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News Clips 10/21/2013
Florida Poly's New Chief Information Officer Has Big Ideas
Source: Lakeland Ledger, 10/21/13
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By Mary Toothman
Florida Polytechnic University leaders want the new school to have impressive technology in place when it opens next fall, and they recently hired someone they feel can make sure that happens.
Tom Hull, 50, is now on board as the 12th university's chief information officer. He joined the polytechnic about a month ago, coming from Pace University in New York.
Ava Parker, interim chief executive officer of the university, said he was the best candidate because of his business and academic experience. "Tom worked in private industry, and he has served as the chief information officer at several universities," she said. He has a lot of experience in online course development and implementation, she said.
His compensation is $140,000 a year.
"Tom will help the university achieve its goal of building a cutting-edge technology university," Parker said. "I believe that he will build upon and expand the foundation that was planned for the curriculum and delivery methods. He is aware of the advanced technology landscape, and he is working with our faculty to develop the tools that will give our students the option to learn and grow and be leaders in the high-tech job market."
During a phone interview, Hull said he's already loving the new position. He worked remotely some before settling in to his new office digs in Lakeland. "I couldn't be any more excited," he said. "I am making a major change justified by the potential of this university, and the opportunity that exists here — especially based on the location."
He said he believes that the university's under-construction inaugural building, designed by Santiago Calatrava, will draw quite a bit of attention — and lots of students.
The new university is slated to open in August 2014, and Hull is tasked with planning and implementation of all things IT — the student information system, the main campus system, admissions programs, payment card systems and the student portal, for starters. "It's a huge job," he said.
But building from the ground up is appealing, he said. "That's part of the attractiveness of this position," he said.
And being a part of the university from the start is exciting, he said. He's thinking big thoughts about the polytechnic. "We should make this as big as we possibly can from a branding perspective," he said. "We are building a Silicon Valley of the East Coast."
Known for the heavy presence of high-tech businesses in the area, Silicon Valley is the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area in northern California. It's named for the large number of silicon chip manufacturers in the area.
Parker said it's great that Hull has big ideas. "It is very reasonable to believe that Florida Poly will grow and be a first-class university," she said. "We have a clean slate, and a much better understanding of how fast
"We are building a university that is nimble, and it will be able to adapt to a changing environment. As legacy universities grow, they have to change and undo old systems in order to be competitive. Florida Poly will start with state-of-the-art tools and a platform that supports change."
Hull said he wouldn't miss it. "This is the most unique thing that's happening in the United States," he said. "There is nothing that compares to this."
The polytechnic, Parker said, more than appreciates having a key hire with that attitude. "He is a proven, visionary leader," she said. "He has been here for less than a month, and we can see the benefits of having his point of view as a part of the planning and implementation process. He is a great asset, and we are delighted to have him as a part of our team."