New CIO At Univ. Colorado: Big Raise, Big Expectations - InformationWeek

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IT Leadership // CIO Insights & Innovation
Commentary
9/2/2009
08:35 AM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
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New CIO At Univ. Colorado: Big Raise, Big Expectations

The University of Colorado has just recruited from Harvard a new CIO described by his new boss as "one of the great IT minds in higher education." That's a nice intro-but, if you want to see something really nice, check out the raise he got over the previous CIO, plus his IT budget and staff size.

The University of Colorado has just recruited from Harvard a new CIO described by his new boss as "one of the great IT minds in higher education." That's a nice intro-but, if you want to see something really nice, check out the raise he got over the previous CIO, plus his IT budget and staff size.From a Denver Post article:

The cash-strapped University of Colorado will pay a newly hired technology guru $48,000 more than his predecessor earned to oversee information-technology systems at the Boulder campus. Lawrence M. Levine, who serves as Harvard University's associate dean for information technology and chief information officer for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, will make $250,000 annually as CU-Boulder's CIO.

Under Levine, the chief information officer role will be expanded, CU-Boulder spokesman Bronson Hilliard said. "What we are doing here is elevating this position to a very high-level CIO position. For lack of a better term, a technology czar."

However, a report in the University of Colorado student newspaper says Levine's salary will be $230,000. But one thing both news stories agree on is that Levine will oversee a team of 165 IT professionals and an annual budget of $28 million when he starts the new job on Nov. 1. In addition, he will serve on the university chancellor's executive committee.

Levine was selected from 129 applicants, Hilliard said, and among his top priorities will be ensuring that CU has the technological infrastructure, architecture, and processes in place to allow it to compete with top research universities, the Post said:

"The new CIO will look for the best approach and strategies to improve service," Hilliard said. CU's faculty has "very sophisticated and demanding needs for research processing, massive amounts of data storage and specialized technology needs."

The university described its current IT approach as "a distributed IT operations model in which a central organization interfaces with other IT employees at the college, school and departmental level."

That should prove to be a good match for Levine's experience at Harvard, where "he was credited with building a cooperative strategic plan for IT that supported a high-performance server and desktop infrastructure," a CU press release said. "He led efforts to integrate IT services and planning with research, instructional, student life and IT facilities and resources. He also oversaw an operation with 150 employees."

(Side comment on the "technology czar" term used by the university's PR person above: what the hell is it with the fascination some people have with this "czar" term? I mean, if we're into the while dictator model, then how about technology dictator, or technology emperor, or technology fuhrer, or technology chairman, or technology despot, or technology dear leader? Why on Earth would anyone in this country use or accept a such a derogatory term that reflects such completely ugly and un-American beliefs?)

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