The world of higher education is undergoing seismic shifts as the Web and mobile devices transform how education can be delivered. At Georgetown University, the chief architect and principal technologist will play a key role in shaping the school’s response to those changes.
Judd Nicholson, Georgetown’s deputy chief information officer, spoke with Capital Business about the job opening. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
What will the principal technologist be doing on a day-to-day basis?
The job is to identify, plan and coordinate any re-engineering or re-architecting efforts in support of the Georgetown IT enterprise, to really align business and IT visions to deliver strategic business value and to enable what we’re engaged in, which is a major IT transformation.
What does that transformation entail, and why is it happening now?
I’m sure you’ve read a lot in the news about all of the disrupters occurring in higher education: The effect of the economy, the effect of the millennial generation, and how higher education is going to deal with online or massively open education. All of those pressures, of course, are felt here at Georgetown. And Georgetown is taking a very proactive stance in trying to address them. Our president has started an initiative redesigning the future university so that Georgetown can start to think critically about how it’s going to adapt. And that has an impact on IT. This position becomes very critical to our organization, to our leadership team, in helping us shape what kind of an architecture we would need as an institution to support and address those disrupters.
Do you want someone with a higher education background, or would private sector experience translate well in this position?
The ideal candidate would have a mix of the two. I think it’s really good to bring in that outside perspective — so someone who hasn’t necessarily been in higher education, or has had maybe one position in higher education but has spent the majority of his or her career in government or the private sector. And certainly as it relates to cloud services, data centers or utilizing social media platforms, those kinds of innovative ideas are what we’re really hoping to get from this person.
The job posting says you’re looking for someone who has their finger on the pulse of long-term trends.
We look for this person to pursue initiatives and new technologies, and at least expose the institution to different ways to do business or ways to better enable the learning environment.