Spotlight: Jenn Stringer, Loving Public Education and Academic Technology

Posted by Leah Burns, IT Communications Coordinator, UCOP. “I’ve always loved public education,” Jenn Stringer said. “Even though I worked at two private institutions, I studied at public universities.” Stringer is the Associate CIO for Academic Engagement at UC Berkeley and provides vision, strategic direction, and leadership for education technology and academic computing across the campus.

Stringer earned her bachelor’s degree in history from UC Santa Cruz. “I had no idea what I was going to do when I was done!” she laughed. During undergrad, she worked over the summers and holiday breaks at Stanford University Libraries and upon completing her degree, they offered her a full-time position. “If you worked in the libraries for a certain number of years, they would pay for additional education, and so I got my master’s degree in library and information science from San Jose State University,” she said. “It was one of those ‘aha’ moments that showed me how important it is to invest in staff. I stayed at Stanford for over twenty years.”

In 2011, Stringer joined NYU in Manhattan as the director of academic technology. “It was great to learn how to serve a global university,” she said. “My experience at NYU involved working with multiple global sites and campuses and helped me understand what it meant to collaborate across campus boundaries.”

At UC Berkeley, Stringer’s team provides services that support classroom technologies, video capture and production, faculty instructional technology support, the student portal, and student computing. Her team also runs the campus learning management system, which is the most heavily used enterprise system on campus after email, and oversees the campus radio station, KALX 90.7 FM. “I’m so lucky. Radio stations don’t usually end up in an academic technology portfolio!” she said.

Stringer’s team at UC Berkeley is preparing to open an Academic Innovation Studio, a new space for education technology, teaching, and learning. The space will provide fully staffed walk-in support for education technology services (ETS), consultations with ETS and partners in the library, Center for Teaching and Learning, and Research IT, a self-service recording studio, post-production workstations, space for workshops, trainings, seminars, and special events. Another recent project that Stringer’s team did in collaboration with Research IT was to benchmark the IT services that UC Berkeley is providing, against peer institutions. The results have been used for strategic planning and have allowed Stringer’s team to see where they should focus their efforts.

“I’ve learned that every institution is culturally different. The UC system is a wonderful place, and each campus is very unique. It’s important that we celebrate our differences to leverage what we’re doing,” she said.

In her spare time, Stringer enjoys marathoning TV shows, reading, and spending time at Lake Tahoe. She has two daughters who she is proud to say, both attended public universities.

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