Don't Overlook the Details

Think carefully about the noun in the title. That noun—be it coordinator, director, manager, specialist—pretty much tells it all. You’ll be surprised how much this single decision forces you to look around at your current roster. Don’t make this position a director just because you feel obligated to give someone a glamorous title. A director implies managing people and budgets, but more importantly setting the agenda. At some schools, you may want someone who is well versed with a plethora of academic technologies, but their role is simply that of a glorified help desk professional specializing in user support and instructional design.

Another big decision is: who will be managing them? If the same school wanted to hire an academic technology professional, the right hire would very likely be a different candidate depending on whether that person were going to be managed by the Head versus the CTO versus the Dean of Faculty. In other words, make your organizational staffing decisions first.

A third decision is: will this position be classified as faculty, staff, or administration? Once again, this decision has the potential for significant impact on the right hire, and this classification decision should be based on the business need, not a candidate’s preference. It’s tempting to place an academic technology professional within the faculty to let them build trust among teachers, but perhaps your school needs a strong technology supervisor who understands the reality of budget limitations. Conversely, it’s tempting to classify the academic technology professional as staff to ensure summer work without designing a unique contract, but perhaps your school needs someone to affect change from within the faculty, not as an outsider. In that case, developing a one-off contract will be a worthwhile investment.