The University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) seeks a leader and builder of technology organizations to become its Chief Information Officer (CIO). The CIO will create a campus focused IT organization that enables teaching, research, student services and campus operations. An individual who is highly collaborative, innovative, resourceful and service oriented will thrive in this position and the UAF culture. The position is an excellent match for a leader who builds relationships, enjoys solving complex challenges, and takes pride in developing staff.
This new position will implement a recent decision to separate IT support for the Fairbanks campus from the University of Alaska system’s IT organization (OIT). The restructuring enables greater specialization and focus and provides UAF with an IT capability fully integrated into campus strategy and governance, similar to the structure employed at the other University of Alaska campuses. Reporting to the Vice Chancellor of Administration, the CIO will work with UAF leadership to architect a new campus specific IT organization transferring Fairbanks specific services from OIT and creating new areas of focus important to Fairbanks. As the inaugural CIO, the successful candidate will shape the IT services, organizational structure and governance for technology at UAF.
About the University of Alaska Fairbanks
Established in 1917, the University of Alaska Fairbanks is the flagship of the statewide University of Alaska system. UAF’s range of people and programs is as diverse and dynamic as Alaska. UAF serves nearly 10,000 students offering everything from vocational programs to PhDs from its main campus in Fairbanks, community campuses in Fairbanks, Bethel, Dillingham, Kotzebue, and Nome, and learning centers across the state. UAF is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Many of its programs are individually accredited through national accreditation organizations.
UAF is a Land, Sea and Space Grant institution recognized as a world leader in Arctic research and classified as one of the “RU/H: Research Universities (high research activity)” in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. UAF has five major research institutes, a research museum with extensive collections drawn primarily from the circumpolar north, and more than 20 research centers and off- campus research facilities.
UAF provides outreach programs across Alaska, including the Cooperative Extension Service and the Marine Advisory Program for Alaska, with agents or specialists located in communities across the state. UAF is also home to a public broadcasting station serving the greater Fairbanks area and, via translator stations, smaller communities throughout northern Alaska.
As Alaska’s research university and America’s Arctic university, UAF is a national and world leader in climate change and Arctic research. With partnerships and collaborations throughout Alaska and globally, world-renowned researchers help drive innovation and discovery. UAF’s research enterprise is an economic engine in Alaska, with research expenditures of $129 million in FY16. (https://research.uaf.edu/)
Of the 5,100 students attending the 2,250-acre main campus in Fairbanks, approximately 20 percent live on campus. Single, undergraduate students choose from traditional dorm rooms, suites and apartment- style living. UAF also has apartments and small houses available for married couples and families. UAF’s MacLean house serves Alaska Native students from rural Alaska, giving these students the opportunity to live in a small community with a cultural focus to ease the transition to campus life.
About Life In Fairbanks
Fairbanks is Alaska’s second-largest population center, with almost 100,000 residents in the Fairbanks North Star Borough. While the borough is slightly smaller than the state of New Jersey, most of the population is concentrated in the cities of Fairbanks and nearby communities of North Pole, Fort Wainwright and Eielson Air Force Base. Fairbanks also serves as a regional hub for many Alaska Native communities in Interior Alaska.
Fairbanks’ climate is semi-arid, with just 11 inches of annual precipitation, most of that coming as snow. Temperatures can range from -40 degrees F in winter to 90 degrees F in summer, with low temperatures in January averaging 2 degrees F and highs in June averaging 70 degrees F. With low humidity and very little wind, the winter weather typically feels more moderate than the thermometer would suggest.
Fairbanksans are year-round outdoors enthusiasts. Cross-country skiing, snowboarding, ski-joring, dog mushing, and snowmachining (or snowmobiling as they call it in the Lower 48) are popular winter activities. Fairbanks is located at the perfect latitude for watching the northern lights as long as it’s dark enough out to see them (generally, late August through mid-April). In summer and fall, you’ll find Fairbanksans boating, biking, hiking, gardening, fishing, hunting, and berry-picking. Fairbanks is just a two-hour drive from Denali National Park, one of the crown jewels of the national park system, and also provides easy access to public lands in the Alaska Range, White Mountains and the Brooks Range.
The arts thrive in Fairbanks. Most weekends offer multiple concerts, cultural presentations, dance performances, book readings, exhibits or theatrical productions. Fairbanks’ galleries feature the full spectrum of locally made arts and crafts, including works by local artists whose work has been featured in major galleries and museums outside Alaska.
