Digital Transformation (CIO/IT), Education, Higher Education

Chief Information Officer

  • Furman University
  • Greenville, SC

This position has been filled.

Furman University is seeking a collaborative leader with expert technical knowledge and strength in setting strategic vision, leading, managing, and developing a team, communicating and implementing change, and managing large-scale projects to be the next Chief Information Officer (CIO). Reporting to the Vice President for Finance and Administration, the successful candidate will assist the University in accomplishing its goals and objectives by bringing a collaborative, creative, and solution-oriented approach to leadership.

About Furman University

Furman University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities, offering degree-granting programs, professional certifications, and enrichment programs that meet the needs of the broader community. The core of the educational experience is the residential undergraduate program, in which approximately 2500 students are enrolled. The program is characterized by the engagement of students in internships, faculty-mentored research, and study away from campus. The University’s commitment to housing all students on campus for four years underscores a commitment to a close-knit student body and seamless connection among their academic, social, and co-curricular lives that enhance scholarly activity, personal growth, and leadership development.

Founded in 1826, Furman is South Carolina’s oldest private university, distinguished by modern, sophisticated academic buildings that are complemented by comprehensive NCAA Division I athletics, recreational, and social facilities. The Furman Libraries, as the intellectual center of the campus, provide a collection of more than one million resources, including books, e-books, journals, films, music, images, and electronic databases.

The University’s vision, The Furman Advantage, promises students an individualized four-year pathway facilitated by a team of mentors and infused with a rich and varied set of high-impact experiences outside the classroom that include undergraduate research, study away, internships, community-focused learning, and opportunities to engage across differences.

Furman alumni have gone on to become governors, state attorneys general, members of Congress, and military leaders; they have received appointments by Presidents of both parties to important executive and cabinet positions; they have become CEOs of publicly traded companies and have distinguished themselves as educators, physicians, attorneys, musicians, athletes, and leaders of nonprofit organizations. The vast majority of Furman alumni are extremely loyal, with more than 70 percent giving in the last capital campaign.

Furman is based in the city of Greenville, which has experienced a cultural and economic renaissance, making it one of the nation’s best places to live. Its downtown is a major destination for business and tourism and businesses in the greater Greenville area provide a variety of internships, research, volunteer, and career opportunities for Furman students and graduates. Within close reach of the Appalachian Mountains and the Atlantic beaches, the area abounds with recreational and outdoor activities and direct flights by major airlines from Greenville-Spartanburg International airport are just 35 minutes from the Furman campus.

Learn more about Furman University here.

Greenville, South Carolina

An award-winning city of innovation and development, the Greenville metropolitan area is the largest in South Carolina. Nationally recognized for our urban development, sustainability, beauty, food and campus, Greenville continues to top lists of destinations to visit. The region is host to 460 international firms from 34 different countries with Fortune 500 companies like BMW, General Electric and Michelin leading the way. With several hundred restaurants, music, theater and arts venues, Greenville has gained recognition in various national publications such as CNN Money, which ranked Greenville as one of the “Top 10 Fastest Growing Cities in the U.S.” Bloomberg named Greenville the 3rd Strongest Job Market, and Forbes named Greenville the 13th Best City for Young Professionals. With its convenient Southeast location, Greenville’s bustling downtown is a short drive from the Blue Ridge Mountains, beaches, other small towns, and major cities.

Campus Leadership

Elizabeth Davis became Furman University’s 12th President on July 1, 2014. Under her leadership, the University has instituted The Furman Advantage, a distinctive vision for higher education that combines learning with immersive experiences outside the classroom, creating a personalized pathway that prepares students for lives of purpose, successful careers, and community benefit. The groundbreaking effort was launched in October 2016 with a $47 million grant from The Duke Endowment.

In September 2018, the National Society of Experiential Education recognized President Davis’ efforts to launch The Furman Advantage by selecting her as the recipient of the William M. Burke Presidential Award for Excellence in Experiential Education. The annual award recognizes a sitting college president who has made “significant contributions to experiential education.”

President Davis is a member of the Council of Presidents, an advisory group of college and university chief executives who provide guidance to the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges on issues of governance in higher education. She is also a member of the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) Board of Directors.

Dr. Davis serves on the Board of Directors of the Greenville Chamber of Commerce and is an honorary member of the Board of Governors of the Commerce Club. She is a member of the Greenville Rotary Club, American Council on Education’s Women’s Network Executive Committee, and the South Carolina Higher Education Tuition Grants Commission. She has been recognized by Greenville Business Magazine as one of Greenville’s “50 Most Influential People.”

Dr. Davis has addressed numerous organizations in the Upstate since arriving at Furman, and she has also spoken throughout the U.S. on issues involving higher education, university leadership and financial management. She has been quoted in national media, written op-eds for The Greenville News, University Business, and other publications, and done many interviews on radio and television on the subject of higher education.

Before coming to Furman, Dr. Davis spent 22 years at Baylor University in Texas, where she most recently held the position of Executive Vice President and Provost. In addition to being a member of the accounting faculty at Baylor, she also served as Vice Provost for Financial and Academic Administration, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Business Programs, and Acting Chair of the Department of Accounting and Business Law. Before beginning her higher education career, she spent three years at Arthur Andersen & Co. in New Orleans.

