Chief Technology Officer (Entirely Remote Position)
Unizin is a non-profit consortium of higher education institutions. Unizin enables its members to meet the moment of digital transformation by developing and delivering technology solutions and services that address the pressing and complex challenges of data, analytics, and digital content. Unizin’s members use Unizin’s solutions to scale digital instruction, research, and affordable education initiatives. Unizin’s consortium model protects the academy's right to own its learning data. The Unizin community enables academic research, student success, and the application of learning analytics.
Unizin has grown in breadth and depth since its founding six years ago. As a result of our consortium’s support, Unizin has built an unprecedented data platform: the Unizin Data Platform (UDP). The UDP relies on data standards to transform and aggregate LMS data, learning tool data, SIS data, and publisher data to enable institutional or academic researchers to explore and analyze learning behaviors and environments. The UDP’s wealth of learning data empowers unique academic research opportunities, provides business intelligence, supports advising, and influences student success.
Unizin’s vendor partners also empower Unizin’s mission. Unizin’s continued success depends upon its ability to promote data interoperability standards and empower member institutions to scale their use of learning data. Unizin has deep partnerships with Instructure and Desire2Learn and partnerships with a dozen learning tool vendors—such as Top Hat and Kaltura—with firm commitments to standards and data integration. Unizin continues to strive to establish similar relationships with our twenty-plus publisher partners.
The Unizin Engage and Unizin Order Tool products enable higher education institutions to accelerate their digital transformation with solutions that support instructor demand for content and learning tools and automate the business processes behind the adoption of digital course materials. Unizin’s combined purchasing power and comprehensive portfolio of vendor and publisher partnerships are substantial. As a result, Unizin provides digital content and courseware at tremendous discounts, improves affordability, enforces the adoption of standards leverage at scale learning data, and provides access to many students. Most notably, Unizin enables higher education institutions to capture, analyze, and benefit from their learning data through the UDP.
This full-time position is entirely remote and reports to the CEO. All candidates are encouraged to apply. Unizin deeply values inclusion and diversity. Unizin staff’s varied backgrounds and perspectives spark innovation.
Unizin is proud to be an equal opportunity workplace. Unizin is committed to equal employment opportunity regardless of race, color, ancestry, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, age, disability, or gender identity. Accommodations will be provided to any candidate with special needs requesting such.Strategically Lead and Influence (75%)
- Work collaboratively with the CEO to ensure that Unizin’s technology and product strategy enable Unizin’s business objectives.
- Work with the CEO to involve, engage, inform, influence, and advise Unizin’s board on Unizin’s proposed market posture, technology, and product strategy.
- Develop and communicate Unizin’s product and portfolio strategy. Identify and position new product opportunities that serve the consortium’s mission.
- Communicate and position Unizin’s current and future technology portfolio relative to market trends in big data, analytics, machine learning, and content management applications.
- Initiate and support prospective membership opportunities; act as Unizin’s technology and product leader in all membership opportunities.
- Work closely with marketing to ensure an effective MarCom strategy for Unizin products, services, and consortium identity.
- Lead strategy and execution for technology partners, services, and hiring decisions that contribute to an innovative, performant, scalable product portfolio.
- Work closely with taskforces comprised of higher education institutional members that focus on building dialogue, understanding cultural and institutional use cases that often include complex data governance.
- Communicate timelines, deliverables, strategies, and limitations with the Unizin communities.
- Develop, track, and manage the development of annual operating and capital budgets for technology purchases, expenses, staff, and operations in collaboration with the CFO. Balance the need to innovate and take risks relative to revenue projections and opportunities. Oversees a ~$2M/year budget.
- Lead, coach, manage and motivate efficient, cross-functional engineering, support, product management, and user experience practices. Promote a culture within Unizin’s technology team of innovation in service of the academy.
- Lead change transformation of the Unizin Common Data Model (driven by member needs, vendor innovations, and new partners);
- Contribute and influence IMS Global standards leadership groups. Leveraging Unizin Data Analysis, determine and finalize all changes to the Unizin Common Data Model; evangelize the UCDM to the broader Ed Tech community as a common, recognized standard.
- Advocate through leadership, vision, involvement, and service to the ed-tech community the Unizin Data Platform, the academy’s right to own its learner data, Inclusive Access for Affordable Content (I.e., All Student Acquire), and robust and enforceable data standards for interoperability.
- Develop and maintain key Ed Tech market awareness to ensure
that Unizin continues to innovate and define the future direction
of data analytics and digital transformation in service of higher
education’s mission. Participate in focused national working
groups, standards organizations (I.e. IMS Global) to establish
strategic directions for emerging technologies that will transform
teaching, learning, and research. Assist the overall higher
education community with national and international initiatives by
providing strategic leadership and vision.
