Conference Recap:  2016 New Directions in IT Education May 19-20

Conference Recap: 2016 New Directions in IT Education May 19-20

Advance IT Minnesota invited industry professionals and MnSCU faculty members and academic leaders to convene and explore emerging employer needs, identify specific implications for student learning outcomes, and map out actions that individual faculty and departments can implement, and identify comprehensive innovations to be developed collaboratively.

Notes on Day One

Keynote 1 by Nicole Forsgren on How DevOps is Transforming IT, and What it Can Do for Academia presented how the range of business and IT activities from development through operations have essentially converged and transformed businesses in the past decade.  Nicole’s address strongly argued for inclusion of agile (small A) DevOps concepts, methodologies, processes and culture in formal academic curricula.  Using stories and examples from well-known businesses and from personal experience, Nicole delivered an engaging and well-received keynote that has already kicked off collaborative work supported by Advance IT.  To be posted here shortly … the recording and slides from the keynote.

Industry Panel: Mary Mosman, Heather Mickman, Bridget Kromhout and Nicole Forsgren  on The Implications of the DevOps Transformation for Academia, andWomen in IT produced a frank and insightful interaction with the attendees.  Video of the full session coming soon …IndustryPanel

Session A1 | Equity in IT Education Discussion on was attended by faculty, administrators, and staff across the state interested in or engaged in various equity in education issues.  A summary of this session coming soon …

Session B1 | Transferability issues ranging from 2- to 4-year college to university transition, developing transitional and transfer pathways from high school to college, as well as pathways for displaced workers to explore and enter IT and computing careers were discussed by attendees.  Notes on this session coming soon …

Session C1 | Internet of Things (IoT) impact on academic disciplines session was effective in drawing a large pool of faculty and industry leaders who recognized the importance of this emerging phenomenon.  The attendees engaged in wide-ranging discussion of what IoT is, what disciplines IoT touches directly (including non-IT disciplines such as engineering and manufacturing), and what types of skills and competencies need to be included in curricula across subject areas from computer science to IT infrastructure to databases.  IoT was recognized as a subset of cyber physical systems (CPS).  The discussion then moved to how IoT brings up concerns around privacy vs. security, public or organizational security vs. individual and consumer security, controls, systems compatibility, reliability, scale issues, AppDev pathways, topology of IoT domains and device/agent identifiers.  Participants acknowledged there are really two distinct IoT worlds out there – industrial IoT versus consumer IoT.  Finally, various ideas for potential projects and initiatives were put forth.

Special Session | Enterprise software education in MNSCU: A multifaceted opportunity & challenge was presented by Prof. David Bahn to attendees and invited local business leaders and professionals to develop enterprise software education programs across MnSCU and to discuss the various opportunities to build academic partnerships with regional businesses and demonstrate various academic alliance-like programs offered by enterprise application providers such as SAP, Microsoft, and Oracle.

Sessions A2, B2, and C2 | These sessions resulted in faculty projects being defined and members got started on a proposal to fund projects by Advance IT Minnesota.

The following were the three themes identified for the 2nd Annual New Directions in IT Education Conference and the rich program on both days:

A. Equity in IT Education

Improving equity and student success in career pathways is critically important to address the need to grow IT talent in Minnesota.  The Conference will engage community and industry leaders to work on enhancing equitable access to and advancing success in IT pathways for underserved populations, especially non-traditional learners and women. Post-conference, Advance IT Minnesota will solicit and sponsor one or more collaborative projects in this space.

B. Transferability

Participants will consider challenges to transferability between various IT and computing programs to explore and develop pathways from Associate to Bachelor’s degree programs across disciplines.  These include application and web development (in support of the FUSION initiative), expansion of FUSION to other potential pathways like other CS programs and cybersecurity. Post-conference, Advance IT Minnesota will solicit and select one or more collaborative projects in this space.

C. Discipline Excellence – Impact of IoT

To seek further alignment with workforce needs, to advance success through industry collaboration, and to enhance faculty professional development and disciplinary collaboration, the Conference will engage faculty and industry leaders in a meaningful discussion to address emerging academic impact of the Internet of Things (IoT).  Post-conference, Advance IT Minnesota will solicit and sponsor a more collaborative project in this space.


Day 1 | Thursday, May 19, 2016

9 am | Check-in and Breakfast (outside CLA 120)

10 am | Opening of New Directions 2016 and Industry Keynote

  • Welcome
    — Russ Fraenkel, Interim Executive Director, Advance IT
  • Opening Remarks and Introduction
    — Dr. Firasat Khan, Director of Academic Initiatives, Advance IT

Industry Keynote: How DevOps is Transforming IT, and What it Can Do for Academia

— Dr. Nicole Forsgren, Director of Organizational Performance, Chef

Dr. Nicole Forsgren picDr. Nicole Forsgren is an IT impacts expert who shows leaders how to unlock the potential of technological change in their organizations. Best known for her work with tech professionals and as the lead investigator on the largest DevOps studies to date, she is a consultant, expert, and researcher in knowledge management, IT adoption and impacts, and DevOps. She is the Director of Organizational Performance and Analytics at Chef and an Academic Partner at the Social Analytics Institute at Clemson University. In a previous life, she was a professor, sysadmin, and hardware performance analyst.

