Workday Podcast: Bold Steps CIOs Can Take to Transform Higher Education

Opinder Bawa, CIO and vice president at the University of San Francisco, discusses digital transformation in higher ed and the bold steps CIOs can take to ensure their students experience college in a way that’s meaningful in person, online, and offline.

Josh Krist December 02, 2019
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Helping students get the support and guidance they need to successfully graduate and lead meaningful lives is the most important role of higher education.

In this episode of the Workday Podcast, I talk with Opinder Bawa, CIO and vice president at the University of San Francisco, about the transformation of higher ed and the responsibility to live up to such high expectations. We also discuss what bold steps CIOs of higher ed institutions can take to ensure that their students experience college in a way that’s meaningful in person, online, and offline.

Listen on SoundCloud:  The Bold Steps CIOs Can Take to Transform Higher Education

Listen on Apple Podcasts: The Bold Steps CIOs Can Take to Transform Higher Education

Below you’ll find some highlights of what Bawa shared with me, edited for clarity. You can find our other Workday Podcasts here.

  • “Today the average graduation rate in the United States is somewhere in the 60% range. That’s pretty low. If you look at the historical trends of universities and their graduation rates, would you buy a car that only works 60% of the time? Or a house that doesn’t leak 60% of the time? USF is around 80%, but over time all expectations have to shift upward. We have to make sure we are helping the right students get to the right schools and get the support and guidance they need to successfully graduate, and lead meaningful lives. Not just get a job, not just get a financial reward at the end of it. We have to really pay attention to these things in a way that we’ve never done, or have been able to do before.” 
  • “I asked a couple of my CIO colleagues to join the board of trustees committee on information technology at the university, to improve how we take advantage of technology. That’s a bold step. It can be very unnerving for some to have peers looking over your shoulder and sharing with the trustees their impressions of technology strategy. But you have to take bold steps of that nature to make sure you’re focused on the best possible outcomes for the students, faculty and the university.”  
  • “Universities need to start thinking about students as customers, in some sense. That’s a serious mind-shift to make, successfully. Like in healthcare, a patient now is viewed as a customer with choices.”

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