About the Position

The Opportunity

The University at Buffalo (UB) is seeking a strategic, forward-thinking leader for the position of Vice President and Chief Information Officer (VPCIO).  Reporting to the president in a cabinet-level appointment, the VPCIO will establish and implement a clear vision for positioning UB at the forefront of 21 century information technology and computing in higher education. 

UB is the largest and most comprehensive university center in the State University of New York (SUNY) system and has been a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU) since 1990. The university is guided by its ambitious UB 2020 vision, which seeks to expand the university’s distinction and relevance among the world’s foremost research universities and enhance UB’s prominence and impact as a recognized leader in responding to broadly defined societal challenges. With one of the nation’s largest international enrollments and affiliation agreements with over 80 universities in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and Africa, UB is a global university in scope and impact, recognized around the world as a leading center for groundbreaking research and discovery. The 2012-13 Times Higher Education World University Rankings listed UB in the top 200 universities worldwide, affirming UB’s stature as one of the world’s preeminent universities.

The Position

The Vice President and Chief Information Officer is charged with providing forward-looking vision, leadership, and long-range direction for the delivery of a robust and innovative information technology infrastructure to advance the university’s research and educational missions as a globally prominent 21 century university.

Although UB has had a chief information officer within its leadership structure for almost 20 years, the position is being elevated to a vice presidential cabinet level appointment at this time, signifying the critical importance of the information technology enterprise to realizing the university’s vision of excellence and achieving its institutional goals.

Providing critical oversight of information technology, computing services, and administrative information systems across the university, the VPCIO will serve as the university’s principal technology leader with responsibility for UB’s overall technology environment, including critical support for the research and teaching activities of faculty and students and oversight of all applications and infrastructure related to administration and academics, information security and telecommunications.


In addition to serving as a member of the president’s cabinet, the VPCIO will be actively engaged with all academic and administrative units of the university, and will lead UB’s Computing and Information Technology (CIT) unit, which coordinates and provides the delivery of technology services across the university’s three campuses, as well as oversee the Center for Computational Research, UB’s high performance computing facility. The VPCIO will be involved in campus-wide strategic planning and be responsible for aligning information technology efforts with institutional goals.


Chief Information Officer Division

CIO division comprises a total staff of 246, with an annual operating budget of approximately $33 million.  CIO division is responsible for supporting the teaching, research and administration of the university through the effective deployment of information technology. While offering centralized services, CIO division also works in close collaboration with school and central administration leadership, enterprise system owners and approximately 200 technology staff working in decentralized general and academic user support organizations embedded in the University Library and the institution’s 12 schools and colleges.

Current units of the VPCIO’s leadership include Enterprise Application Services, Enterprise Infrastructure Services, Network and Classroom Services, CIO Administrative Operations, IT Policy and Communications, Information Security, and Center for Computational Research.

The VPCIO is responsible for support of the following areas:

IT Strategy and Planning: Develop and maintain an IT Strategic and Operating Plan to include all aspects of technology across the enterprise. Drive strategic prioritization and alignment with the university mission as well as all key internal and external university constituencies.

Teaching and Learning: Recognize current and emerging information system technologies and methodologies to enhance the educational mission of the university. Work collaboratively with school-based technology leaders to implement technology-driven initiatives and strategies that facilitate the schools’ and university’s objectives.

Research Support: Participate in and manage the definition, development and support of operational applications to sustain and extend the university’s world-class research activities.

University Management: Participate in and manage the definition, development and support of operational applications to sustain internal administrative functions including finance, human resources, budget and planning, student information systems, advancement/development, security and other critical business functions. Collaborate with enterprise system owners to ensure systems work effectively and meet the needs of faculty, students, staff and alumni.

Infrastructure and Operations: Direct the secure and continuous operation and maintenance of the computing and network infrastructure including servers and network communications equipment and facilities.  Manage the foundation of computing hardware, operating software, and networking equipment facilities and services to enable effective implementation and operation of the university’s information systems.

End user support service:  Establish guidelines for mobile device support on campus based on industry best practices. Provide help desk support for enterprise IT services, centrally scheduled technology enabled classrooms and the student public computing lab spaces.

Organizational Development:  Hire, develop and retain CIO division management. Set clear objectives and success metrics. Direct and assist directors in these activities and ensure staff quality. Enhance the sense of team and partnership among information technology staff across the university.

Budgeting and Financial Management:  Effectively plan, manage, control, and be accountable for all budgeted resources. Identify and implement efficiencies to effectively manage costs.

Regulatory Compliance: Provide leadership over all relevant Information Technology compliance matters including network security and disaster recovery.

