New University System ConnectND Leadership Announced
BISMARCK, N.D. - The North Dakota University System today announced the hiring of an interim chief information officer and an interim deputy CIO who also will act as executive director for ConnectND.
The interim CIO position will be filled by Thursby & Associates, Inc., an information technology consulting firm based in Cochran, Ga. Managing partner Randall A. Thursby will function as the NDUS CIO beginning June 26, 2006, and ending June 30, 2008. He will retire May 31, 2006, as the University System of Georgia's vice chancellor for information and instructional technology and CIO. Thursby has held senior-level IT positions at the USG for the past 18 years. He has successfully implemented PeopleSoft modules for 31 institutions and addressed unique technology issues at four research institutions. At USG, Thursby was responsible for a staff of more than 185 people and an annual budget of more than $45 million. His office will be located in Fargo, N.D.
The interim deputy CIO/executive director for ConnectND position will be filled by Bonnie Neas, NDSU associate vice president for federal government relations and director of the Center for High Performance Computing. Neas has served as the director of Information Technology Services at NDSU and was head of the academic side of HECN, the University System's Higher Education Computing Network. In the past 10 years, she has received more than $7 million in grants, including funding from the National Science Foundation. Neas has served on numerous Educause committees and on the Internet2 network planning and policy advisory council. She currently serves in a leadership role in a nine-state regional research and development network initiative called the Northern Tier Network. Neas has been placed on temporary administrative leave at NDSU to fill the University System position from May 16, 2006, through May 15, 2007. Neas also will be located in Fargo.
"Randall Thursby and Bonnie Neas are nationally recognized IT experts," said Robert L. Potts, chancellor of the North Dakota University System. "Members of the State Board of Higher Education, campus and system officials and IT personnel are very pleased that Randall and Bonnie have agreed to share the leadership of this important project. They already have established a strong working relationship and are eager to ‘roll up their sleeves and get to work.'"
Both the CIO and deputy CIO will focus on completing implementation of the University System's portion of ConnectND, a comprehensive web-based software system that links the NDUS and North Dakota state government administrative systems. The NDUS has experienced problems related to implementation of specific software modules, including the grants and contracts module used to administer research activities and reporting at North Dakota State University, the University of North Dakota and Minot State University.
Both Thursby and Neas will report to Laura Glatt, NDUS vice chancellor for administrative affairs. The contract with Thursby & Associates, Inc., which provides for a range of services and expenses, is $259,200 per year. Neas will be paid $175,000 per year plus benefits. These costs are competitive with high-level IT leadership positions nationwide and are significantly below professional IT consulting company charges.
Current NDUS CIO Grant Crawford has announced that he will leave the University System in June 2006 to pursue other professional opportunities. Potts said he commends and thanks Crawford for his dedicated service to the University System for the past seven and one-half years.