September 1, 2020 | News

CIO Round Table: Navigating the New Normal

Join three CIOs from universities across the country in a discussion covering the impact of COVID-19, the role of IT in return to campus plans and lessons learned so far.

2 min

We checked in with three university CIOs to hear about the impact and challenges COVID-19 on their campuses, ideas and strategies that worked and didn’t work, and what their plans are for the fall semester.  

CIO Round Table

Meet the CIOs

Sharyne Miller
Sharyne Miller

Sharyne Miller

Associate Vice Chancellor of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer, University of North Carolina Wilmington

Sharyne Miller has nearly 30 years of professional experience in information technology. Her areas of expertise include communications and infrastructure analyses, network engineering and systems management, resource allocation, shared governance, compliance, strategic planning and budgeting. Sharyne is the Associate Vice Chancellor of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Sharyne shared about the challenges she faced in delaying decisions, and how she learned to make decisions with the best information she had at the time. As part of a task force, Sharyne found a solution to use technology to reduce student touch points on campus, implementing a new e-form and e-signature program. Looking ahead, Sharyne is preparing for a greater focus on information security, data governance and IT governance at the university.

Jeff Coiner
Jeff Coiner

Jeff Coiner

Chief Information Officer, Missouri State University

Jeff Coiner accepted the offer to return to his alma mater as the Chief Information Officer for Missouri State University in July 2019. Jeff previously served for 12 years as the Director of Information Systems for the City of Springfield, MO. Jeff’s IT career has spanned more than 30 years in a variety of roles and companies including Phillips Petroleum, Northrup Grumman, and EFCO Corporation. In his current role, he is responsible for strategic direction and daily operations for the Missouri State University System’s Information Technology.

In response to the pandemic, Jeff and his team learned that they could react to changing priorities much quicker than they thought they could. One significant change that his university made for the fall semester is waiving residency requirements for first time freshmen. Looking ahead, Jeff will be preparing for changes in funding and focusing on managing a remote staff.

Milos Topic
Milos Topic

Milos Topic

VP for IT (CIO) & Chief Digital Officer, Grand Valley State University

Milos has over 20 years of experience in information technology and higher education. During this time, his primary focus has always been on the growth of people and organizations while challenging the notion of “this is how we have always done it.”

Milos recommends being actively engaged in organizations across campus to hear directly from students. He also emphasized the importance of talent, and getting the right people in the right positions in order to be successful. 

While each of the CIOs discussed different strategies in their return to campus plans, a common theme was being flexible and quick to adapt to changes. Multiple contingency plans, cross-department collaboration and constant communication are necessary moving forward.