Vice President and Chief Information Officer:
Northeastern University (Northeastern) is seeking a strategic groundbreaker to envision, design, and lead the Information Technology Services (ITS) team as Northeastern dissolves the old boundaries of higher education and establishes new, agile, and flexible modalities for learning and discovery. The next Vice President and Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Northeastern will lead ITS as it supports academic and administrative innovation and provides the tools that make the unimaginable possible. Northeastern has positioned itself to revolutionize higher education and the next CIO will be a central advisor and partner charged with enabling every objective in Northeastern’s strategic plan. In short, there is not a more exciting IT leadership opportunity in higher education today.
Founded in 1898, Northeastern University (Northeastern) is a leader in worldwide experiential learning and interdisciplinary research focused on global challenges in health, security, and sustainability. Northeastern offers 116 undergraduate majors and concentrations and 181 graduate programs, ranging from doctoral programs to graduate certificates, in nine schools and colleges, as well as select advanced degrees at the regional campuses in Charlotte, Silicon Valley, Seattle, and soon in Toronto, Canada. Colleges and Schools on the Boston campus are: College of Arts, Media and Design; College of Computer and Information Science; College of Engineering; Bouvé College of Health Sciences; College of Professional Studies; College of Science; College of Social Sciences and Humanities; School of Law; and D’Amore-McKim School of Business.
Northeastern has evolved dramatically over the last decade, with the pace of change and progress accelerating since 2006 under President Joseph E. Aoun. Northeastern is recognized as an R1 institution in the Carnegie Classification System, is a national contender for highly competitive federal grants, and is home to eight national research centers awarded by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Homeland Security, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Security Agency, and Department of Veterans Affairs. More than 30 faculty members have earned National Science Foundation Career Awards since 2006.
At the same time, the University’s distinctive, internationally recognized programs of experiential and cooperative education continue to attract an increasingly diverse, academically talented pool of students. Students are drawn to Northeastern from across the country and around the world. Applications and admissions selectivity have increased steadily.
Northeastern University’s Mission and Academic Plan:
To educate students for a life of fulfillment and accomplishment
To create and translate knowledge to meet global and societal needs
Northeastern University successfully completed an Academic Plan launched in 2007, surpassing milestones related to undergraduate student quality, an expanded portfolio of professional masters programs, new interdisciplinary PhD program, significant growth in the full time faculty, a doubling of externally funded research, and record breaking philanthropy. In Fall 2015 the University launched an extensive planning process and institutional dialogue that involved students, faculty, senior leadership, deans, trustees, alumni, and co-operative education partners for a new academic plan to guide the University for the next decade. NORTHEASTERN 2025 is the resulting plan and technology is a central component to each piece of the plan.
NORTHEASTERN ESSENCE defines six strategic themes, central to Northeastern’s distinctive essence, that continue to guide the University as it sets priorities, makes decisions, and focuses resources: integrative experiential education, new knowledge through foundational and translational research, entrepreneurship and innovation, a diverse and inclusive community, a global perspective grounded in local roots, and a commitment to excellence with a purpose.
In the fall of 2016, Northeastern’s senior leaders, in collaboration with the Board of Trustees, developed the University’s Long-Range Plan, which lays out a concrete action plan to realize the themes of the Academic Plan at every level of the University’s operations.
Integrative experiential education is a focal characteristic of a Northeastern education and sets its graduates apart from those of other institutions. Northeastern’s co-op program – one of the nation’s first and the leading program of its kind today – is anchored in a rich and evolving network of more than 3,300 business, public, and NGO partners in the U.S. and abroad. In the past decade, the University has broadened the historical base of experiential education, cooperative education, to encompass a wide range of experiential learning opportunities in research, service, and global work and study.
Cooperative education also distinguishes many of the University’s graduate programs, with clear competitive advantages for these programs and their alumni as well. From 2010 to 2015, enrollments in Northeastern’s graduate programs with a co-op placement grew by more than 50 percent, and they continue to climb. The development of the regional campuses (Charlotte, Seattle, Silicon Valley, and Toronto) is generating new co-op positions for both graduate students and undergraduates in all locations.
