Who’s that new guy in Technology Services walking around the campus and sometimes seen in Williston or near the Tech Spot in Beatty? Well, we have a few new team members that joined Technology Services over the past couple of months, and one of those guys is me, Vish Paradkar, the new CIO. I am very excited to start a new chapter in my life at Wentworth and in Boston. Feels great to be a part of the Wentworth community.
“Now, what’s a CIO and why does a university need one?”, you may ask. I certainly got this question from a colleague back in Colorado when I excitedly told him about my next job. Well, the term CIO stands for Chief Information Officer. A title that has been used for a few decades now, but the role underneath that title has certainly changed and continues to evolve. In my opinion, in this day and age, that definition doesn’t come close to describing what that role really is. If it was up to me, I would say the acronym CIO stands for Collaboration, Innovation, and Optimization. I know you are shaking your heads and saying, “Here we go with these clichés…”. Yes, these are overused terms, but so are our smartphones. We still use them, in fact, love them and can’t live without them because of what they do in our lives. So, let me explain how Collaboration, Innovation and Optimization themes apply to what we do, and importantly what we aspire to do here at Wentworth.
Collaboration – What is collaboration? It’s not just cooperation. It’s not just communication. Of course, we need cooperation and communication for collaboration. To me, collaboration is when people with diverse ideas, skills and talents work with each other, understand each other’s needs, strengths and weaknesses and make up for those inadequacies for a common goal. “But, we do have collaboration all across the campus.” Yes, that’s true. However, under this theme, we are going to capitalize on the fact that we – the women and men in Technology Services – are uniquely positioned to collaborate with various constituencies and disciplines because of how ingrained technology is in everything that happens on the campus. Under this theme Technology Services will form strong and intentional partnerships with faculty, staff, students, and seek input from parents, donors, and our prospective students to form a framework of shared IT governance. These collaborative forums will guide Wentworth’s technology decisions and help us serve as the custodians of technology on our campus. We will achieve this objective by being flexible, and adaptable as we formulate a framework that is not just tolerated but embraced and celebrated at Wentworth. One that is widely understood, predictable and thus sustainable.
Innovation – That’s our next theme. Another overused term, I agree. There are literally hundreds of ways to describe the word Innovation. But I’m borrowing one from Dr. Terrance Boult at University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, where Dr. Boult founded the first of its kind Bachelor of Innovation program over a decade ago. A real pioneer. I was blessed to serve as an adjunct faculty member in that program. Innovation is “Transforming ideas into impacts”. Innovation is not just about exploring new software packages and rolling them out and hoping someone will start using it. It is about exploring our specific needs, culture, ways of doing things and packaging a solution that will make a real impact, a positive impact on the campus. Under this theme we will team up with our colleagues across the campus to understand Wentworth’s unique needs, then we’ll go shopping to get the technology components available in the market and assemble a solution that will work on our campus. It’s not just Technology Services rolling out the solutions, but it is our responsibility as a campus to adopt those technologies, so we realize the return on our investments through improved teaching, learning experiences and operational efficiencies.
Optimization – Finally, as part of the optimization theme, our focus will be to make prudent, cautious investment in technology. Through a constant mechanism of gathering feedback, and measuring utilization, we will ensure that the solutions we have invested in are fetching us incredible returns in terms of noticeable efficiency or enhancements to students’ faculty and staff experiences. If our technology investments are not gaining us those returns, we will discontinue spending on those solutions.
These three themes will form the strategic focus areas for our division and guide us in unleashing technology to enable every part of our campus elevate their service to students of Wentworth. These focus areas are intertwined, they are not distinct. They complement and reinforce one another. Upon this strong foundation, Wentworth’s technology plan, priorities, and initiatives will be built.
I thank you for your inputs thus far. I will continue to reach out to many more of you as we reimagine the best way our Technology Services team could be arranged to provide the high-quality services and technology solutions to the campus. Stay tuned for more information.