What Makes For A Good CIO? - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IT Leadership // CIO Insights & Innovation
05:04 PM
John Soat
John Soat

What Makes For A Good CIO?

Anyone wanting to be a CIO should have his or her head examined. To judge from a recent CIO appointment, it might help!

Anyone wanting to be a CIO should have his or her head examined. To judge from a recent CIO appointment, it might help!In the ongoing discussion over what sort of background makes for a good CIO, let me offer exhibit #249: Dr. Priscilla Hancock.

Earlier this month, the University of Louisville announced that it had appointed a new CIO. According to a statement by the university, "Priscilla Hancock, vice chancellor for information technology for the University of Alabama system, will assume the post of vice president for information technology and chief information officer, pending Board of Trustees' approval."

According to the statement, "Hancock has bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in experimental psychology."

University Provost Shirley Willihnganz said, "Dr. Hancock brings an impressive record of administrative experience in information technology." Hancock began her information technology career as a statistical consultant at the University of Kansas. She then worked in IT at the University of Texas at Austin, Vanderbilt University, and Western Michigan University, before going to the University of Alabama in 1997.

"Computer applications are an integral part of experimental psychology," Hancock said, by way of explanation, "so I've been working with computers since 1978."

A background in psychology could have obvious benefits in the CIO position. I will avoid references to "Doctor, heal thyself!" when it comes to help desk resources, but anyone who thought being a CIO was more about managing conflicting personalities and less about managing technology has a real world example to point to.

Just as an aside -- and not to put too fine an academic point on it -- I'd like to mention that Hancock is assuming the IT leadership position at the University of Louisville from an individual who took over as acting head of IT last year, when the previous CIO left. That person's name: Tom Sawyer.

"Tom has done a remarkable job in a very limited amount of time," Willihnganz said. "He is a true professional, and the university is indeed fortunate to have him on staff.""

If he doesn't light out for the territories, that is. Now it will be Hancock's job to get her people busy whitewashing the fence -- technology-wise, of course. That's where the psychology comes in.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Think Like a Chief Innovation Officer and Get Work Done
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  10/13/2020
10 Trends Accelerating Edge Computing
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  10/8/2020
Northwestern Mutual CIO: Riding Out the Pandemic
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  10/7/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
[Special Report] Edge Computing: An IT Platform for the New Enterprise
Edge computing is poised to make a major splash within the next generation of corporate IT architectures. Here's what you need to know!
Flash Poll