Top 30

Theresa Rowe

Rowe has dedicated her 24-year career at Oakland University — 15 years as the CIO — to building and developing community and collaborative efforts among technology organizations and leaders who are providing solutions to higher education. “I think, collectively, we all believe in education as a public good, and we’re trying to work effectively to use technology to advance all of the goals and initiatives of our higher education community,” says Rowe. “It’s a very exciting time and I do what I can to be a part of it.”

Most recently, Rowe spearheaded efforts at the university to help achieve its No.1 strategic plan item of fostering student success through robust teaching and learning environments and comprehensive student services. Technology has been key to achieving this goal. Over the last 18 months, campus leadership has focused on integrated planning and advising solutions to help reduce the time and cost it takes to complete a degree. These solutions enable deeper data mining and reveal insights into students’ degree paths so they can see their progress at any point in time. Advisers can view the same information and intervene if a student veers off track. “These self-tracking tools are really going to make a difference in our students’ success,” says Rowe.

The campus will continue to look at all student services to ensure there is technology available to support them. “It’s important to us to make sure technology is there from the time they first connect with us as an institution, so we’re implementing customized tools and pathways to keep them engaged all the way through graduation,” says Rowe. “It’s all about removing the obstacles to student progress.”

In addition to her work on campus, Rowe has volunteered a significant amount of time to EDUCAUSE as the CIO Constituent Group leader. Because of her involvement in EDUCAUSE, she received the 2014 Community Leadership Award. She also served as the Transitional Board Leader to create the new organization and bylaws for the Research and Education Networking Information Sharing and Analysis Center (REN-ISAC), volunteered on the board for Apereo and is on the Merit Network Board — all in an effort to advance the community.

Rowe sums up her drive to be involved in these efforts by saying, “It’s really important we demonstrate confidence, competence and passion for these new waves of technology. People are looking to us as leaders to push the needle. It’s important we do that.”