UI's Urbana campus chooses interim CIO

UI's Urbana campus chooses interim CIO

CHAMPAIGN — The University of Illinois has named a retired assistant dean to serve as interim chief information officer of the Urbana campus for at least a year.

Paul Hixson — who retired in August 2010 as assistant dean and director of information technology and communication services for the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences — will fill the position held by Sally Jackson, who resigned in April. Hixson will earn $200,000 annually.

Hixson's appointment is expected to last at least a year, in part so he can oversee the campus' transition to a unified communications system, officials said.

Jackson, who had held the position since May 2007, left in protest of administrative changes that she believed would harm the campus' global leadership in information technology. She remains at the UI a professor of communication and an associate provost.

Jackson and the chief information officers at the Springfield and Chicago campuses had been instructed to report to a new university-level CIO rather than their respective provosts. Central administrators said the new position will better coordinate IT operations — and ultimately save money — and won't threaten academic autonomy. But campus officials feared that the change could turn IT into a "back-office" function rather than an integral part of learning and research.

Hixson was selected by Richard Wheeler, interim vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost, and Michael Hites, the university's new executive chief information officer.

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UIUCHoopFan wrote on June 09, 2011 at 4:06 pm

So I'm thinking Hixson got a lovely parting check as part of the buyout program and now is lured back into a year of service for $200K. Nice gig when you can get it.

Always money to use at the top....no trickle down at UIUC!

Sandy wrote on June 09, 2011 at 5:06 pm

He will be doing work and earning a salary for that work. Even if he's clearing retirement money, he's not making any "extra" money -- he will have earned all of it. It is hard to believe that they had to drag someone out of retirement for this job, though, unless current employees have stronger objections to the sorts of decisions that made the previous director leave.

rabblerouser wrote on June 09, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Hixon is actually is one of the bright spots in IT leadership on campus. If you want value for your cynicism regarding high level positions at UIUC, ask why Jackson is still being paid.