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June 10, 2008

Blogging ECAR Summer Symposium

Richard Katz, Educause VP opened this year's ECAR Summer Symposium with a quote from R.D. Laing:

We live in a moment of history where change is so speeded up that we begin to see the present only when it is already disappearing.

What are the challenges and opportunities for the 21st century university to at once be relevant to the grand challenges of confronting the human conditions of tomorrow at the same time not be locked-in to infrastructure and question-sets that we only conceive of today. From an IT-centric view of the world, the challenge can be framed in terms of the question as to whether are we building tomorrow's technology for yesterday's world?

Among the many many challenges facing the 21st century university, IT leaders gathering at this year's summer symposium where challenged to think about the issues facing us as not only be external to the IT world. Of course the litany includes challenges like rising costs, privatization, increasing pressures on revenues, increasing pressures to account for student success and institutional performance.

Our (IT world's) relative success in bringing network technologies to the world of higher education has succeeded in aiding in the democratization of access to university research and learning. At the same time, the logical extension of our success challenges our traditional roles within the landscape of the higher education eco-system. At the same time as higher education is in many ways more important than ever before and the key gateway to the wealth of nations in the 21st century, the network effect challenges our identities as educators, the rewards and recognitions, and even the manner in which scientific knowledge is created and disseminated.

How is the (Internet) cloud growing to envelop the University?
How is the University using the cloud to extend its presence?
How does 'cloudliness' alter the form of our social institutions.
How do we look at the cloud as either a competitor that threatens to disintermediate our attention.

It's time to extend these forward looking challenges and contradictions as part of both our IT strategic planning as well as Case Western Reserve University's strategic plan.

Lev Gonick
Case Western Reserve University
June 10, 2008

Posted by lsg8 at June 10, 2008 10:04 AM

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