forces were a desire to trim the enormouscosts of building an information networkand the fear of rampant incompatibility
adecentralized, semi-anarchic approach tobuying hardware and software were allowedto continue.
the 1980s most colleges and universities were oblivious to the information explosion that lay ahead, as John McCredie
Even among the
institutions McCredie identified as pioneers inthe field, only eight had a single person atthe executive level coordinating the efforts.But gradually during the 1980s more institutions did put one person
charge ofmanaging computing and telecommunicationsplanning and activity. From then on thenumbers grew. One reporter estimatedthere were fewer than
(Turner 1984). Butin
the estimate roseto
(Fleit 1986); and a
estimate putthe number at more than
While the specifics vary among institutions,there are some typical duties. According toa recent survey,
themselves described their main tasks as the leadershipand planning of technology growth on campus and broad communication about possibilities, costs, and training (penrod 1990).
institution totechnology vendors and external organizations, negotiating to select the
and obtain the
sometimes visit vendor sites to examine pre-release equipment, and they keepup with new and upcoming directions intechnology.
volved in purchasing cutting-edge equipment in terms
reliability, standardization,and compatibility (Updegrove 1992).
is responsible too for monitoring security and control issues; computerhackers are an ever-present threat, especially in large, decentralized systems. Intrusions can threaten the security ofadministrative records and other confidential information.
may work withfaculty who
purchase of computerequipment; and
encouragesscholars to buy equipment compatible withuniversity-owned computers. For
plomacy and strong negotiating skills seemas necessary as technical expertise.
I have included the organization charts containing a
institutions: asmall, liberal arts college, a large community college, and a private, research university. (See Figures
At GettysburgCollege in Pennsylvania,
leaders havedecided on a centralized approach, asshown in Figure
Associate Provost is
a technical background,
duties are mainly administrative, and
relies heavily on
technicalinformation of his staff. Since
approvesall technology purchases for
brary and the media center, there is coordination of information technology in
spheres too.At Maricopa County Community
lege in Phoenix, Arizona, the
is a ViceChancellor for Information Technologies
(Figure 2). He reports directly to the Chancellorofthis several-campus college, and isresponsible for developing long-range technology plans and total system design. Healso directs
telecommunications program and participates in the College's overall strategic planning. His Director ofComputing and Communications adminis
the district-wide telecommunicationsystems and shapes
long-range plansfor voice and data communications.At the University of Pennsylvania
Ivy League university in Philadelphia,
direction of computing andtelecommunications is largely decentralized, due partly to the university's responsibility-center approach to budgeting and to