By Dr. Mark J. Baas, CIO/Dean of Technology BaasMarkSmall


A CIO was walking on the beach in Atlantic City when he came across a bottle. When he rubbed the bottle, a genie appeared. The genie was so grateful for being freed from the bottle that he said he would grant the CIO one wish.

The CIO thought about it for a moment, then said: "I've always wanted to go to Bermuda. What I really wish is that you would build me a superhighway from Atlantic City to Bermuda, so I could drive there easily." The genie got irate, saying, "What kind of idea is that? Do you know how hard that would be, how much concrete it would take? To say nothing of the environmental impact."

So the CIO said he would think of another wish. "OK, then, what I want is this," he said. "Not only will all my future deliveries be on time and on budget, but all my customers will be satisfied." The genie thought for a moment, then said: "So how many lanes did you want in that superhighway?"

Information Technology means a lot of different things to everyone. Whether that means accessing a library database for a research article, taking an online class using D2L, to making a change on a file on a shared drive, technology is growing on a daily basis. Information technology is no longer about stand-alone computers. With desktops, laptops or notebooks and wireless devices such as iPads and smart phones users can now access e-mails via the internet. There is great diversity in how information technology is being used now-a-days. Information technology is being used to help individuals, organizations, and even governments achieve their goals and objectives. It means using computers as well as communications and transforming data into information as well as knowledge.

The sharing of knowledge within IT occurs every year at the MnSCU IT Conference. This year's conference was held at Cragun's on April 22-24. South Central College had six individuals in attendance. Steve Pottenger and Donna Marzolf from South Central College presented "Implementing An Online Catalog Solution Leveraging ISRS/DARS Data" to the conference attendees. An important part of the 2013 MNSCU IT Conference is the IT Award for Excellence recognition program. It is our opportunity as IT leaders across the system to acknowledge contributions of individuals, groups and departments that help us work better together as a system of higher education and meet the goals of the Chancellor's Strategic Framework. This year, Steve Pottenger was nominated for a MnSCU IT Award of Excellence in his recognition for the work performed on SCC's eCatalog. This year's attendance totaled over 360 IT Professionals across MnSCU, including staff from the system office and there were over 60 vendors also in participation. Other sessions included the topics of D2L, Help Desk, Media Management, SCCM, Adobe Connect and StarID. I also had the opportunity to co-lead a Special Interest Group (SIG) on the topic of IT Managers and Directors. The SIG's were identified in March to promote collaboration amongst individuals with special interests. We had over 20 IT managers and directors from within MnSCU attend this workshop.

Being able to share, learn and collaborate with others across MnSCU is always an exciting time. Another opportunity to share knowledge will happen later this summer, as the 2nd Annual Southern MN IT meeting will occur in August. This is an opportunity in which colleges in Southern MN bring their IT staff together to converse about IT issues facing their campuses.

I have enjoyed meeting many of you over the last six months in the role of CIO/Dean of Technology at South Central College. I look forward to meeting more of you in the near future. And yes, I'm usually the one asking the question if you are satisfied in the hallway. I wish you a safe and productive summer.

Dr. Mark J. Baas