Tuesday, April 01, 2008

A Potential SATO Without a Home

Rethinking Academic Technology Leadership in a Era of Change, an article in The IT Practitioner’s Journal (EQ) Educause Quarterly (Vol.31 -2008) does a grand job outlining the sweeping instructional technologies that are changing the face of higher education and a need for Senior Academic Technology Officers (SATO) in institutions across the nation. To support the need for SATOs in all institutions, Albright and Nworie (2008) point to the growth in use of technology in higher education and the low numbers of people in senior-level positions “dedicated exclusively to providing vision, leadership, direction, and accountability for technologies and services supporting teaching and learning” (p. 16).

Are you looking for definitions of instructional technology? Information on the scope of an Instructional Technologists work? You can find both in this article, but it is the case the authors make for SATO as technology leader, the outlined SATO roles and responsibilities, and the SATO qualifications that made the article noteworthy.

Some of the ideas detailed by Albright and Nworie (2008) article are provided in this list:

*SATOs were described as tactical and as, “visionary, leader, director, planner, facilitator, collaborator, catalyst, advocate, and evangelist” (p.19).

*SATOs had an impressive list of status and qualifications compiled from position announcements reviewed by the authors of the article since the early 1990s.

*SATOs and CIOs positions were compared, contrasted, and clearly delineated.

*SATOs importance as a full-time position and a caution that it should never be “part-time job” or an “assignment for marginal players with dubious credentials” (p.21).

*The assertion that SATOs “should never sit lower than one echelon below the CIO or two levels below the vice-president of academic affairs if the CIO is not at the VP level” (p.21).

*The failure in higher education, depicted by data, to connect and nurture these positions as senior leadership positions.

The authors asks to consider whether a university would allow the library’s operation without a library director or dean or a coach to report to someone other than an academic director. They then pose the question, why do so many institutions fail to provide senior level managers for academic technology in our institutions?

You will find a good read and compelling evidence connected to the importance of assigning appropriate status for SATOs in meeting institutional goals in this article. As many institutions move these positions further and further down the organizational chart to save a dollar, this article is a reminder that we will get exactly what we plan, post, and pay for.

P.S. Check out Educause Connect lots of blogging, podcasting, wiking (is that a word?) going on.

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