- Work with technical team leaders to understand and plan development; and set and work within delivery expectations of various constituencies within member institutions. Team leaders include Director of Engineering, Product Manager, and Services Manager. Total staff (11).
- Develop and maintain a strong awareness of and involvement in the educational content and publisher market through systemic dialogue with Unizin community members focused on affordability and accessibility. Influence publishers and learning tool vendors regarding affordability, accessibility, and interoperability.
- Establish individual review and mentoring practice, creating clarity in performance expectations/feedback and providing growth mentoring.
- Oversee all product management and strategy, collaborating with product managers to ensure that Unizin’s product strategy and roadmap aligns with organizational goals. Ensure that Unizin’s product portfolio remains current and innovative systemically.
- Implement prioritization practices that balance the resolution of technical issues, feature development, new innovative offerings, budgetary limits, and performance improvements.
- Oversee all system design and changes in system architecture, collaborating with senior engineers on technical design, implementation, delivery, and quality assurance.
- Implement engineering practices and norms that promote individual agency, empowerment, and a continuous improvement mindset while serving as a role model for well-designed software systems.
- Work closely with SREs to track, analyze and monitor technology performance metrics, including disaster recovery, security, and escalation policies in the case of failure.
- Work closely with Unizin’s Services Manager to implement practices and processes that deliver excellent technical support, product implementation, and end-user documentation.
- Define Unizin’s Support and Services policies, ensuring that the Unizin Services team adheres to and transparently communicates service level expectations. Work closely with Unizin’s Services Manager to implement well-defined, comprehensive, and correct implementation protocols and practices for all Unizin products.
- Work closely with Unizin’s Sr. User Experience designer to implement comprehensive UX design practices that deliver consistent, user-centered experiences across all Unizin products. Facilitate a partner-driven UX research practice that informs Unizin UX design and product management
- Ensure UX, product management, and engineering leverage a common set of design tools, assets, and practices throughout the product development lifecycle
- A track record of leadership roles, increasing in responsibility and scope, in the educational technology market or comparable tech market, responsible for translating current and future needs to successful market solutions to complex, data-driven challenges.
- Successful experience with leading software and product development lifecycles with defined metrics.
- Demonstrated entrepreneurial passion for identifying, building, and furthering the creation and adoption of technology solutions that provide recognized value to the academy.
- Proven experience as a strategist in web-based platforms and applications, demonstrated by understanding current and future trends with experience leading the transformation to the cloud for existing and cloud-born initiatives.
- A strong background, experience in leading data-driven reporting and analytic efforts
- Strong communication skills, including the ability to listen, lead and influence a diverse set of audiences, including but not limited to faculty, students, librarians, staff, executive leadership, vendors, committee, and task forces.
- Extensive, proven experience in project management in creating complex, emerging technical products with a demonstrable track record of on-time, on-budget, and strong adoption of the same due to conformance with the market needs and the alignment of the business case to the solutions’ features.
- Experience in a senior product management role focused on the design, development, implementation, and assessment of future-focused solutions resulting from extensive market research and (ideally) educational technology market awareness.
- Unquestionable commitment to diversity and inclusion as demonstrated through the relationships with the community, staff; Ideally possess an understanding of proactive approaches to removing bias in data analytics by consciously adhering to and aligning digital ethics best practices.
- Possess extensive business experience in vendor management.
- A Bachelor’s or higher degree in Computer Science, Informatics, Information Systems, or similar field. Equivalent 10 years or more equivalent work experience.
- A minimum of 10 years of leadership experience in higher education IT or Academic Tech management and leadership roles. Comparable expertise at the state level in K12. Prefer a director or AVP-Level role background.
- Senior product management experience specifically in the Ed-Tech market, including Learning Management and Learning Tools solutions; Ideally experience leading in the Analytics Solutions.
- A minimum of five years of experience using large, complex sets of data and data reporting for a wide variety of business needs.
- Experience in the planning and execution of Machine Learning initiatives using large, complex, obtuse data sets to solve real-world problems. Experience inclusive of working with data scientists to optimize data curation, accessibility, understanding, and utilization.
- A background in or experience with data sciences, visualization, reporting, and business intelligence initiatives at scale.
- Experience working with Data Analytics vendors (i.e., Civitas, EAB, and others)
- Smart teams working on tough challenges in a mission-driven space
- Competitive salary commensurate with experience in a similar role
- Company-paid medical, dental, and optical insurance
- 403b with matching on a 2-year vesting schedule
- Open PTO
- Work-from-home reimbursement and entirely remote work employment
- Regular team onsite and remote team-bonding activities
- Flexible hours