Timothy Marshall

Timothy Marshall

Chief Innovation Officer at Dallas College

Timothy J. Marshall, Chief Innovation Officer at Dallas College, discusses its implementation of technologies including blockchain and cloud...

Timothy J. Marshall is Chief Innovation Officer at Dallas College, an educational institution which teaches over 80,000 students per term. It’s a role that involves more than just managing technology. “I'm involved with our college’s strategic partnerships with local workforce providers. Dallas is the home of many Fortune 500 Headquarters - in particular American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, AT&T and Texas Instruments. We have relationships with those organizations to help train their students, and we also work a lot with local service agencies. Many of our students are below the poverty line, so we help them with access to healthcare, food and transportation. We've created a lot of programs that use technology to provide those things - for instance, all of our students now get a free bus and local light rail transportation pass.”

Marshall oversees a staff of around 290 people, and emphasizes that technology is in service of a greater goal. “Our team is working on things like infrastructure or databases or ERP systems. But we have to make sure we're not just doing technology for technology's sake. That’s why we have very specific goals for the institution with regards to student services and student success.”

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has naturally impacted the organization, as it has with essentially all centers of education worldwide. In this case, it’s brought a number of projects to the front of the line. “One of them is changing from seven separate colleges into one college, with seven campuses. Up until March of this year, each one of those colleges ran their own IT shops. When we all came together and we were all working remotely, it was rather apparent that we should immediately centralize - as opposed to waiting for a year or two.”

With years of experience managing global teams in consulting firms, Marshall is confident in the efficacy of remote working, provided the technology is in place to support it. “We’ve had to condition a lot of software products so that they make sense for everybody. Virtual white boarding for agile development, for instance. I don't have that physical presence now, so we've become much more project oriented than we were in the past.” 

Going forwards, Marshall sees that remote trend replicated in the College’s infrastructure. “We are moving on from being a department that was primarily responsible for very physical, tangible assets within our data center. When March hit, I took a long look at our data center health. In the last year, we've had a fire, a flood and a gas leak in our data center. So I decided we're going to data center-as-a-service.” The College, then, is using the opportunity to modernize its technology for the benefit of students. “We’re migrating the services and applications that we have to a cloud infrastructure,” says Marshall. “That’s why we’ve renamed our infrastructure team to cloud and infrastructure.”

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