IE11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

Tech Leaders Preview Annual Conference: ‘Resilient, Rising & Reinspired’

Two chief information officers and a program manager from the University of California teamed up on a podcast to discuss the three-day UC Tech 2023 conference set for July.

Tech leaders from the University of California system teamed up last week on a podcast to talk about trends, challenges and the future of education technology. The hook is that they’re all working toward UC Tech 2023, an annual conference set for July 17-19 that’s been around for 40 years and encompasses UC’s 10 campuses.

Van Williams.
Van Williams
Offering their insights were Van Williams, UC’s chief information officer and vice president for IT; Joe Bengfort, the CIO of UC San Francisco Medical Center and campus; and Faye Snowden, manager of the Technology Program Office at UC Berkeley. Hosting the podcast was Miguel Rodriguez, educational technology analyst at UC San Diego. Some key takeaways:
  • “UC Tech is not just a conference; it’s a community,” Williams said. “And when we think about that community, it’s a community of people that are not just IT professionals; it’s a community of people that are embedded within business units because increasingly, technology has gone well outside of the IT department. It’s also a community of people that are outside of even professional employees. It’s students, it’s folks that have aspirations to become technologists. … This is one of the most amazing places in the world, and we want UC Tech to be the home to allow our amazing employees to really realize their dreams and be a big part of helping them to move on to their next steps in their career.”
  • Collaboration, even through happenstance, is an important catalyst for technologists. “The UC health CIOs and CTOs and application directors get together quite frequently over the course of the year,” Bengfort said, “and we just see that (collaboration) happening over and over.” He also noted the broader perspective that the conference brings to those working on different campuses and in different sectors: “I’ve gone to this (conference) for several years in a row, and every year I just get this sense of gratitude for the community I’m a part of that is just bigger than … I mean, UC SF is a big deal and there’s a lot of great things that happened, but when you open the aperture and you start to see everything that’s happening in the different parts of the institution, it really reinforces a sense of purpose for me. And so it reminds (me) why I’m banging my head against the wall on all these problems every day. It really helps to just inspire me. … Certainly at UC Tech, you get exposed to people working on similar problems, even in different parts of the mission, that you can leverage. Last year … there was a lot going on with megapixel and analytics on websites and all of that business. And not only did I get information from other campuses and how they were approaching it, we were doing a lot that I could share.”
  • Snowden put the theme of this year’s conference — “Resilient, Rising & Reinspired” — in the context of how UC’s technologists, educators and students handled the emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic and the changes it wrought on education: “This year’s theme for UC Tech is going to allow us to sit back and think about everything that we’ve been through, the resilience and the fact that we’ve come through that. And some of us didn’t make it, but the people that did, we’ve come through that and now we’re starting to rise, use the strength that we gained during those hard times to rise, and also be inspired or reinspired or whatever we want to call it, to even reaching new heights. There’s no telling what we can do now.”
  • Snowden added: “On a macro level, I feel that’s what our higher education institutions did. We had virtual classrooms, virtual remote work, and all this technology up and running to support this new world in a metaphorical weekend. So that’s what I feel — that this theme allows us to reflect on that and to also honor our own strength and where we’ve been, and to even go further.”

The conference will be presented from 8 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. all three days in person at UC Berkeley, and virtually. Registration and other details can be found online. A transcript of the podcast is also available online.
Dennis Noone is Executive Editor of Industry Insider. He is a career journalist, having worked at small-town newspapers and major metropolitan dailies including USA Today in Washington, D.C.