LAS VEGAS, N.M. – New Mexico Highlands can be at the forefront of making technology more efficient for the state’s colleges and universities, according to the university’s new director of information technology.
“To me, higher education is paramount,” said Joe Gieri, who became Highlands’ director of information technology in January. “We have to have a strong higher education system in New Mexico to grow our economy, and technology will play a critical part in that.”
Gieri said technology in higher education is often thought of in terms of administrative processes, but will continue to grow more valuable for academics.
“If we look at the administrative processes that rely on technology – data, connectivity and communication – it’s mission critical in running an institution,” Gieri said. “But there are a number of technologies that feed into the classroom. How education works today isn’t always brick and mortar.”
Gieri has more than 30 years of information technology experience in the public and private sector, including the past 12 years as the executive director of the Office of Information Technology Services at Central New Mexico Community College.
“Joe’s experience and reputation is known across the state,” said Highlands’ vice president of finance and administration, Max Baca. “He is known as a leader in the field, and we’re glad to have him at Highlands.”
Gieri said by collaborating with other institutions in New Mexico, information technology departments can find ways of making technology more efficient at a better cost.”
Gieri said all universities in New Mexico use the Banner system – software applications developed for universities to maintain student, financial, personnel and other data – and most university’s IT departments spend their time ensuring systems like Banner keep running.
“Statewide, we all feel like we need more staff,” Gieri said. “But what if there’s a data center that runs Banner for all institutions? If you have a team of people who were trained to operate the system, it’s cheaper and you’re keeping dollars in state, and IT departments can refocus to meet other demands for their institutions.”
Gieri said his goals for his first year at Highlands is to work with the offices of Academic Affairs and Strategic Enrollment Management to implement technological solutions to improve data and communications. Additionally, Gieri said his plan are to correct deficiencies in the university’s current systems and better utilize the institution’s existing technology.
“I want to look at new technology and technology we have at our fingertips,” Gieri said. “At the core, we have to be strong. That to me is a given.”