During its May 2010 meeting, the Gettysburg College Board of Trustees established a new committee to conduct the oversight of the Information Technology Division of the college. Prior to the creation of this committee, Vice President for IT, Rodney Tosten reported to Academic Affairs Committee and Fiscal & Personnel Management Committee. The charge to the new Information Technology Committee is the oversight of information technology strategies, goals, and policies that are integral to the achievement of the institution’s strategic plan. The chair of this new trustee committee is Dr. Ronald J. Smith (’72), retired Senior Vice President of Intel Corporation. He has been a member of the Board since 2006.
According to Rodney Tosten, Vice President for Information Technology, the new committee will not be involved in the day-to-day activities of IT. It will be strictly an oversight committee which will mainly insure that IT’s strategic plan and operations are consistent with the strategic directions of the institution. Particular emphasis will be on how IT insulates the institution and its members from loss of business continuity and personal data. This includes all aspects of IT risk management and security. It will also monitor IT strategic planning to insure that Gettysburg College maintains a competitive advantage with other institutions.
Because all of the members of the IT Committee have other Board of Trustees’ Committee assignments, the committee will have only one face-to-face meeting each year, the October meeting of the Board. However, the committee will meet three additional times, September, January, and, April in a webinar format. The first, very productive, webinar meeting was held last September.
In addition to Ronald Smith, other members of the committee are:
After graduating Magna Cum Laude as a Physics Major from Gettysburg Ronald J. Smith ’72 obtained an M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. In 1978 he joined the Intel Corporation where he held several senior executive positions culminating as Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Wireless Communications and Computing Group from 1999 to 2004. Ron was honored by Gettysburg as a Distinguished Alumnus in 1996. In 2006 Ron responded positively to requests from his alma mater to serve on the Board of Trustees of the College. When the Board made the decision to form an IT Committee, Ron was a natural choice to chair the committee.
Ron fully understands and supports the oversight duties of the committee and its fiduciary responsibilities to the college community. He is also pleased to be aligned with the IT division of the college for other reasons as well. He sees IT as the backbone of any contemporary educational institution, and this has special significance for Gettysburg College. A new challenge has emerged in the competition for high quality students. Several established and relatively new institutions are successfully promoting their on-line (or mostly on-line) degree opportunities in the media. Gettysburg College has always stressed its strong faculty/student relationship and its student involved community service as a major strength of the Gettysburg Experience. He firmly believes that the way Gettysburg integrates technology into its program while maintaining its fundamental values will have a strong impact on the future of the college. As one who has played a key role in the development of new technologies, Ron is continually amazed at the many uses of those technologies that were never imagined. He believes that educational institutions are on the forefront of these serendipitous developments and is excited to be associated at the point where it all comes together.
Ron lives in Granite Bay, California with his wife Diane (Werley), a 1973 graduate of Gettysburg. Ron and Diane have two children, Justin and Robyn. Justin is a graduate of the University of California at San Diego and is currently a graduate student at Stanford studying Genetics. Robyn is currently a student of the University of California at Davis and recently spent a semester in Costa Rica. During Robyn’s time in Costa Rica, Ron and Diane were able to use various social networking tools to maintain their relationship and keep up on her activities.
In addition to serving on the boards of several private corporations, Ron enjoys studying history and finds the internet to be an exciting and valuable resource for pursuing his interest in the subject. He also believes in physical fitness and has participated in triathlons. Ron also enjoys basketball, scuba diving, weight training, hiking and backpacking. Other interests include travel (see above photo of the Smith family touring the Galapagos Islands) and reading.
IT looks forward to a long, exciting, and productive relationship with its new Board of Trustees Committee and its Chair, Ron Smith.
The January 2011 issue of Campus Technology magazine has an article on the importance of certification for IT professionals. Featured in that article were quotes and observations from Travis Mathna, Audio-Visual Systems Integration & Support Technician in the Instructional Technology and Training Department and Rodney Tosten, Vice President for Information Technology.
Mathna (See photo to right), who has been at Gettysburg for 5 years designing, upgrading, and maintaining the college’s audio-visual equipment spoke of the role that his certification as an A/V technician played in his obtaining the Gettysburg job and in putting him in contact with his peers at other institutions. He said that his interviewers understood, “[Certification] meant something beyond the associate’s degree I had earned.” and “Certification helped [the interviewers] appreciate the potential of what I could contribute.
Tosten emphasized the fact that in many IT fields, certification is an absolute necessity for authenticating professional skills. He notes, “A certification is a demonstration to constituents outside of IT that IT follows best practices and thus is reducing the risk that something will go significantly wrong.” Like Mathna, Tosten also acknowledged the importance of a community of peers among certified IT individuals. He stated, “A certification should not be a moment in time when an individual passes a final test, but should be an entry way to becoming a member in an intellectual community exchanging ideas and enhancing the particular field.” This quote was used as the concluding sentence for the Campus Technology article.
In addition to Gettysburg College IT, other institutions featured in the article are Appalachian State University, the University of Alaska, Bunker Hill Community College, Cornell University, the University of Florida, and the University of South Florida.
Campus Technology is a monthly magazine focusing on technology in higher education and has a monthly circulation of 50,000 printed magazines.