On the practical side, Fairbanks has both an excellent public schools system and a state-of-the-art hospital. Non-stop flights to Seattle year-round and seasonal non- stop service to Minneapolis and Portland make Fairbanks easily accessible to the Lower 48 and connecting flights to international destinations.
The CIO Leadership Agenda
UAF’s CIO will create a new IT organization that knits together transferred services from the existing OIT with new capabilities created to advance the priorities of the Fairbanks campus. The CIO will create a new strategic vision for technology, enhance a service-oriented culture, and deepen technology capabilities in areas critical to UAF’s mission. While details will be finalized with the new CIO’s input, the new Fairbanks IT organization will focus on user support, learning space technology and media, providing campus specific infrastructure critical to teaching and research, and deploying technologies that work in concert with the system-wide ERP to improve analytics and business processes. In partnership with OIT and the CIOs of the Anchorage and Southeast campuses the UAF CIO will influence the evolution of OIT provided technologies including the Banner ERP system, Blackboard Learning Management System, identity management and wide area networking.
Additional priorities for the CIO’s leadership agenda include:
Architecting and implementing the division of responsibility of UAF specific and UA Statewide IT services.
Creating the new UAF IT organization and building its culture, identity and operational processes.
Developing a governance model to set IT priorities transparently and in alignment with campus priorities.
Helping OIT staff impacted by the organizational change to transition successfully to the new UAF IT team.
Partnering with UAF research centers and high performance computing group to anticipate, implement and sustain technology infrastructure and support to enable data intensive research.
Improving the capacity, consistency and support for UAF’s formal and informal learning spaces.
Providing business analysis and application administration services to UAF’s student service and administration units to enable greater efficiency, improve the student experience, and optimize the use of existing technologies.
Designing services and developing infrastructure plans to meet the unique needs of UAF’s remote/rural campuses.
Qualifications and Differentiating Experience
Candidates must have a Bachelor’s degree and seven years of progressive management responsibility for a significant portfolio of technology and IT services. Excellent written and verbal communication skills are required.
A Master’s degree and experience serving as an organization’s senior-most IT leader (CIO or CTO) or as a principle deputy in an organization of similar scale and complexity is strongly preferred. Experience or familiarity with the mission, culture, structure and regulatory compliance requirements of a university and prior experience as an IT leader in a multi-site or multi-campus organization is also preferred. Previous higher education experience is preferred but not required.
In addition to these required and preferred qualifications, the University seeks experienced leaders who will bring to bear lessons learned from facing similar challenges in other organizations. Having all of these experiences is not required. However the strongest candidates will demonstrate many of the following experiences:
Developed and built support to implement IT strategies.
Designed or provided significant leadership to form effective IT governance.
Helped institutions leverage technology to improve processes.
Significant contributor to technology, data governance, and organizational strategies to support analytics.
Built effective teams and mentored IT managers.
Overseen or worked on major initiatives with units providing IT infrastructure, networking, applications and user support.
Understands the academic enterprise and contributes to or led IT strategies to support student success, teaching and learning and research.
Proven ability to create and maintain a service-oriented culture.
Managed and defused conflicts requiring negotiations with multiple stakeholders with distinct perspectives.
Participated in the design and management of IT shared services within a campus or system of higher education.
Delivered technologies and services to stakeholders in remote areas with limited bandwidth.
Led multiple technology deployment projects with varied methods including agile approaches.
Established technology sourcing strategies and negotiated agreements with technology provides.
Directed or made significant contributions to information security and IT risk management strategies.
Nomination and Application Process
Applications and nominations can be submitted in confidence to Next Generation Executive Search at firstname.lastname@example.org. Application materials should consist of a resume and cover letter addressing required and preferred qualifications and differentiating experiences. For best consideration, applications should be submitted by February 15, 2019.
The University of Alaska is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and educational institution. The University of Alaska does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, citizenship, age, sex, physical or mental disability, status as a protected veteran, marital status, changes in marital status, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, parenthood, sexual orientation, gender identity, political affiliation or belief, genetic information, or other legally protected status. The University's commitment to nondiscrimination, including against sex discrimination, applies to students, employees, and applicants for admission and employment. Contact information, applicable laws, and complaint procedures are included on UA's statement of nondiscrimination available at www.alaska.edu/nondiscrimination.