By Ammi Parmar
Brian Lesser, Ryerson University’s former director of computing and communications, was appointed to the newly created position of chief information officer.
“There is a change in focus where I’m expected to look at how information technology (IT) can help the university more broadly and perhaps in a more effective way,” Lesser said.
Starting Sept. 1, Lesser’s new position will allow him to work directly with Ryerson’s IT services, as well as the academic plan to improve the use of technology for both students and teachers at Ryerson.
Although Lesser will be attaining a new title, he will still continue to do the work he did as director of computing and communications — a position where he worked with Ryerson’s IT organization improving voice and data communications, creating computer labs, improving application support and enabling the use of presentation technology in classrooms.
“The [academic] plan creates a framework for the faculties and departments to work within while developing their own plans. It has priorities like enabling greater student engagement and success through exceptional experiences,” Lesser said. “Part of my role is to understand their individual plans and help ensure that IT services across the university really helps them,”
Lesser will now be reporting to Mohamed Lachemi, Ryerson’s provost and vice-president academic. He will also continue to report to Janice Winton, vice president administration and finance.
“You’ll see a continuation of what you’ve seen in the last five years,” Lesser said. “We’ll start looking at other tools and services that students and instructors need related to learning and teaching. You can also expect us to continue paying attention to Ryerson’s network.”
While under the title of director of computing and communications, Lesser led the transition to the use of Google Apps for Education, a collaboration of Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Talk and Google Drive for students, faculty and teachers. This reduced the need for USBs or any other storage platform. Lesser also lead the change from Blackboard to the new learning system, Desire2Learn’s Brightspace.
“In so many ways, Ryerson is about its people and all the diverse things they do. The best thing about the change is that I get to work with more people working in the academic domain at Ryerson,” Lesser said.