Candidate Profile

The successful candidate will be a person with great strategic vision and a keen focus on client service who possesses a record of professional experience that demonstrates progressive responsibilities and senior-level management experience in a complex IT environment. Qualified candidates will have demonstrated success at managing and leading change in a complex, collaborative organization.  The ability to recruit, retain, and develop the highest caliber technology professionals is expected.

Though the VPCIO may not come directly from a higher education environment, qualified candidates will possess an understanding of and appreciation for the complexities of a university academic environment, the roles and relationships of faculty, staff, and students, and the diverse needs for technical support in a comprehensive research university. Candidates must be proven leaders demonstrating at least fifteen years of experience managing complex organizations, including accountability for strategic planning, consensus building, organizational leadership, and technical performance.

Equally significant qualifications include strong emotional intelligence, excellent oral and written communication skills, and exceptional interpersonal relationship and team-building skills. Candidates will also have significant technical competence, having progressed through roles of increasing responsibility managing technology organizations. Providing transparent and cost-efficient operational leadership is critical for this person to be successful, as is the ability to use technology to translate client/institutional needs into workable business solutions.

Although a technical degree is not required, UB seeks a technology leader of the highest caliber, which should be reflected in the appropriate combination of education and experience.

The following key competencies are highlighted:

· Thought Leadership: Understands all parts of the university and their interdependencies, and uses that knowledge to influence institutional strategy and make decisions that advance the mission and goals of the university as a whole. Ensures CIO division is aligned with the goals and objectives of the university.

· Setting Strategy: Must be a strategic leader with a clear vision for positioning the university at the forefront of IT in higher education. Helps develop the university’s information technology vision, translating it into both short- and long-term plans. Creates effective strategies and business plans to focus CIO division on the key university-wide priorities. Considers long-term consequences and implications of actions and decisions for the university. Provides strategic direction by assessing and managing the risks and opportunities associated with industry trends.

· Building Relationships and Using Influence: Builds effective relationships inside and outside of the organization. Effectively relates to others by collaborating and cooperating even with those holding divergent and/or opposing views and goals. Ability to bring together diverse groups of individuals and to build relationships and foster alliances with key campus constituencies.

· Innovative Solutions: Identifies emerging technologies to be introduced, assimilated and integrated with existing systems to ensure that university technologies respond to evolving campus needs and establish UB as a leader in IT within higher education.

· Leading Teams: Ensures current and future organizational talent needs are met by leading in recruiting, hiring, developing, coaching, and mentoring others. Creates a high-performance and team-oriented culture by planning, instructing, monitoring, guiding, and evaluating others’ job performance and by ensuring that others do so. Motivates team by actively rewarding and recognizing their efforts.

· Executing for Results: Supports continuous improvement processes, recognizing opportunities to simplify organizational processes and create efficiencies. Anticipates and ensures appropriate resources and structures are in place to support short- and long-term business goals. Creates and/or uses effective metrics to support fact-based decision-making and drive results.

University at Buffalo: An Overview

Impactful research, scholarly distinction, transformative student experiences and far-reaching service to local, state, national and international communities define UB’s mission as a premier research-intensive public university. UB was founded in 1846 as a private medical college located in downtown Buffalo. UB joined SUNY in 1962 and is, today, the largest, most comprehensive research university within the 64-campus SUNY system, and its primary center for professional education and training. UB enrolls close to 29,000 students (approximately 2/3 undergraduate and 1/3 graduate and professional students), and offers nearly 400 degree programs at the baccalaureate, master’s, professional and doctoral levels across its 12 decanal units.

UB boasts a distinguished faculty of approximately 1,550 full-time members and almost 650 part-time members. With more than 150 research centers and institutes, UB’s current annual research expenditures, including affiliated institutions, are approximately $350 million. The libraries hold 4 million volumes in seven major units and an exceptionally wide array of digital information resources.

UB is a global community of scholars, consistently ranking among the nation’s top 10-20 universities for the enrollment of international students. UB’s current international enrollment is 19% of the overall student body. The university also enjoys a strong international presence, maintaining affiliation agreements with over 80 universities in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and Africa.  The 2012-13 Times Higher Education World University Rankings listed UB in the top 200 universities worldwide, affirming UB’s stature as one of the world’s preeminent universities.

Continuing to elevate the university in excellence, impact, and stature is the guiding objective of the UB 2020 vision, and the university is actively realizing this vision by building excellence across its research, education, and engagement activities, and in the physical environment that supports this broader academic enterprise. 

The president and provost recently launched the Realizing UB 2020 initiative as the next evolution of this vision, building on the progress and momentum the university has achieved and using it as the springboard for taking the institution to the next level of excellence.  This process is focused on defining the distinctive qualities that set the university apart from its peers, and aligning these distinctive qualities to allow UB to lead with even greater impact in the 21st century.