Northeastern has broadened its global reach through expanded experiential learning opportunities abroad as it has increased international enrollment. Since 2006, students have had experiential learning opportunities in 131 different countries, including co-op, study abroad, faculty-led study abroad, and research. International student enrollment at Northeastern has increased dramatically over the past several years with more than 2,700 international students from 122 countries worldwide currently enrolled. The University currently ranks in the top 10 in the country for international student enrollment. Northeastern’s goal is to create a transformative, inclusive, academic and experiential education that has no borders.
Joseph E. Aoun, PhD was appointed as the seventh President of Northeastern University in August 2006. An internationally prominent scholar in linguistics and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, President Aoun was awarded his PhD by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1981 and was the inaugural holder of the Anna H. Bing Dean’s Chair and Dean of the College of Letters, Arts & Sciences at the University of Southern California before coming to Northeastern. His presidency has charted an ambitious and distinctive course to advance Northeastern by strengthening the University’s leadership position in experiential and cooperative education; creating global programs with an urban perspective; fostering a research environment where faculty uncover solutions to real-world problems; and building innovative partnerships so that Northeastern can better serve its students, its city, the nation, and the world.
James C. Bean, PhD joined Northeastern University as Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs in July 2015. Bean comes to Northeastern from the University of Oregon, where he held several leadership roles, including five years as provost and four years as Dean of the Lundquist College of Business. During his tenure as provost at Oregon, Bean significantly improved the quality of students and faculty, while also modernizing the University’s budgeting system. He also had a leadership role in special projects for the University president and business school dean in recent years, including a plan for a Division of Interdisciplinary Applied Science and for the University’s innovative sports product management program.
Prior to his time at Oregon, Bean held key leaderships roles at the University of Michigan, including as associate dean for graduate education and international programs in the College of Engineering and as associate dean for academic affairs. As an engineering faculty member at Michigan, Bean co-directed a unique manufacturing partnership – the Tauber Institute for Global Operations – between the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and the College of Engineering, and many industry partners. He is a widely published scholar who has received grants from both federal institutions and industry. He earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Harvey Mudd College, and his master’s degree and doctorate in operations research from Stanford University.
The Vice President and Chief Information Officer (CIO) is the principal technology leader for the university with overall responsibility for the vision and leadership of the information technology strategy. Reporting to the Provost, the CIO will oversee the delivery of all technology services supporting administrative, academic, and research functions. The CIO will lead an organization of almost 200 full time staff (and an additional 30+ contractors and upwards of 150 part-time staff) and manage an annual operating budget of nearly $45 million. While most ITS services are centralized, the CIO will also work in close collaboration with leadership in decentralized user support organizations embedded in several of the schools, colleges, and administrative offices. He/she will ensure that technology talent is appropriately structured to deliver services in an efficient and effective manner across the organization.
Key priorities for the CIO will be to:
- Craft an ITS strategy that ensures that students, faculty, staff, alumni, and employers have the tools needed to meet both current needs and the bold objectives laid out in Northeastern 2025. The CIO will fulfill the ITS mission and provide products and services that faculty, students, and administrative departments depend upon for their various research, learning, teaching, and business needs while bringing a deep understanding of future technology trends and acting as a proactive advisor/consultant to help constituents anticipate problems and develop solutions.
- Foster a culture within ITS and with campus partners that welcomes and supports innovation and agility. The CIO will inspire and lead staff to embrace collaboration, collegiality, transparency, and accountability in pursuit of superior customer service and the organizational transformation required to support Northeastern 2025.
- Enable and support Northeastern’s current and emerging digital platform for learning, research, and collaboration. Student Assessed Integrated Learning (SAIL) is one such custom application initiative that is currently being piloted. The CIO and ITS will continue to partner with the Office of Undergraduate Education and Experiential Learning, a third-party vendor, and others in the development and assessment of this digital experience solution.
- Structuring for digital transformation. Achieving the University’s 2025 goals assumes the development of an integrated digital footprint enabled by a robust, stable and secure infrastructure. The CIO must help enable change in organization, structure and technology to support an agile software development-like approach including interactive design and development of new web and mobile applications (IE: SAIL).
- Enable Northeastern’s ongoing aspiration to be the world leader in globally networked learning opportunities. The CIO and the ITS function are vital to Northeastern’s ability to achieve the objectives outlined in The Global University Final Report. Initiatives such as the Professional Advancement Network (PAN)demonstrate Northeastern’s ability to provide lifelong experiential learning opportunities, across multiple channels and through the Northeastern University Global Network (NUGN); many of their innovations and business processes are heavily supported by ITS as both a partner and service provider.
