Again, I woke up at 4:00 or so on Wednesday, despite being out a bit later the night before. I understand waking up early when EDUCAUSE is in Denver or Anaheim or Seattle, but it seems wrong on the East Coast. I guess I just don’t sleep well in hotels. I did kind of get back to sleep a little bit and got out of bed at 6 to shower and get ready for my first meeting, a 7:00am appointment to be part of a focus group.
I was invited to help EDUCAUSE determine their future content strategy. Basically they asked us about what EDUCAUSE content we use, how we used it, and how it could be made better. They wanted to know if it was valuable for them to create custom content about IT and leadership or if it was better to link to other content on the web when it made sense . (I like the custom content.) It was a great opportunity to talk about how we use the content and how EDUCAUSE helps us with our careers.
I then went to the Google Apps constituent group meeting. It was a great conversation, and of course the big topic was the recent announcment that Google Apps for Education would soon have unlimited storage for everyone and that Google Vault would also be available to schools for no additional cost (Sites is still limited to 100GB per domain however). CG meetings are also fun to find people sharing what they’re doing.
I then went to the Professional Development/Staff Management CG meeting, which was also very interesting.
The second keynote of the conference was Doris Kearns Goodwin talking about presidential leadership. Goodwin talks very fast but is easy to understand, and weaves long, intricate narratives. Her thoughts on leadership and how great presidents like Lincoln and FDR were shaped continued to develop the conference themes.
After lunch I went to “Developing the Higher Ed IT Profession”. This was a good session, and most of it was interactive. We discussed at our tables how we know when we’re doing things well (“How do you define ‘good’?”) and challenges. Interactive sessions are a great way to keep the conference interesting. For me “good” is when you can use metrics to document progress, and when your constituencies are satisfied, A mix of tangible and intangible.
Then a visit to the Sustainable IT CG, where we talked about the latest efforts to save energy and resources. I was excited about our VoIP initiative but was reminded that edge device energy increases offset much of the energy savings in the data center. It would be worthwhile to do a more detailed analysis.
Then the “meat” of my EDUCAUSE session was the joint meeting of the 2014 and 2015 program committees. We spent some time going over what worked and what didn’t work about the 2014 conference and the outgoing conference committee imparted its last words of wisdom. Soon, we’ll be putting out our CFP and the ball will start rolling for the 2015 conference. It’s also notable to think that I attended Diana Oblinger’s last program committee meeting–by the time we have our next in-person meeting in April the new President and CEO of EDUCAUSE will already have started. So it’s an interesting year to be participating with the leadership transition going on. I didn’t know Diana well, but she is simply impressive in everything she does. She leaves EDUCAUSE in great shape and well prepared for the next leader.
I then went to the reception for all EDUCAUSE Institute and Learning Change (Frye) alumni. It’s reasonably well-attended and had lots of Frye folk from the entire spread of the program. The 2006 crew was representing, of course.
Afterwards I went out to dinner with my Frye classmates. As advertised it was a chance to get unvarnished advice in a confidential fashion from extremely talented people (and we can all use some unvarnished advice now and again.) I did, however, have to leave early, because I was also invited out to dinner by some of the NJ CIO crowd, and they’re a great bunch to hang out with as well. Had a really great dinner and passed some gossip about NJ higher ed. Finished dinner and went back to the hotel.
On Thursday I managed to share breakfast and the bus ride with someone I had met on Tuesday night and had a great conversation. I hope I could impart a little wisdom and I learned about how student affairs IT professionals work.
My first session was “Technology Leadership and the CIO: Characteristics and Capabilities”. This session was jointly sponsored by JISC who I didn’t know much about until I met one of our program committee members who works for them. They’re kind of a cross between the UK version of EDUCAUSE and a service provider. This session was an analysis of leadership styles and how they work together for a CIO:
I wish I could tell you about the closing session or the other sessions I attended, but I ended up in hallway conversations for most of the rest of the conference. As with all my others they were incredibly useful and I learned a lot. I even sometimes am able to share wisdom with others.
I did sneak in to the last 15 minutes of the general session, after which I rounded up a few colleagues and we went out to lunch:
Afterwards we said our goodbyes and I wandered my way back to my hotel, where I waited for the shuttle bus to arrive, and wrote my previous blog post.
I was able to catch an earlier flight home and was home before my wife, who was at her back to school night . I was able to tuck my boys into bed, which was great.
I’ll write another post with some wrapup and closing thoughts soon.