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University of Virginia Launches Search for IT Leadership Post, Names Permanent CIO

The University of Virginia has launched a search for a new vice president for digital initiatives.

The University also announced the permanent appointment of Virginia Evans as chief information officer, a post she has held on an interim basis since July 1.

Both moves are part of a realignment of information technology resources and functions to position them to provide optimal support of U.Va.’s strategic priorities – including its academic, health care and research missions, and its administrative functions.

“Information technology is embedded throughout our teaching, research, clinical care and administrative work at U.Va., and strategic digital initiatives will help us fulfill our mission of serving students, patients and society generally,” U.Va. President Teresa A. Sullivan said. “Increasingly, this requires exceptional leadership, which we have in Virginia Evans as chief information officer and will continue to pursue in the person who will fill the new position.”

The vice president for digital initiatives will report directly to the president. The chief information officer will have a dual reporting line, to both the new vice president and to Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Patrick Hogan. Previously, the CIO reported solely to the chief operating officer.

Archie Holmes, vice provost for educational innovation and interdisciplinary studies and professor of electrical and computer engineering, will lead the search committee. Other members include Rip Verkerke, professor of law and chair of the University Committee on Information Technology; Randall Smith, chief technology officer for the Darden School of Business; Melody Bianchetto, associate vice president for finance; Susan Carkeek, vice president and chief human resource officer; Karin Wittenborg, University librarian and dean of libraries; Don Brown, professor of engineering and applied sciences and founding director of U.Va.’s Data Science Institute; Bob Bruner, dean of the Darden School; Catherine Bradshaw, professor and associate dean for research and faculty development for the Curry School of Education; Gretchen Arnold, associate dean and director of the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library; John Hawley, associate dean for the sciences and professor of astronomy; and Nancy Rivers, associate vice president for administration and chief of staff for the president.

“We will conduct a global search with a goal of providing President Sullivan at least three outstanding, highly qualified leaders for her consideration for this important post,” Holmes said. “The successful leader will work with all units across Grounds to create an integrated, strategic vision for agency-wide information technology.”

Soon after the July departure of former Vice President and CIO James Hilton, Sullivan established a review committee, charging its members with examining the University’s current IT leadership model and with recommending potential modifications.

Under the previous model, one person served as both vice president of information technology and chief information officer.

Overall, the review committee’s report determined that the University would be most capably served by two leaders whose duties are separate, but integrated. In this model, the CIO will focus primarily on operational IT demands. The vice president for digital initiatives will be responsible for the development and implementation of IT strategy that maximizes the effectiveness of teaching, research and administrative functions.

The committee’s report also noted that IT strategy will be essential to the University’s development and implementation of its new strategic plan, whose overarching strategies were approved by the Board of Visitors in November. As a result, the vice president for digital initiatives must work in partnership with the provost, chief operating officer and the executive vice president for health affairs, among others.

Sullivan said she looks forward to receiving the search committee’s recommendations, and complimented Evans for her service as interim CIO.

Prior to this post, Evans was associate vice president for Information Technology Services. She earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a master’s degree in management information systems from the McIntire School of Commerce, where she also has taught graduate-level courses.

As interim CIO, Evans has been responsible for planning and coordinating central IT infrastructure, applications and support, as well as information security, policy and records management.

“Virginia Evans earned the permanent CIO post in our new IT model by serving effectively in her interim CIO role and through her long-term professional achievements at the University and elsewhere,” Sullivan said. “I am grateful for her leadership and for the dedication of her team.”

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