College/Strategic Partner to design for Poverty-Free Future
Doing what’s best for clients is what motivates CampusWorks.
Since 1999, the firm has delivered unmatched leadership expertise to colleges and universities of all shapes and sizes to increase institutional effectiveness and enhance the student experience. Its relentless drive to solve deep, systemic challenges and create the conditions required for lasting change has earned CampusWorks a reputation for being bold – something that made Dallas College take notice during its search for a strategic partner.
When college leadership set the audacious goal of eradicating poverty in the region, Chief Innovation Officer Tim Marshall knew significant transformation was on the horizon. Overtime that came into focus: seven individually accredited institutions would need to be consolidated, groundwork for the adoption of a single enterprise technology platform established, and a shared vision of the ideal student experience created. As it embarked on this journey, Dallas College knew that having an independent perspective at the helm would be key to its long-term success. Having found a unique synergy with CampusWorks, the firm was engaged. “There’s a reason why they’re called CampusWorks,” Tim Marshall, Chief Innovation Officer for the College, reports, “the name is very appropriate.”
“Our ambition was to uplift the community, which is different from the aims of a lot of other colleges,” continues Marshall. Attentively digging in, CampusWorks set about aligning the College’s people, processes, information, and technology in preparation for the future, but Chief Executive Officer and Board Chair Liz Murphy confirms her team’s work went deeper, “while we used our standard methodologies, we had the blessing of the chancellor and leadership team to really push the organization to think completely differently about how they would operate as a single institution.” Exploring beyond stated needs and desired outcomes CampusWorks’ student-centric approach was critical to helping faculty and staff identify and embrace the possibilities created by change.
One such possibility was creating the nation’s first career connected learner network. “We coined the term ‘enroll in a job’, because that’s what students really need and want,” says Marshall. “Our mission and our vision, our goals and objectives, are all about moving students into jobs. When CampusWorks came in and created cross-functional teams to investigate the new environment, discussions became less about functions as opposed to how it enabled interesting approaches to the students.”
With that network in place, Dallas College is helping students connect learning to living wages and sustainable careers - moving the College one step closer to reaching its goal of ending systemic poverty in the region. “Colleges and universities have a profound ability to make real change,” says Murphy. The CampusWorks CEO believes Dallas College has set the bar high, but she reports seeing an uptick in the number of institutions setting similarly ambitious goals. She says her team routinely advises clients to “begin with the end in mind” and to have “a really clear sense of the impact they want to make”.
Murphy encourages today’s higher education leaders to think about the ripple-effect they wish to have because it’s not about “where your pebble drops, but where the ripple goes when it reaches the shore – what is it that you’re changing in the world?”
How innovation is transforming government
According to Washington Technology’s Top 100 list, Leidos is the largest IT provider to the government. But as Lieutenant General William J. Bender explains, “that barely scratches the surface” of the company’s portfolio and drive for innovation.
Bender, who spent three and a half decades in the military, including a stint as the U.S. Air Force’s Chief Information Officer (CIO), has seen action in the field and in technology during that time, and it runs in the family. Bender’s son is an F-16 instructor pilot. So it stands to reason Bender Senior intends to ensure a thriving technological base for the U.S. Air Force. “What we’re really doing here is transforming the federal government from the industrial age into the information age and doing it hand-in-hand with industry,” he says.
The significant changes that have taken place in the wider technology world are precisely the capabilities Leidos is trying to pilot the U.S. Air Force through. It boils down to developing cyberspace as a new domain of battle, globally connected and constantly challenged by the threat of cybersecurity attacks.
“We recognize the importance of the U.S. Air Force’s missions,” says Bender, “and making sure they achieve those missions. We sit side-by-side with the air combat command, intelligence surveillance, and reconnaissance infrastructure across the Air Force. There are multiple large programs where the Air Force is partnering with Leidos to ensure their mission is successfully accomplished 24/7/365. In this company, we’re all in on making sure there’s no drop in capability.”
That partnership relies on a shared understanding of delivering successful national security outcomes, really understanding the mission at hand, and Leidos’ long-standing relationship of over 50 years with the federal government.
To look at where technology is going, Bender thinks it is important to look back at the last 10 to 15 years. “What we’ve seen is a complete shift in how technology gets developed,” he says. “It used to be that the government invested aggressively in research and development, and some of those technologies, once they were launched in a military context, would find their way into the commercial space. That has shifted almost a hundred percent now, where the bulk of the research and development dollars and the development of tech-explicit technologies takes place in the commercial sector.”
“There’s a long-standing desire to adopt commercial technology into defense applications, but it’s had a hard time crossing the ‘valley of death’ [government slang for commercial technologies and partnerships that fail to effectively transition into government missions]. Increasingly we’re able to do that. We need to look at open architectures and open systems for a true plug-and-play capability. Instead of buying it now and trying to guess what it’s going to be used for 12 years from now, it should be evolving iteratively.”