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Anticipating the Start of the 2013 MOR IT Leaders Conference

by Chris Paquette

Today, 18 members of MOR converged on Chicago in preparation of MOR’s 6th annual IT Leaders Conference. This year’s theme, “The Leadership Challenge of Disruptive Change,” marks the fifth consecutive year that the conference has focused on change. According to Jim Bruce, one of the founders of the IT Leaders Program and a longtime program leader and coach, MOR keeps revisiting the topic because dramatic change keeps coming. This year in particular has seen breathtaking changes, notably the arrival of MOOCs in a big way, including the launch of EdX.

One thing is clear: even the people who have made it their mission to follow the evolution of IT in higher education are astonished by how quickly the landscape is changing. For Jim, the joint Harvard MIT summit on online learning was proof positive that the earth is shaking under the world of higher ed. What drove that point home wasn’t the content of the summit, but who was in attendance: not just IT folks, but provosts and deans and CIOs from top institutions across the country. A sense of urgency and peril accompanied the proceedings. Value propositions that have stood for centuries are unraveling and it’s widely assumed that some smaller institutions will be swept away.

One of this year’s keynote speakers is Israel Ruiz, EVP and Treasurer of MIT, who will speak about the changes he sees unfolding. We’ll have to wait to hear what he has to say, but Jim “hopes Israel will be candid.” He says, “IT has historically been distant from faculty and that needs to change.”