Recognizing the key role that a vibrant 21st-century physical campus environment plays in enhancing education, research and learning, as part of the UB 2020 vision UB is implementing a long-range plan for enhancing its North, South and Downtown campus spaces and connecting them more effectively to their surrounding communities. UB’s North Campus, located in the Buffalo suburb of Amherst, is the university’s main undergraduate campus, and home to the university’s primary athletics and cultural facilities. Three miles to the south, on the northern edge of the city of Buffalo, is the university’s historical South Campus, which serves as the primary health sciences campus. UB also has a rapidly developing third campus center in downtown Buffalo. The focal point of UB’s downtown presence is the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, on which UB’s new medical school facility will be constructed in proximity to the university’s health and life science partners.

With annual revenues of almost $1.2 billion from all sources, UB and its affiliated entities generate an estimated economic impact of $1.7 billion annually in the state and region.

The university’s total workforce of almost 6,400 full-time equivalent employees makes it one of the region’s largest employers. UB is also a leader and an active partner with the more than 20 public and private colleges and universities in the Buffalo Niagara region.


President Satish K. Tripathi

Internationally recognized as an accomplished researcher and transformative higher education leader, Dr. Satish K. Tripathi was appointed the 15th president of the University at Buffalo on April 18, 2011. His vision for UB’s future focuses on moving the university into the highest ranks of the nation’s leading research universities through expanding its reach and impact locally, as well as globally.

Dr. Tripathi, who served as UB’s provost and executive vice president for academic affairs from 2004-2011, was one of the principal creators of the UB 2020 strategic plan to achieve academic research excellence, and has led the university to achieve significant growth in research and scholarly activity, enhanced student quality and diversity, and an expanded international presence.  A fellow of the IEEE and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he is an internationally distinguished scholar in the field of computer science.

Provost Charles F. Zukoski

An internationally renowned scholar in chemical engineering and a member of the National Academy of Engineering, Charles F. Zukoski was named provost and executive vice president for academic affairs on June 1, 2012. Dr. Zukoski joined UB from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he had previously served as professor and head of the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering department and as vice chancellor of research. From 2008-2011, he held the position of Chair of the Science and Engineering Research Council in Singapore. Dr. Zukoski was named one of the Hundred Chemical Engineers of the Modern Era by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

The Community

The Buffalo-Niagara region, home to 1.5 million residents, is the state’s second largest major metropolitan area, exceeded only by New York City. The region includes a diverse blend of communities, each with its own distinct personality, yet commonly characterized by a distinctly neighborly way of life, an unpretentious nature and spirited loyalty among residents. Buffalo’s own strong sense of community, easy lifestyle and affordability regularly place it in top ten lists from a variety of national publications for its overall quality of life.

Buffalo offers an impressive array of cultural and recreational opportunities uncommon for a region of its size. Buffalo’s rich cultural resources reflect its distinguished history and a commitment to sustaining the arts, including the Grammy-Award winning Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra; the world-class collection of modern painting and sculpture at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery; an extensive array of historic architectural treasures designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, H.H. Richardson, Louis Sullivan, and Eero and Eliel Saarinen; and an expansive park system, considered to be the very best work of landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted’s career. The city is home to the state’s largest concentration of theaters outside of New York City.

The Buffalo area is rich in natural resources and beauty, and Buffalo Niagara is a four-season region that offers the best for seasonal sports enthusiasts. University at Buffalo fans enjoy a full complement of NCAA division I sports with the UB Bulls, as well as the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, Triple-A baseball’s Buffalo Bisons, and the National Lacrosse League’s Buffalo Bandits.

Less than a two-hour drive from Buffalo across the United States-Canada border is Toronto, the cultural, entertainment and financial capital of Canada. Buffalo is also ideally located for easy access to many of America’s greatest cities, with New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and Washington, D.C. only an hour’s flight time from Buffalo-Niagara International Airport.

Nomination and Application Process

Candidates should submit resume/curriculum vitae to UBCIO@russellreynolds.com. Candidates should also review information about the UB 2020 initiative and the IT organization’s role available at: http://www.buffalo.edu/ub2020/about/what_is_ub_2020.html


Russell Reynolds Associates has been exclusively retained for this search. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

Eric Sigurdson                                           Jett Pihakis     
Russell Reynolds Associates                         Russell Reynolds Associates
155 North Wacker Drive                             1701 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Suite 4100                                               Suite 400
Chicago, IL  60606-5802                            Washington, DC  20006-5805            
Direct: +1-312-993-0733                            Direct: +1-202-654-7870       
eric.sigurdson@russellreynolds.com               jett.pihakis@russellreynolds.com

The University at Buffalo is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer dedicated to the goal of building a culturally diverse and pluralistic university community committed to teaching and working in a multicultural environment. Potential applicants who share this goal are encouraged to apply.