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Chief Information Officer

Western Carolina University
North Carolina, United States
Salary commensurate with experience
Date posted
Jan 23, 2024

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The primary location of this position is the main Cullowhee, NC campus. Anticipated begin work date is July 2024. Review of applications will begin in late February 2024 and will continue until a candidate has been selected for hire.  Make application online to

Western Carolina University seeks an established and innovative senior level leader to serve as its next Chief Information Officer (CIO). The CIO serves as the senior technology leader for the University providing the vision and leadership for developing and implementing information technology strategies and initiatives. The CIO reports to the Chancellor and serves on the Chancellor’s Executive Council, partnering with other Executive Council members in leading our premier regional comprehensive university. The CIO provides leadership for the ongoing commitment to promoting and supporting the strategic use of information technology to advance the overall mission of the University.

Get to Know Western Carolina University
As the westernmost institution in the University of North Carolina System, WCU provides comprehensive educational opportunities to residents in the state’s western region and attracts students from around the globe to explore the region’s vast natural diversity. Founded in 1889 as a teaching college, Western Carolina now provides an education to almost 12,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs.

Mission: As Western North Carolina’s regional comprehensive university, Western Carolina University is dedicated to academic excellence, affordability, and access. WCU inspires student learning through innovative teaching, nationally recognized programs, exceptional support, and a robust connectedness with surrounding communities in our region, including the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Through a broad range of scholarly activities, our faculty and students seek to better understand our region, state, nation, and world. With an emphasis on engaging students both inside and outside the classroom, WCU’s bachelor’s, master’s, and professional doctoral programs in Cullowhee, Asheville, and online aim to improve lives and promote economic prosperity throughout Western North Carolina and beyond.

Vision: Western Carolina University will be a national model for public comprehensive universities serving rural regions and an innovative driver for the social and economic mobility of its students. WCU will break barriers to student access and opportunity, and leverage the expertise of its faculty, staff, and students in confronting the complex health, educational, social, and economic challenges in its region and state.

Core Values: Western Carolina University is committed to excellence in teaching, learning, and scholarship; collaboration with and respect for our communities; free and open interchange of ideas; inclusive excellence; robust and engaging student experience; investment in our people; and environmental stewardship. These are the values that guide our approach to education and service daily.

Get to Know the Information Technology Division
The Division of Information Technology (IT) supports the university’s mission by enabling the effective, efficient, and strategic use of technology in building an empowered and informed university and by cultivating a knowledgeable and engaged IT staff.

We do this with a vision to be a model for the strategic and effective use of information technology, partnering with the university community to positively impact lives. We support a culture of inclusion for all employees that respects our individual strengths, views, and experiences. This makes us a better team, drives innovation, and delivers better business results.

Support of existing technologies and the planning, development, deployment, and integration of new technologies is provided by our 94 IT staff members through the departments of:

· Applications and Systems

· Academic Engagement and IT Governance

· Client Support Services

· Networking and Communications

· Project Management Office (PMO)

· IT Administration Office

· Chief Technologist Office

· IT Security and Privacy Office

Our IT guiding principles are:

1. We embrace the important responsibility and role IT has in the university’s core values of Excellence, Scholarship, and Teaching and Learning.

2. We stand dedicated to critical system stability by being firmly rooted in a culture of proactiveness, process improvement, and prevention of issues and recurring problems.

3. We commit ourselves to providing best in class service, investing in our people, and encouraging cross-disciplinary collaboration with a commitment towards achieving shared goals.

4. We focus on continuous improvement, seeking opportunities to challenge ourselves, to be receptive to new ideas and solutions and to be good stewards of resources.

5. We learn and grow to systemically address diversity, equal opportunity, and belonging as areas of continual improvement in process and practice.

6. We are open and honest with our university partners, keeping them up to date on our work.

7. We manage risk effectively, communicate issues appropriately, protect user data and privacy, assess data security risks, and maintain honest accounting of all information.

In addition, IT strives to serve with transparency, integrity, innovation, excellence, accountability, and together we celebrate the diversity and inclusion of ideas and people. IT invests heavily in continual professional development.

About the Position and Opportunity
As a member of the University’s executive leadership team reporting to the Chancellor, and a member of the Executive Council, the CIO is responsible for the University’s Information Technology strategy, operations, and support. A key element of this role is providing strategic leadership and vision in planning, developing, implementing, integrating, and maintaining technology and information systems that support the academic and administrative goals of the University. The CIO is responsible for overseeing and advancing the University’s IT governance, applications, data analytics, project management office, instructional technology, computing, communications, embedded college support, cybersecurity, and data privacy infrastructure. The CIO is also responsible for providing reliable and responsive information management and technology services to faculty, staff, and students. These responsibilities require a keen understanding of the University’s strategic priorities and the ability to anticipate and develop plans, programs, technologies, capabilities, and policies to support the University’s mission in an ever-changing environment and security landscape.

The University seeks a leader who has significant senior management experience; displays foresight; has an acute understanding of the systems and operations of a complex organization; is service-excellence oriented; has a solid track record for evaluating and negotiating technology products and services; and, especially, who can be an effective strategic partner across the University with other leaders, administrators, faculty, and staff.

