.

“We believe this is one of the top technology leadership positions in higher education,” says David Mead-Fox, a senior client partner with Korn/Ferry. “We’ll be looking at all the top institutions right across the country.”

The committee comprises Margrit Betke, an associate professor of computer science in the College of Arts and Sciences; Thomas Bifano, director of the Photonics Center; John C. Henderson, a professor of information systems in the School of Management; Martin Howard, vice president for financial affairs; Robert E. Hudson, the University librarian at Mugar Memorial Library; Thomas J. Moore, associate provost in the Office of Clinical Research; Laurie Pohl, vice president of enrollment and student affairs; Claudio Rebbi, a professor and chair of CAS physics; and Peter Smokowski, associate vice president of administration.


"As the Information Ageevolves, the information-based economy expands, and the world’s populationgrows, the pressure mounts on educators to build new tools and establish newtechniques to make teaching and learning more effective and affordable — notjust incrementally, but by orders of magnitude," says Michael Krugman, the interim vice president of the Office of Information Technology. "I see the overarchingrole of the VP of IST as ensuring IST is firing effectively, efficiently, and on all cylinders in ourjourney forward together into the 21st century." 

Jessica Ullian can be reached at jullian@bu.edu.

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