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News and Updates

40 years of collaboration. 10 years as an organization. 1 year in review. 2014-2015 highlights from Canada’s voice on higher ed IT

As part of CANHEIT 2015 at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, CUCCIO hosted its 2014-2015 Annual General Meeting on June 17. Here is a recap of where CUCCIO has been, and where it’s headed.

A vision for increased relevance and support for the sector: the President’s report

CUCCIO President and CIO at Simon Fraser University, Mark Roman, kicked-off this year’s AGM with the idea that the CUCCIO membership’s discussions should no longer be focused on how CUCCIO might play a role in the Canadian higher ed landscape – but rather on how CUCCIO will play a role, and what that role should look like.

Mark spoke about CUCCIO’s clear vision of supporting and advancing IT in Canadian higher ed, meaning:

  • Advancing best practices, sharing ideas and celebrating successes
  • Growing and sustaining relationships with the full ecosystem of higher ed organizations that support universities
  • Supporting the growth of leadership talent in Canadian higher ed
  • Increasing collaboration and shared services
  • Prudently managing the CUCCIO resource pool while maintaining full transparency

As an organization, Mark said, this means shifting away from a more operational role (like those of CANARIE or BCNET) and toward more of a support role (similar to that which EDUCAUSE has assumed). He sees CUCCIO’s purpose as being to serve as the facilitator of a nationwide conversation on a wide variety of issues, including:

  • Cloud computing
  • Security and compliance
  • IT as a contributor / partner in helping institutions achieve educational, academic, research objectives
  • Convergence of key technologies
  • Benchmarking and metrics
  • Client services
  • CIOs becoming business strategists

Mark also sees CUCCIO’s role playing out not only nationally, but internationally as well, helping to shape and inform conversations taking place within Canada, as well as into the United States and abroad.

A strong foundation to build upon: the Executive Director’s report

Next year marks a decade since CUCCIO was incorporated as a national association.

Since 1996, the organization has grown and matured across a number of fronts – now representing about three-quarters of Canadian post-secondary institutions (57 member institutions in total), which together represent 95 per cent of the Canada’s total PSE student population.

CUCCIO Executive Director, Lori MacMullen, explained that despite not having 100% participation, CUCCIO’s membership represents the broader Canadian landscape, in terms of the size, geographic spread and various types of institutions. This includes smaller liberal arts universities, as well as the largest, research-based institutions in the country. Since its inception, attendance at CUCCIO member meetings has remained steady, attracting an average of approximately 35 to 40 member institutions to each meeting. The diversity of the membership and attendance at each meeting allows CUCCIO to identify and address issues of common interest to the sector.

Member satisfaction with the association remains high, Lori continued, with the in-person connections at member meetings continually named the most valuable aspect of membership.  CUCCIO member meetings provide all members the opportunity to meet with, learn from and share experiences with colleagues from across the country on a regular basis. And the sharing continues between meetings, with questions posed to the members’ listserv, access to the Executive Director and participation on specific projects and initiatives. These tools, along with a willing and engaged membership, demonstrate the collaborative spirit of the association.

Looking ahead, Lori explained, CUCCIO aims to deliver additional value by focusing on the following priorities:

  • Ensuring members continue to engage, at and between meetings
  • Supporting CANHEIT as the only national conference for higher ed IT professionals
  • Celebrating the sector and its successes with the CUCCIO Awards
  • Acting as the national voice on higher ed IT
  • Facilitating discussions and pursuing possible solutions to advancing collaborative sector-wide services

For more information on CUCCIO’s outcomes from 2014-2015 or its plans for the coming year, please contact Lori directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Members are also encouraged to access CUCCIO’s full 2015-2016 Operational Plan through the Member Portal at

Renewed leadership. The same spirit.

This year’s AGM also saw CUCCIO celebrate the service of a number of longstanding members of its Board of Directors, while also welcoming new members to the table.

A warm thank you goes out to the following outgoing CUCCIO directors:

  • Bob Gagne (York University)
  • Blair Vessey (UPEI)
  • Richard Labrie (École Polytechnique de Montréal)
  • Mike Battistel (Athabasca U)
  • Rebecca Graham (U of Guelph)
  • Mike Langedock (U of Manitoba)
  • Trevor Woods (U of Alberta)

A warm welcome to the new Board members:

  • Richard Lacombe (HEC Montreal)
  • Bala Kathiresan (U of Windsor)
  • Greg Condon (U of Northern British Columbia)
  • Dana Sanderson (UPEI)
  • Bo Wandschneider (Queen's U)
  • Francois Coallier (École de technologie supérieure)
  • Michael Barr (Mount Royal U)
  • Brian Stewart (U of Alberta)

CUCCIO would also like to thank our continuing Board members, Ghilaine Roquet (McGill U), Paul Bignell (U of Ontario Institute of Technology), Tariq Al-Idrissi (Trent U), Art Exner (U of Regina), Terry Nikkel (U of New Brunswick) and Mark Roman (Simon Fraser U).

The bottom line: financial report

CUCCIO continues to manage its financial resources prudently. With annual revenues of a little over $300,000, the organization has been able to meet its operational needs, while also investing in a small number of priority projects and accumulating a small unallocated surplus. Although 2014-2015 resulted in a small deficit, of less than $5,000, and 2015-2016 has a projected deficit of $22,000, the prudent management practices of the past will allow the organization to cover these deficits, while simultaneously continuing to invest in a small number of priority projects.

For more information, full copies of this year’s audited financial statements are available through the Member Portal at

Looking to get involved? Try a Special Interest Group

Are you or one of your team members looking to get more involved with CUCCIO? Not sure where to start?

Special Interest Groups (or SIGs) are one of the CUCCIO-supported mechanisms aimed at building community among our members and within specific communities of interest.

Some SIGs are initiated simply to share information or best practices via a listserv (as is the case with our Teaching and Learning Technologies SIG), while others are slightly more proactive in addressing shared challenges through monthly conference calls and face-to-face meetings (as is the Security SIG’s model).

SIGs typically self-form and, over time, develop their structure and processes to best suit their needs, including the selection of a chair (or co-chairs) or information moderators who will coordinate the group’s activities, including facilitating discussions and defining desired outcomes and potential deliverables.

There are currently a number of CUCCIO SIGs in various states of operation, including:

  • Security
  • Teaching & Learning Technologies
  • Portfolio and Project Management
  • Portals and Portal Technologies
  • Business Analysis
  • Disaster Recovery

Over the next few months, additional SIGs (or “communities of practice”) will be established along functional lines (such as Network Services, Client Services, Web Services and Research Computing). Participation in SIGs is open to any employee of a member university.

For more information, visit the SIG webpage or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..