The finalists are:
- Keith Fowlkes, Chief Information Officer, Centre College
- Werner Gade, Assistant Vice Chancellor IT and CIO, University of Wisconsin Colleges and University of Wisconsin Extension
- Michael Mathews, Associate Vice President of Technology and Innovation, Oral Roberts University
About the Finalists
Keith Fowlkes is nominated for his vision and leadership, which led to the formation of the Higher Education Systems and Services (HESS) Consortium. The HESS Consortium is focused on collectively lowering costs and increasing collaboration among private colleges and universities in the area of administrative systems and services. Today the consortium includes 85 member institutions and is positioned to change how institutions evaluate and purchase ERP and ancillary systems.
Keith serves as the HESS Consortium’s vice president and is responsible for the communication and relationship management of software partners, organization of vendor cohort groups, vendor agreement negotiations, and promotion of the consortium and its services to its membership.
Keith is recognized among his peers for his leadership and experience with ERP systems in higher education technology. He is described as humble, quick to recognize and praise the work of others and not wanting to be in the spotlight. Keith has been a driving force, leading and guiding the HESS Consortium forward.
Werner Gade is nominated for his leadership among his fellow campus CIOs and for improving collaboration and strategic planning among the various University of Wisconsin System institutions. Werner has been instrumental in coordinating the direction and efforts of other campus CIOs and has led the initiative to centralize and standardize IT services across the 13 campuses of the University of Wisconsin Colleges.
Werner leads the University of Wisconsin System’s Council of Chief Information Officers (CIO Council) and is a strong partner to the overall CIO for the University of Wisconsin System, coordinating the direction and efforts of the campus CIOs and their IT resources. Through Werner's leadership, the CIO Council is evolving to be a strategic partner with the System’s President.
Werner is recognized by his peers as a leader through his extensive knowledge and skillful use of soft power and persuasion, which has led, for the first time, to the University of Wisconsin System having a set of IT goals not developed by a consultant nor written by the system office.
Michael Mathews is nominated for his commitment to the advancement of technology and leadership that transformed the IT organization and built national credibility for Oral Roberts University. Mike led the creation of ORU’s “OneCampus” Global Education Network and the Global Learning Center. ORU’s OneCampus Global Education Network was created to revamp the internal processes of technology systems and to infuse the university culture with innovation. It uses fresh paradigms in the design and delivery of support mechanisms to recruit, train, and retain global students.
Led by Mike, the Global Learning Center has an open architecture to provide flexibility in how students and professors use the space. It has three stories of classrooms, production studios, a virtual and augmented reality room, offices, a performance hall, and conference rooms. The center uses video recordings, along with virtual and augmented reality, to increase the university's global reach.
Mike is recognized by his peers as a proven leader who shows commitment to the advancement of technology in education. He has a strong acumen for education, business, and staff development. Those who have worked closely with him state that Mike has a gift for determining each individual’s strengths and that he encourages them to pursue challenging short- and long-term goals.