As a member of the Chancellor’s Executive Council, the CIO is expected to provide thought leadership and a strategic perspective for the university as a whole. The CIO will be an engaged and trusted collaborator with the Vice Chancellors and other members of the Executive Council. As such, the CIO is expected to be a university business leader first and an IT leader second.

With WCU being a constituent institution of the University of North Carolina System, the CIO will be a member of the UNC CIO Council, engaging with CIOs from across the UNC System on common objectives and needs. The Council is also an excellent resource for information sharing and learnings. The CIO will additionally be a member of the UNC IT Shared Services Council, which oversees several shared services, including ERP hosting.

The CIO will inherit a strong leadership team and professional staff that are well respected across the University and UNC System. The division has developed a culture of innovation, quality, professionalism, and service excellence with a can-do spirit.

Required Knowledge, Skills, Dispositions, and Abilities:

• Strategic – a visionary, forward-thinking leader who is creative, influential, visible, and able to champion IT strategy university-wide; ensures an integrated approach.
• Collaborative – a leader who develops strong working relationships based on trust and honesty; demonstrates strong interpersonal skills; works through influence, involving the right constituents to effect change; is politically savvy.
• Strong communicator – communicates clearly and effectively to all stakeholders across the university; works to understand the needs of all constituencies, including students, faculty, and staff; is transparent and direct; is a good listener; demonstrates strong interpersonal skills ; possesses executive presentation skills.
• Governance – ensures that the IT governance structure is effective and includes stakeholders at all levels and business areas of the institution; integrates UNC System IT Policies and required frameworks; partners with Internal Audit and Enterprise Risk Management.
• Decisive – able to determine the best course of action and to make decisions at an appropriate pace.
• Change Agent – demonstrates support for innovation and for organizational changes needed to improve operational effectiveness; has experience effectively leading and facilitating change in a way that inspires people and garners buy-in, including cultural change.
• Team Builder – one who can effectively lead, facilitate, coach, and manage; is able to build a strong service excellence-oriented team; is a proponent for fostering an inclusive workforce.
• People Developer – a leader who develops and mentors IT staff to reach their potential; understands and champions the value and impact of professional development.
• Quality Focus – a leader who drives the organization’s performance with an attitude of continuous improvement in systems, processes, and measurement; incorporates best practices; embraces a culture of proactiveness, process, and prevention.
• Analytical Thinking – a problem solver; able to analyze, investigate, and interpret data, issues, and situations by using a logical, systematic, sequential approach.
• Mission driven – leads from the mission and goals of the University; works according to professional and organizational values; maintains high standards of personal integrity and ethics.
• Respect – a leader who has the respect and trust of University governing bodies such as the Board of Trustees and the UNC System.
• Security and Privacy – actively encourages and oversees the development and implementation of proactive security and privacy policies, strategies, and compliance that protects the information of faculty, staff, and students. The CIO serves as the chair of the Information Security and Privacy Committee.

Knowledge and Experience
• Significant experience and success leading major system implementations; a track record of maximizing return on investment in systems and services.
• A demonstrated grasp of the spectrum of information-technology systems and services; ability to develop a keen sense of the emerging technologies that will shape education and operations in coming years.
• Critical knowledge and understanding of cybersecurity and data privacy.
• Knowledge of IT-related best practices, financial analysis techniques, and understanding of current and developing strategic information technologies and capabilities.
• Ability to gain the understanding of academic and administrative functions and advanced understanding of information technology within a university setting.
• Ability to partner with faculty and academic leadership to upgrade the effectiveness and efficiency of the University’s instructional and research programs through creative and prudent applications of technology.
• Skill in budget oversight and fiscal management. Ability to manage the Division’s functions and services in a timely, high-quality, and cost-effective manner consistent with the values and mission of the University.
• Experience and commitment to recruiting and retaining talent and building high performing teams to successfully deliver IT programs and services.
• Ability to develop requests and evaluate proposals for information technology hardware, software, and services.

Personal Dispositions
• Provides thought leadership and strategic perspective for the university as a whole.
• University business leader first and an IT leader second.
• Dynamic in pursuit of goals.
• Leads by example.
• Handles ambiguity and state policy with grace.
• Bias for considered action and a creative thinker.
• Recognition of the mission and culture of the University.
• Recognition of the culture of the local and regional community.
• Motivated by understanding the significance of being part of a dynamic regional comprehensive university.
• Unquestionable integrity.
• Humility and honesty that builds trust.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • A professional record that shows successful information technology management experience in progressively more senior positions
  • 15 years information technology experience

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree or equivalent education
  • Master of Business Administration
  • A substantive record of IT leadership experience in a complex organization, including 10-plus years at the director level or above
  • A combination of both corporate and higher education IT leadership experience

Western Carolina University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race; color; religion; sex; sexual orientation; gender identity or expression; national origin; age; disability; genetic information; political affiliation; National Guard or veteran status, consistent with applicable federal, state and local laws, regulations, and policies, and the policies of The University of North Carolina. Additionally, the University promotes the realization of equal employment opportunity for minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and veterans through its affirmative action program.
Persons with disabilities requiring accommodations in the application and interview process please call (828) 227-7218 or email at



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