Ed Clark, a longtime Minnesota higher education IT manager, is California State University’s (CSU) new system information director, replacing Michael Berman after his recent retirement from a university announcement said.
According to the university, Clark brings more than 25 years of IT management experience to the position. He previously worked as Vice President of Innovation and Technology Services, CIO, and Chief Digital Officer at the University of St. Thomas, Minnesota’s largest private college, where he worked to improve IT capabilities for the online learning during COVID-19. Clark also served as CIO at Minnesota State University at Mankato, the largest public university in the MSU system, and CIO of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota.
For about a week in his new role, Clark has been responsible for managing computer services and networks across the CSU system, the nation’s largest four-year public university system with nearly 500,000 students and 56,000 faculty and staff. staff on 23 campuses. He said he looks forward to leading the ongoing IT modernization efforts to achieve CSU’s 2025 strategic goals, which focus on increase graduation rates and student equityas well as enrollment management, data-driven decision-making, and access to digital degree planners, among other goals.
Clark believes that one of the biggest challenges for higher education IT professionals today is to make online and hybrid learning models more efficient, amid increasing student demand. for virtual options likely to remain in a post-pandemic landscape.
“Since the pandemic, there has been a huge change for institutions. We had to move online and become more effective in teaching and learning in this non-physical space,” he said. “Studies have shown that student preferences have changed, potentially permanently. They want to have more offerings online, and I think that will be a challenge for many institutions across the country and around the world, and of course systems like CSU as well.
“But how do we meet [students’] request for flexibility? How can we become more effective in teaching and learning and student achievement in the online space? This is going to be a challenge that we are going to have to overcome,” he said. “It’s my aim.”
In terms of goals related to student equity, he said he would work with university leaders “to improve student and faculty outcomes across the system.” Clark said IT and academic leaders need to be aware of the various challenges faced by underserved students, as well as the logistical challenges of online learning, such as securing growing computer networks as universities continue. to adapt to new learning models.
“Students are coming in with more learning difficulties, partly because of the pandemic and partly because of other factors. Students need more basic math and science materials, so how can we help them better access the information, materials they need, and even the mentorship and guidance they need to succeed ? ” he said.
“I think there’s a misunderstanding around the world that e-learning is, ‘I’m going to put my PowerPoint online. I’m just going to read it to you,’ he later added “This is not effective online learning. Effective online learning requires instructors to interact with students to recognize when they are falling behind.”
Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer Steve Relyea said in a recent announcement of Clark’s appointment that he is confident the system will advance toward its strategic goals of academic and student equity through Clark’s experience.
“Dr. Clark brings a deep understanding of how technology can enhance teaching, learning and research and lead to greater student success,” he said in a statement. leadership will be invaluable to CSU as we continue to explore new and innovative solutions for our students and employees across California.”