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ITS appoints interim director after sudden departure

John Kalkbrenner will serve as the Interim Director of ITS. Photo by Tela Ebersole.

On Wednesday, Sept. 24, a Special Campus Memo was sent out announcing that Information Technology Services (ITS) Director Donald Tom was no longer employed by Grinnell College.

“[Tom] led work on various high-visibility projects, including development of the forthcoming GrinnellShare intranet,” President Raynard Kington wrote in the campus email.

Vice President for College Services John Kalkbrenner will serve as Interim ITS Director until a full-time director can be hired to replace Tom.

As interim ITS Director, Kalkbrenner does not plan to make many large-scale changes.

“We have many very capable and dedicated staff in the ITS unit,” Kalkbrenner wrote in an email to The S&B. “My role is to help them coordinate their work, plan for the future and help them secure the resources they need to do their best work.”

John Kalkbrenner will serve as the Interim Director of ITS.  Photo by Tela Ebersole.
John Kalkbrenner will serve as the Interim Director of ITS.
Photo by Tela Ebersole.

Kalkbrenner was previously the ITS Director at Yale University and taught ITS Strategy Courses at its MBA Program, in addition to having served as Chief Information Officer at the University of Hartford. He has graduate degrees in Computer Science, Library Science and Management from Pace University, Southern Connecticut State University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, respectively.

Dean of the College and Vice President for Academic Affairs Michael Latham stated that the fulltime ITS Director position is responsible for leading the IT team and developing and supporting its goals.

“This requires excellent management abilities, deep knowledge of the technology itself and an ability to remain fully aware of developments in a field that changes very rapidly,” Latham wrote in an email to The S&B.

Latham is overseeing the process for finding a long term ITS Director to take over, though he has not yet finalized the hiring process. Additionally, when asked about Tom’s departure, Latham did not comment on the issue.

“We certainly will seek to provide leadership for ITS that promotes innovation in teaching and research; the delivery of outstanding services for students, faculty and staff; and the support for the multiple large-scale users of technology at the college,” Latham wrote. “That requires that we create a process that involves consultation with experts in this field, as well as the many important technology users.”

Kalkbrenner expects that any changes he implements as interim ITS director will not greatly affect Grinnell students’ experiences with technology.

“I do not expect students to experience much change, other than the new faces that they may see as we fill open positions,” Kalkbrenner wrote.

Latham and Kalkbrenner will continue their work to put together a full ITS staff and to find a new full time director. An announcement will be made when a new ITS director is appointed.

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