Dr. Davis received her Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Baylor in 1984 and earned her Ph.D. from Duke University in 1992. She and her husband, Charles, have two children, Chad, and Claire.

Susan A. Maddux joined Furman University as Vice President for Finance and Administration in November 2018. She came to Furman from Presbyterian College, where she had served as Vice President for Finance and Administration and Chief Financial Officer since 2013.

As Furman’s Chief Financial and Administrative Officer, Maddux oversees all financial planning and execution, accounting operations, debt management and the endowment, as well as the departments of Budget and Resource Management, Facilities and Campus Services, Human Resources, and Information Technology.

Before joining Presbyterian College, Maddux spent 19 years in the finance and administration office at Converse College. She initially served the college as Controller (1994-2005), and then as Vice President for Finance and Administration and Chief Financial Officer (2005-2013).

Prior to her career in higher education, Maddux worked as a certified public accountant at Ernst & Young in Spartanburg (1991-1994). She is a graduate of Converse College and received a Master of Professional Accountancy from Clemson University.

Maddux serves on the board of the National Association of College and University Business Officers and as the President of the Southern Association of College and University Business Officers. She is a volunteer coach with the Special Olympics, as well as a member of the audit committee at Spartanburg Day School.

The Opportunity

As the University’s senior information technology leader, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) provides vision and leadership in shaping and implementing IT plans and strategies to support the mission and goals of the University. Priorities include support for the teaching activities of faculty and students, and ongoing development, enhancement and delivery of IT applications and technology infrastructure. The CIO provides leadership for academic technology, administrative information services, telecommunications, desktop support services, network and system operations, IPTV, videoconferencing, and student computing.

The CIO will play a key collaborative and supportive role in advancing the University’s strategic vision, The Furman Advantage, the University’s promise to provide every student an individualized four-year pathway that integrates outstanding academics, engaged learning, enhanced mentoring and advising, and reflection to prepare graduates for meaningful and successful lives and careers. The University recently implemented a new Enterprise Resource Planning system, Workday.

The CIO reports to the Vice President (VP) for Finance and Administration, and provides comprehensive, strategic leadership for information technology at Furman University. The CIO will lead and develop a diverse team of approximately 32 staff and manage an annual budget of approximately $6M.

The Chief Information Officer is responsible for providing overall leadership and direction for the University-wide information technology program and infrastructure to meet the varied and complex needs of the campus. This job is responsible for identifying, evaluating, and reporting on information technology needs, trends and risks, and consulting with and advising University leaders on these matters. The CIO job requires a visionary and pragmatic leader with sound knowledge of both the business and technical practices of the University as well as emerging technologies, best practices, and regulatory requirements in the field of information technology.

The CIO is responsible for technology infrastructure, information security, network, ERP, tech support, card systems, communication systems, instructional technology, business intelligence, data analytics, and application development. Resource management includes large-scale staff, budget, equipment, hardware, and software.

Furman is on a deliberate path to move major systems to the cloud. The CIO will lead SAS and cloud computing as well as spearhead data governance efforts across the University. With the use of Business Intelligence, the CIO will allow for more data-driven decisions. Stewarding resources to support these efforts will be critical.

The CIO must leverage collaborations and campus-wide resources, engaging constituents across functions and divisions. The CIO will align the priorities of information technology operations with university strategies and resources.

The CIO will proactively address the following opportunities and goals:

Strategic IT Leadership:

  • Provide an information technology vision that enables accomplishment of the University’s strategic plans, positions Furman ahead of its peers and brings new and fresh perspectives to the institution;
  • The CIO will fulfill the IT mission and provide products and services that faculty, students, and administrative departments depend upon for their various research, learning, teaching, and business needs while bringing a deep understanding of future technology trends and acting as a proactive advisor/consultant to help constituents anticipate problems and develop solutions;
  • Provide guidance and counsel to the VP and the University leadership team, working closely with senior administration, academic leaders, and the campus community in defining objectives for information technology, infrastructure, and decision support tools, while building relationships and goodwill; and
  • Establish annual and long-range information technology goals, define strategies, metrics, and program services; and create maturity models and a roadmap for continual program improvements.
  • Provide support to expand Business Intelligence capability and develop consensus on the most important data elements and metrics to track.

Build Relationships and Partnerships:

  • Build and sustain a reputation for the Information Technology Division of being knowledgeable, flexible, solutions-focused, timely and creative;
  • Structures IT services and functions as an enabler of the University’s long term growth;
  • Create and maintain a culture of IT service excellence, with communication and collaboration being at the forefront of all activities. Regard support for all users of computing services, including faculty, staff and students, to be a priority;
  • Support the IT systems and technology needs of a vast array of diverse departments across campus; understands how to build a cohesive community in a remote working environment;
  • Promote collaborative, empowered working environments across campus, removing barriers and realizing possibilities. Implement information technology planning processes to establish an inclusive and comprehensive information technology program and infrastructure for the entire institution in support of academic, research, and administrative information systems and technology;
  • Collaborate closely with administrative leadership, deans, IT leaders, and technical experts across campus on a wide variety of technology issues that require an in-depth understanding of the IT environment in their units, as well as the research landscape and federal regulations that pertain to units across the University; and
  • Manage relevant external relationships.

