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Merit Board Member Earns EDUCAUSE Community Leadership Award

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Theresa Rowe, chief information officer for Oakland University and a Merit board member, has been named as an Theresa RoweEDUCAUSE Exemplary Leader. The honor recognizes her contributions to information technology and the profession, her mentoring of aspiring leaders, and her excellence in monitoring EDUCAUSE’s CIO mailing list. Theresa has long been an active participant in all aspects of EDUCAUSE—mentoring, writing, presenting, and volunteering on behalf of the community.

Theresa has been the CIO for Oakland University and has served on Merit’s board of directors for 12 years. She is the chair of the Apereo Foundation Board; Apereo is a network of colleges and universities supporting software shared in open source, such as CAS single sign-on, Sakai collaboration, and uPortal. Theresa is the chair of the REN-ISAC Transitional Board; Research and Education Networking Information Sharing and Analysis Center (REN-ISAC) promotes cyber security in research and higher education. Theresa also participates in the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) SIGUCCS.

Theresa shared her thoughts on receiving the honor:

Q: What was it like to be named as an EDUCAUSE Exemplary Leader?

A: A very humbling experience for sure. I was deeply honored for that recognition. It’s so surprising to hear your peers speak so highly and to recognize your accomplishments.

Q: How would you describe your leadership philosophy?

A: I strongly believe in collaborative leadership. I like to put people in a position to succeed and to grow.

Q: What traits do you think a good leader should possess?

A: I think a good leader can create vision and directions. Good leaders provide clarity about directions and inspire others to move forward toward that vision. I think a good leader also removes obstacles. You need to be a good listener, and you need to be collaborative.

Q: You manage the EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group email list, which has over 2,000 subscribers. What have you enjoyed most in leading an email list for CIOs?

A: The shared problem solving and perspective that you get. It’s a great group for sharing. The group is very open and willing to help. I get to help them. They get to help me. We’re all in this together.

Q: What do you find most rewarding in being the CIO of Oakland University?

A: I’m never bored. It’s never been the same year of experience. Also, I work with great people. Those two things make it all possible. Education is a fun environment. It’s always changing.

Q: What advice would you give someone who wanted to become a CIO?

A: Look for stretch assignments. Look for new experiences to make stronger contributions. You want to have 10 years of experience, but 10 different years. You need to look for stretch experiences that take you out of your comfort zones and stretch you in new ways.

Q: What are the greatest challenges facing CIOs at public universities today?

A: There’s a movement toward consumerization, which means we have many new things coming into our environments. In the meantime, our communities are wanting us to lower our costs. Everything has to come together to form a positive learning environment for the future.

Theresa is an excellent role model for current and future leaders. Please join us in congratulating Theresa Rowe in being named an EDUCAUSE Exemplary Leader.

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