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Since starting at Northeastern in July of 2018 I have been thinking carefully about ways to make ITS a more modern technology organization, to meet the demands of Northeastern 2025, and to provide more learning and career growth opportunities. I took my time to try to understand not only ITS, but its place in the University. What I have learned is that, more than any other place I have worked, the University relies on ITS to be connected to nearly all of the big technology decisions that are made. I also learned that ITS’ org stature was not designed to allow for growth or for appropriate peering locally or nationally.

Last week I sent an email to ITS staff announcing a significant reorganization of the division, effective January 1, that will help us accomplish these goals.

Lobby of ITS at 216 Mass. Ave.
Lobby of ITS’ 216 Mass Ave. offices. Photo credit: Ken Papai

We are reimagining this organization from the top, down. By elevating my direct reports to the assistant and associate vice president level, we will create new opportunities for staff members to grow within ITS. This change also makes the job of recruiting and retaining top talent easier for us, while positioning our organization more comparably in structure to other organizations around the University. It also gives these staff members the ability to participate in national organizations that are reserved for AVP and Executive Director like titles. The following staff members will occupy four new senior leadership roles:

ITS Org Charts
ITS org charts hanging in 216 Mass Ave.

Karen McCarthy, Associate Vice President, Head of Office of CIO, IT Operations. The Finance and Administration team and the Project and Service Management Office will continue to report to Karen. The d.Studio will also report to Karen, as it has during the leadership transition over the past year-plus. Karen will establish an Office of the CIO model and will be at the center of modernizing our finance, HR, and organizational operations.

Mark Nardone, Associate Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). Mark will continue to lead the Office of Information Security and will now permanently oversee Identity Access Management. By bringing identity and security together I believe we are creating a long-term strategic investment in the critical role of identity governance in an ever increasing digital landscape.

Stephanie Trowbridge, Assistant Vice President for Academic Technologies. Stephanie will lead Academic Technology Services and will also incorporate the media design services and multimedia operations teams. Our team in ATS will not only continue to work to appropriately integrate technology into teaching and learning, but they will bring together the design of technology-enhanced learning and meeting spaces.

Steve Duncan, Assistant Vice President for Enterprise Platforms. Steve’s existing group—quality assurance and release management, applications development, and data systems and integration—will remain unchanged. We have brought our Business Intelligence, under the leadership of Mike Bruno, Senior Director of BI and Enterprise Applications, together to report to Steve. Our focus on data and data governance is a key foundational element in making strides in reporting, the use of analytics, and the integration of AI and machine learning.

We have also created three new positions to fill out the ITS Leadership Team that we are actively looking to fill.

Maximizing Institutional investments through the enhanced support of research computing is a critical strategy. Northeastern machines at the MGHPCC.

Associate Vice President for Research Computing:  This AVP will work with me to develop the Northeastern Research Computing strategy and a plan to bring it to fruition within the Northeastern 2025 framework. We are working hard to enhance our support for research computing and the new AVP will be critical to understanding and meeting the community’s broad research computing and training needs.

Associate Vice President for Engagement and Experience: This AVP will lead Customer Service (Experience), Communications, and Digital Accessibility. He or she will also partner with the University’s Office of the Senior Vice President for Marketing and Communications to envision and create a web services team for Northeastern, under the previously announced, Digital Governance initiative.

Associate Vice President and Chief Technology Officer (CTO): The CTO will play a key role in developing and delivering innovative and effective technical infrastructures across the University, including the creation of a Cloud Center of Excellence, and will lead Systems and Production Services and the newly named Network and Communications Services (NCS).

These changes are significant, but also not the last in evolving our organization. There will be further structural changes within individual teams that will take time for the ITS Leadership Team to shape through lots of internal conversations. We took our time to get to this point, but I wanted it to be a deliberate and strategic transformation. Ultimately, I know these changes will make us a stronger, more service-oriented, and a more engaged group of technology professionals.