Strong Operational IT Skills and Leadership:

  • Actively stay abreast of information security issues and regulatory changes affecting higher education at the state and national level, participate in national policy and practice discussions, and communicate to campus regularly about those topics; Engage in professional development to maintain continual growth in professional skills and knowledge essential to the job;
  • Lead the development and implementation of practical and reasonable policies and practices for the effective use of technology across the institution and to ensure compliance with relevant regulations and legal interpretation;
  • Spearhead efforts to internally assess, evaluate and make recommendations to leadership regarding the adequacy of the University’s information and technology systems;
  • Provide strong project leadership, direction, and guidance in assessing and evaluating information technology risks and monitor compliance with established standards and appropriate policies; and
  • Examine the impacts of new technologies on the overall information technology program and infrastructure. Establish processes to review the implementation of new technologies.

Lead a Strong IT Team:

  • Foster a culture within IT and with campus partners that welcomes and supports innovation and agility. The CIO will inspire and lead staff to embrace collaboration, collegiality, transparency, and accountability in pursuit of superior customer service;
  • Ensure the recruitment, retention, and development and evaluation of highly qualified personnel to support the operations of IT;
  • Enable and support a workforce that has remote flexibility, and
  • Manage and develop a large staff, operating within the core University value of fostering a passion for lifelong learning by nurturing the growth of each individual as a whole person: intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

The CIO will represent the University in IT associations and other professional development activities to actively monitor innovative and value-driven developments in technology as well as engage with the wider IT community to explore, evaluate, and initiate cooperative agreements and partnerships.

Candidate Profile

The successful candidate will have a record of collaborative and innovative partnership in the field of information technology, with a foundation of leadership experience in progressively more senior positions in a complex organizational environment, preferably in higher education. The CIO will ideally possess an in-depth understanding of a university academic environment and the roles and relationships of faculty, staff, students, and third parties and their diverse needs for technical support. They must have a track record of flexibility and determination to maintain a strong and responsive service orientation. The candidate will understand the impact of changing technologies on the universities of today and be able to anticipate next-generation trends in all phases of information technology and security.

Candidates must be proven leaders demonstrating a minimum of 15 years of progressively responsible information technology experience with responsibility in a significant leadership/management role managing cross-functional teams in complex organizations including accountability for strategic planning, consensus building, organizational leadership, and technical performance. Experience developing and/or supporting information technologies in a multi-platform, distributed environment, with responsibility for networks, enterprise applications and security is required.

Critical to this role is experience in striking the balance between providing a reliable and user-friendly computing environment with one that facilitates and supports University business and learning objectives and both intra and inter institution collaboration. Equally significant qualifications include strong integrity, a high level of energy, and exceptional interpersonal relationship and team-building skills.

The successful candidate should be highly collegial, consultative, have a non-hierarchical management style, can develop and sustain collaborative relationships, and demonstrate commitment to cultural diversity and equal opportunity. Candidates should demonstrate knowledge of technical and service developments for new capabilities and in-depth knowledge of operational needs and solutions, as well as a high degree of awareness of the evolving administrative, academic, and research computing landscapes.

The candidate should be skilled at communicating with a Board of Trustees and senior-level leadership. The ideal candidate will also have the following competencies, abilities, and characteristics:

  • Be qualified to participate at the highest levels of university decision-making.
  • Be capable of setting a strategic vision and direction for the future of Information Technology.
  • Understand and appreciate how technology affects the institution today as well as anticipate how it might affect the institution in the future.
  • Be adept at identifying and assessing future technological needs of the university.
  • Be a superb communicator and demonstrate the ability to achieve buy-in from key stakeholders with sometimes divergent points of view.
  • Be flexible and skilled at building consensus, collaborating with stakeholders, energizing personnel, and leading them effectively.
  • Be qualified, willing and ready to assume responsibility for crucial university projects (such as the successful Workday implementation) and see them through to completion.
  • Be capable of developing budgetary plans and seeking necessary funding from internal and external resources to realize the strategic plan.
  • Be experienced at leading a diverse organization and serving a diverse institution.
  • Be committed to integrating diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging into the fabric of the university.
  • Be proficient at influencing decisions through personal credibility and sound reasoning.
  • Understand and appreciate the unique context and culture of an academic institution, including the ability to work collaboratively with the Furman community and respond effectively to the needs of students, faculty, staff, and administration.

Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Beth Schaefer and Charlotte Harris are leading this search. Please submit a compelling letter of interest and resume here. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.


Furman University is an equal opportunity employer strongly committed to diversity within its community and does not discriminate against any employee or applicant on the basis of race, creed, color, age, sex, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status, national origin, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.

Furman has both a Diversity Vision and a Diversity Statement, here:

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part of Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

For more information about Koya Partners, visit


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