Ashford University is seeking an innovative and collaborative leader to serve as its first Chief Information Officer (CIO). The CIO will oversee the delivery of technology solutions and services supporting administrative, student support and academic functions, foster innovation, and guide the institution to discover new ways to use technology to support innovative digital learning. Ashford is in the final stages of planning a transition to an independent, non-profit university. The new CIO will join a dynamic leadership team and be responsible for building an IT strategy, organization and third-party relationships to support the new operating model. The CIO will report to the President and serve as a key member of the President’s Cabinet and report to the Trustees, as requested.
About Ashford University
Ashford University (AU) is a private academic institution that provides affordable and specialized education opportunities through a variety of online Associate’s, Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs. AU offers degree programs tailored for the on-campus traditional student, as well as for the working adult student learning online. Ashford’s student enrollment of nearly 50,000 students derive from all 50 states, as well as from the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and various Department of Defense sites overseas. To learn more about the history of Ashford University please refer to this link (https://www.ashford.edu/about).
Ashford currently operates as a subsidiary of its parent Bridgepoint Education, a publicly traded corporation. Subject to regulatory approval, Bridgepoint will divest its ownership of Ashford and the University will operate as an independent, non-profit institution. Bridgepoint will refocus its strategy on providing online program services (OPM) to Ashford and other institutions of higher education. In the new structure, Ashford will continue to be led by its current president, Dr. Craig Swenson and an experienced leadership team of higher education executives with extensive experience in online education (https://www.ashford.edu/about/university-leadership/dr-craig-swenson). Bridgepoint will continue to provide some administrative and IT services to Ashford after its independent status is approved to facilitate the transition. The new University CIO will oversee the relationship with Bridgepoint’s IT organization and work collaboratively to transition full responsibility for providing IT services to the Ashford IT organization.
An interim CIO is currently supporting Ashford leadership to develop a transition timeline for each major IT Service and develop service level agreements to govern Ashford’s relations with the Bridgepoint IT group during the multi-year transition to full self-sufficiency. The new CIO will complete the planning, oversee the implementation of the transition activities, and build a permanent IT organization. It is expected that the priority actions for the next CIO will include:
Continue implementation of independent financial and HR systems for Ashford;
Complete any outstanding negotiations of services agreements with Bridgepoint for IT transition services and finalize a management mechanism that AU will utilize to monitor service levels;
Complete any review of IT contracts and licenses that require renegotiation as a result of the transition and establish independent sourcing and license management strategies for Ashford;
Lead implementation to upgrade Ashford’s student information system;
Lead implementation of the new CRM to monitor student engagement that works in concert with the CRM capabilities that will be provided by Bridgepoint’s OPM services;
Develop overall organization structure for Ashford IT, assess transfer of staff from Bridgepoint IT to Ashford and begin recruitment of new IT staff for the Ashford organization;
Develop sourcing strategies, including a cloud strategy, for provisioning Ashford’s technology infrastructure as it moves into its own facilities and discontinues Bridgepoint IT services;
Create information security strategies and develop competencies and third-party relationships to protect the University’s information assets;
Lead the development and implementation of Ashford’s IT management processes, standards, and practices;
Design IT decision-making structures and processes for priority setting and data governance.
The creation of a new organization and independent IT services necessitates an initial focus on IT operations and implementation of core systems and infrastructure. As the CIO builds this foundation, they will be expected to pivot their focus to longer-term strategic direction. The CIO will be a key contributor to University strategies to provide leading online learning experiences and will work collaboratively with AU’s leadership team to oversee the technology aspects of the digital learning support obtained from Bridgepoint and other partners.
Required and Preferred Qualifications
The CIO will have the following minimum qualifications:
Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education;
Seven years of progressively responsible experience managing a significant portfolio of technology and IT services (at Deputy or CIO level) in a complex multi-stakeholder environment;
Directed or made significant contributions to information security and IT risk management strategies; and
Experience negotiating and managing third party service agreements.
The ideal candidate will also meet the following preferred qualifications:
Established and implemented resources and processes to manage concurrent complex technology deployment projects;
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 development strategies to support analytics;
Led major restructuring of and IT organization and recruited key leadership positions;
Direct experience with the technologies required to provide IT infrastructure; applications and user support;
Experience implementing customer service processes and culture;
Experience supporting a virtual workforce and customer base;
Established technology sourcing strategies and negotiated agreements with technology and service providers;
Leadership presence with experience working with senior level executives and boards;
Strategic vision, business and technical acumen, and strong communication and collaboration skills;
Experience providing digital learning technologies and supporting online learning strategies and awareness of the innovative edge of teaching and learning with technology;
Review of candidates will begin immediately and continue until a successful candidate is identified. Inquiries, and nominations may be directed in confidence to Next Generation partners, Mary Beth Baker, Managing Partner - email@example.com; or Phil Goldstein, Managing Partner - firstname.lastname@example.org. Please email applications to: email@example.com
The University is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate against persons on the basis of race, religion, color, ancestry, age, disability, genetic information, gender, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, medical condition, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, covered veteran status, or any other protected status.