Featured Publications, Stories and Stuff Written by or About Steven Burrell

by: Steven Burrell

Higher Education institutions have expressed commitment and strategies to embracing diversity, equity, inclusion, organizational justice, and belonging (JEDI). However, institutional guidance on recommended JEDI practices is often high-level, symbolic, or short-term in nature. Front-line managers feel limited by unclear vision and vagueness of institutional guidance and may be further constrained by policies, a dominant culture, or limited institutional support. This article identifies pragmatic actions managers can take to build JEDI with their teams and enact positive change from the bottom up in their organizations. The ideas are derived from various sources of literature, blogs, and first-hand experiences of higher-education managers.  

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by: Steven Burrell

Some authors have posited that the great resignation is subsiding. It is not. Higher education managers continue to experience difficulties in filling positions with dwindling applicant pools, under-qualified résumés, a fast-paced “candidates’ market”, and increased competition with private-sector employers and their peers for top IT talent. Moreover, changes in the workforce have disrupted the traditional relationship between employer and employee forcing IT leaders must adopt new workforce strategies. This article presents actionable tactics in four major areas IT leaders can develop: Exercising their leadership, rethinking and restructuring work and job roles, changing tactics on recruiting talent, and being more intentional about retaining talent. These tactics were collected through numerous formal and informal discussions at conferences, meetings, and leadership events over the past year.

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by: Steven Burrell

The HeD CIO Job Profile and Performance model is updated to the 2022 version.  It is nearly a complete rewrite of the first version published in 2015 to provide an accurate depiction of the current and future role and responsibilities, requisite skills, knowledge, and experience of a Chief Information Officer (CIO) at higher education institutions.  The 2021 version of the HeD CIO JPPM takes into consideration the evolving role of the CIO as a digital transformationalist in the post-COVID pandemic era while staying grounded on foundational responsibilities of providing relevant, reliable and resilient IT services. 

The JPPM establishes a framework of core competencies required of a contemporary IT leader in higher education. The model can be used in talent management programs that seek to objectively identify, assess, and develop key IT leadership talent. The model can be applied: as a mentoring and development tool for developing future technology leaders; as a guide for developing job descriptions with sensitivity to institutional maturity; and as an assessment tool for current CIOs among other development and informative uses.

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Credit: eamesBot / © 2021 

The CIO as Quantum Leader

By Steve Burrell


Published: Monday, October 18, 2021 in  EDUCAUSE Review


Columns: Digital Transformation (Dx)  Leadership and Professional Learning

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the higher education landscape and forced CIOs to lead through chaos and ambiguity. In this new environment, CIOs must be adept at fostering technological change and transforming culture to achieve sustainable digital transformation while promoting inclusion and diversity in service delivery, building dynamic cross-functional teams, and creating institutional agility.

A multidimensional leadership journey by Steven Burrell

2020 was challenging, even for the most seasoned higher education leaders and the pandemic has given rise to the rapid expansion of the CIO’s visible universe.  And while the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines signals a possible return to “normalcy” in the future, the higher education landscape is far from settled. Higher education CIOs will be particularly challenged with significant strategic initiatives and operational imperatives amidst a sea of institutional and technological change. To succeed at digital transformation (Dx), CIOs require a new approach to how campus leaders interact with each other to clarify digital strategy, manage change, and increase institutional agility to meet rapidly changing needs.  Quantum thinking is a deeper, more diverse way of looking at our problems by introducing holistic thinking, avoiding bias, and providing a broader basis for modern CIO leadership.   More... 

Future Investigations into Quantum Leadership 

Future explorations and writings will examine Quantum Leadership applications around such topics as team building, change management, decision making, customer service, technology design and development, diversity-equity-inclusion, and communications training, among other topics.  


Share ideas and comments about Quantum Leadership and applications with me at

by: Steven Burrell

Leadership transitions can be stressful and uncertain.  Fortunately, most of us do not have to prepare too often for new leadership.  But at some point, during your career, your leadership will change, and you should be prepared to manage such transitions professionally and gracefully.  This article provides some personal insights and is informed by some of my friends and colleagues who are or were presidents/chancellors of higher education institutions. More...

December 10, 2020,  by Steven Burrell and Laura Jones

Developing an effective, efficient data governance process can be a long, strenuous task, but the result is well worth the struggle it requires...

November 19, 2020, by Steve Burrell, Dan Harder and Jane Livingston

Members of the EDUCAUSE Enterprise IT Program Advisory Committee share their advice on how enterprise IT leaders can further institutional goals...

by: Christine Fisher

The striking nature of the Grand Canyon State has molded life there, but not just wildlife. Located in Flagstaff, Arizona, Northern Arizona University (NAU) draws inspiration from its chiseled, mountainous location 7,000-feet above sea level. 

by: Mary Raitt Jordan in collaboration with Steven Burrell

This is a story about reliance and determination in the face of failed markets and the digital divide.  And about a Hopi student who walked 8 miles, one way, to get a Wi-FI signal to do her homework.

by: Steven Burrell

This is a qualitative study of higher education women CIO’s and their experiences with overcoming gender bias in their careers. Recommendations for aspirational women IT leaders and advice for male CIOs on how to manage gender bias in their IT organization. 

by: Steven Burrell

The difficulties of consolidating HEIs into a new institution that is responsive to its aspirational mission are immense. This is partly due to the complexity of HEI organizations characterized by multiple subcultures, powerful external politics, competing interests, and a resistance to change. Achieving organizational alignment is a difficult challenge for the most seasoned leaders. Moreover, these leaders are under greater public scrutiny, handed improvement mandates, excel with diminishing resources, and expected to operate transparently. The transformational leadership model offers one of many good ways to examine leadership and the type of leader, and follower, who is ideally suited for today's and tomorrow's strategic environment."

by: Steven Burrell

Higher education institutions are under increasing pressures to graduate students at higher rates to meet legislative mandates and industry workforce needs. Institutions have turned to technological capabilities such as customer retention management systems to help them manage student success. Northern Arizona University (NAU) implemented the Salesforce CRM in 2016 and recast it as a student relationship management tool (SRM). This research study sought to understand factors leading to a successful Salesforce implementation and the ability to enhance job performance among users. Four of the five hypothesis developed for this research were supported and inform best practice concepts for SRM implementation. The model developed can be used for future research and could include measures of student outcomes with respect to applications of SRM.

For additional works and publication see published works in my vitae.