June 20, 2017 marks the 10th MOR Leaders Conference.

We began holding annual conferences 10 years ago at the request of MOR Leadership Program alumni who expressed a desire to get together again to learn more, to reconnect with their colleagues and meet new ones, to share how their experiences in the program have shaped their work, and perhaps have some fun. Since beginning these conferences in 2008, we’ve held six in-person conferences and four, including the 2017 conference, virtually.

Over the years, as the pace of change has accelerated, we have shifted from a primary focus on individual development for its own sake to a focus on individual development with a specific purpose: moving the organization to action, helping build a broad leadership community, and getting people talking and working together on a desired future state for their organization. For example, in 2015 the focus was on creating adaptive organizations that can absorb the rapid pace of change in technology and deliver new services and applications made possible by those technologies.

In 2016 we continued this theme and urged campus IT leaders to improve partnerships, align strategies, and deliver IT services in a more effective coordinated manner. We suggested that each campus address two questions: How could all of the stakeholders at your university re-imagine how the IT community could work together to better leverage their resources to provide a more integrated set of services? And, if you were creating a new IT organization today, how would you design it?

This year, we continue with this same general theme focusing our attention on Re-Imagining IT – Continuing the Journey. MOR Associates sees the context shifting significantly for higher ed IT and believes leaders need to get on the balcony to determine the implications of these external trends. As a result, we will focus first on the rapidly evolving external environment. This includes four primary drivers impacting universities and their IT organizations: Economics (e.g., rising tuition, decreasing federal/state appropriations, and total loans of college graduates), technology, commoditization, and security. And, second, setting a course for re-imagining IT at your university. What might this mean for IT at your university? MOR wants to foster a national dialogue on the IT’s changing role in higher education and ensure your university isn’t blind sided by the shifting landscape. After hearing what several universities have begun to do, attendees will have an opportunity to begin to visualize what could happen on their respective campuses.

Thank you for joining us for the 2017 MOR Leaders Conference.
Conference runs for four hours on Tuesday, June 20, 2017: 12-5 ET, 11-4 CT, 10-3 MT, 9-2 PT.

Some recommended reading "Simplifying IT to Accelerate Digital Transformation" by by Michael Grebe, Sabine Döschl, Christian N. Schmid, and Jonathan Koopmans, bcg.perspectives, April 18, 2016


I. Welcome and Introduction

This Conference is an opportunity for you and your colleagues to look ahead at the direction IT needs to move in and to explore how IT could evolve toward a shared view of the future.


• To continue to engage you individually and collectively in pursuing the strategies you and your IT community need to develop to renew your value proposition(s).
• To acknowledge the forces and trends we see shaping IT or even potentially disrupting IT in higher education.
• To implore you and your colleagues to explore what is happening in other IT organizations so that you continue to stretch and are proactive in “Re-Imagining IT” at your university.


• This conference is an opportunity for you and your colleagues to look ahead at the direction IT needs to take and to explore how your IT community could evolve toward a shared view of the future.
• MOR believes IT in higher education is at an inflection joint. We believe it is important to continue the exploration we began at last year’s conference regarding the future of IT in higher education. After all, a lot is riding on whether this is a sea-change or simply the next iteration for IT.
• Outline a strategic framework that will serve as a backdrop to this exploration.

II. Focusing on the context as the external environment evolves:

• Focusing on the context as the external environment evolves.

• Hear remarks from a number of university leaders describing the changes they see and their perception of the nature of these changes, whether incremental or disruptive.

• What is happening at your university: Incremental, modest change? Evolutionary, significant? Disruptive, dramatic? What are the implications for your university?

• Reports from several campuses.

III. Setting a course Re-Imagining IT @ Your University: 

• What does all this mean for your IT community? (Reports from several campuses.)

• Campus discussions, beginning with I-time, a go-around, and table discussions, focusing on how the leadership community at your university could lead/influence the Re-Imagining of IT. What are you currently doing? What does IT need to do to become much more of a strategic asset supporting the mission-critical work of the university?

• Identify several practical next steps including the what, the who, and the when.

• Reports from several campuses.

IV. Leading–Managing–Doing: 

• Given the way the landscape is shifting, how important is leading–strategizing–positioning for all levels of your organization? How important is it to ensure staff are prepared for the future (and not just for the past)? And, thinking about L/M/D, are you leading or have you slipped back?

• Strategic thinking at the local level: Where is your organization’s work going? Where is the technology leading you? What talent do you need for the future? What will you do to provide leadership for your group?

V. Closing Remarks: 

• Encouragement for each individual to work to move your organization forward.

• Adjourn – We want to hear about your progress in the coming year.


VI. Local Debrief: 

• Structured facilitation time for local attendees to debrief the conference, align on actions and next steps.