I was at the annual conference of Consortium of Liberal Arts Colleges (CLAC) last week. It is a really fun conference, where you get to meet colleagues from other small liberal arts colleges and exchange notes. Wellesley was well represented in terms of presentations, one of them that included remote presentations. The conference website is a good place to check out the schedule and other information such as the twitter feed and photos from the three days. Wellesley had a total of 5 presentations. My two presentations were well attended and the attendees had some really good and probing questions.
The two keynotes were very interesting. One was by James Higa, who was the “right-hand man” for Steve Jobs in Apple. Since James requested that we do not discuss his presentations in public, I won’t. Angel Mendez, who is the senior VP for transformation at Cisco, gave an excellent presentation on a variety of topics. He was sharing a lot of the information from Mary Meeker’s 2015 Internet Trends. The numbers are sometimes beyond comprehension, especially when it comes to the growth in data storage and big data that is being generated. It is very clear that small institutions like us are simply not positioned to support these internally – we simply do not have the human and financial resources. This is why taking advantage of external resources, or relying on hosted services comes into picture, something we have been successful in doing.
In addition, consortia like CLAC provide a venue for us to collaborate and work together in choosing similar platforms and infrastructure. Angel’s call for action to the CIOs included “Stay current – engage experts, participate & study; Foster the digital learning of your constituents; Speak the language of the institution; Collaborate, break the silos; Allow the stakeholders to learn what is possible”. Right on! Every one of these is what we have been trying to do and have been pretty successful in many of these areas. One advice he gave is for the CIOs to do something hands on. As many of you know, I am a firm believer of this not just for myself, but also for every manager in the organization.
I am very happy to report that based on an informal benchmark, we are doing great! However, we can aspire to do a lot more and that will be the plan for the upcoming year.