- Focus on identity management. Learning without boundaries hinges on Northeastern’s ability to know who constituents are and being able to work with them regardless of their location and based on their unique needs. Northeastern’s current identity management system causes bottlenecks and the new CIO will continue ITS’ work in this area.
- Research computing. The CIO plays a critical role in charting the course for creating and delivering a state-of-the-art research-computing environment on campus, and at MGHPCC, the green high-performance computing facility located in Holyoke, MA. The candidate should be knowledgeable in current trends in Big Data platforms/technologies, as well as in high performance computing standards. The candidate should be prepared to develop a research computing master plan that will insure our research teams can achieve the ambitious goals laid out in the Northeastern 2025 plan.
- Continuous focus on Cybersecurity. The CIO must be well versed in the topic of Cybersecurity and be an advocate for a robust ecosystem of technologies, policies and procedures, which minimizes risk to the institution, facilitates business processes and complies with Federal and State privacy legislation.
- Data Management. The CIO should be experienced with data management plans and be able to assist Principal Investigators and those using data for administrative analysis in keeping data secure but accessible, in accordance with best practices and rules and regulations in the US and internationally, thereby reducing risk for the University.
Overall, the CIO will be expected to:
- Develop an in-depth understanding of the university’s priorities and set clear information technology priorities that anticipate needs and are responsive to the university’s plans and goals;
- Collaborate closely with the President, Provost, senior university officers, faculty, and academic and administrative leaders to ensure joint decision-making and planning, the highest quality learning and research environment, to assist individual units to achieve their unique objectives through IT tools and services, and to ensure the most effective use of available resources;
- Create, and/or identify and evaluate new technological tools and advise on their appropriateness for the university and their alignment with ITS strategy;
- Conceptualize, launch, and deliver multiple projects on time and within budget;
- Develop opportunities for collaborative resource generation for information technology;
- Define criteria for measuring and assessing the performance of the IT organization, and monitoring and reporting results in order to take corrective action where necessary; and
- Participate in strategic discussions with university leadership on IT driven/enabled aspects of the academic plan.
Qualifications and Experience:
Northeastern is seeking candidates with the rare combination of technical, business, and emotional intelligence. The successful candidate will possess a record of professional experience that demonstrates progressive responsibilities and significant senior-level management experience in a complex IT environment. Candidates must be proven leaders demonstrating at least fifteen years of experience managing cross functional teams in complex organizations including accountability for strategic planning, consensus building, organizational leadership, and technical performance. The CIO will ideally possess an in-depth understanding of a university academic environment, the roles and relationships of faculty, staff, students, and third-parties, and the diverse needs for technical support. Candidates will have demonstrated success at managing and leading change in a complex, collaborative organization.
The candidate will have a good understanding of the challenges associated with managing research data, including data curation and data security. The candidate should be knowledgeable in emerging hardware and software technologies, and put in place the right set of computational resources, accompanied by supporting educational programs to best leverage these investments. The CIO should have experience providing an environment which facilitates and supports both intra and inter institution collaboration, using secure methodologies where appropriate, providing access to resilient and fault tolerant systems, and promoting enterprise systems which support the research lifecycle.
Critical to this role is the ability to use technology to translate client/institutional needs into workable business solutions. Equally significant qualifications include strong integrity, a high level of energy, excellent oral and written communication skills, and exceptional interpersonal relationship and team-building skills. The successful candidate should be highly collegial, consultative, have a non-hierarchical management style, the ability to develop and sustain collaborative relationships, and demonstrate commitment to cultural diversity and equal opportunity. A bachelor’s degree is required and an advanced degree, or equivalent experience, is strongly preferred.
The final candidate will have to successfully pass a background check.
Koya Leadership Partners is assisting Northeastern University with this hire. This search is being led by:
Nominations and applications, including a detailed letter of interest, qualifications, and a current curriculum vitae, should be submitted here.
Please visit northeastern.edu for further information on Northeastern University.
Northeastern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Educational Institution and Employer, Title IX University. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by the law.
About Koya Leadership Partners:
Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with institutions of higher education, nonprofits and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit www.koyapartners.com.