She holds a PhD in Management Information Systems and a Masters in Accounting from the University of Arizona. She has consulted and advised Fortune 50 Companies, startups and government agencies, and has been awarded public and private research grants (funders include NASA and the NSF). Her work has been featured in various media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, InfoWeek, and ComputerWorld, and she has been named a Top 100 DevOps Expert and one of the Top 20 Influential Women in DevOps by TechBeacon.

11 am | Industry Panel | DevOps and Women in IT

  • Bridget Kromhout, Principal Technologist for Cloud Foundry at Pivotal

bridgetkromhout_100pxBridget Kromhout is a Principal Technologist for Cloud Foundry at Pivotal. Her CS degree emphasis was in theory, but she now deals with the concrete (if ‘cloud’ can be considered tangible). After years as an operations engineer (most recently at DramaFever), she traded in oncall for more travel. A frequent speaker at tech conferences, she helps organize tech meetups at home in Minneapolis, serves on the program committee for Velocity, and acts as a global core organizer for devopsdays. She podcasts at Arrested DevOps, occasionally blogs at, and is active in a Twitterverse near you.

  • Heather Mickman, Director, API Integration, Cloud Platform Engineering, Target Corporation

Heather Mickman is the leader for the API, Integration, and Cloud Platform Engineering team at Target and a DevOps enthusiast. Throughout her career, Heather has continuously embraced hard technology challenges from consulting large Fortune 50 companies on Supply Chain approach, implementing warehouse automation technologies, running large Ops & Support organizations, and establishing enterprise security approaches. She has a passion for technology, building high performing teams, driving a culture of innovation, and having fun along the way. Heather lives in Minneapolis with her 2 sons and dachshund.

  • Mary Mosman, Computer Careers Faculty, Hennepin Technical College
  • Dr. Nicole Forsgren

Noon | Lunch and networking

1 pm | Theme Presentation Breakouts

  • CLA 116: A1 | Equity in IT Education Discussion
    Enhancing access to IT pathways for under-served and non-traditional learners (facilitators Sharon Boerbon Hanson, Sarah Herder)
  • CLA 118: B1 | Transferability Issues Discussion
    — Programs and initiatives promoting School-College and Associate-Bachelors transition across computing and IT disciplines
    (Facilitators Russ Fraenkel, Pakou Yang, and Jessica Espinosa)
  • CLA 123: C1 | Discipline Excellence Discussion
    Internet of Things (IoT): Emerging applications across sectors and disciplines (facilitator Firasat Khan)

2:15 pm | Break

2:30 pm | Theme Project Breakouts

Develop outlines for Advance IT-sponsored summer projects, and enlist faculty teams with industry partners for all three conference themes:

  • CLA 116 – A2 Equity in IT Education (faculty team)
  • CLA 118 – B2 Transferability (faculty team)
  • CLA 123 – C2 Discipline Excellence in IoT (faculty team)
  • CLA 125 – Special Session on Enterprise software education in MNSCU: A multifaceted opportunity & challenge (for those not working on A2, B2 or C2 project proposals; facilitator David Bahn)
    Enterprise software education has many opportunities for partnership between between MNSCU institutions and regional businesses.  Besides the academic alliance programs created by the major ERP vendors (SAP, Microsoft, Oracle), enterprise software education also encompasses middleware, application integration, open source and the Cloud – all of which are critical areas for student professional development.  Your participation, insight and experience can help us shape the development of further enterprise software education initiatives in the MNSCU system.

4:15 pm | Conclude and proceed to dinner

4:45 pm | Dinner at Lookout Bar & Grill

Day 2 | Friday, May 20, 2016

8:30 am | Keynote 2
Mathematics, Chess and Old Movies: Selecting and Preparing the Next Generation of Big Data, Data Science & Business Analytic Resources (CLA 120)

— Mark Gorman, CEO and Founder, The Gorman Group Insurance Consultancy

mark_gorman_100pxAs its name implies, MinneAnalytics is a non-profit organization that impacts over 7,500 technology and data science individual members with thought leadership and insight into the practical application of predictive analytics, automated decision making and machine learning.  It promotes the ubiquitous application of advanced analytics to a wide variety of real world technical applications in business, non-profit and governmental initiatives.  Over the past year, the Board of MinneAnalytics has been in active communication with educators and academicians around the State regarding the current status of programs dedicated to data science, business analytics and big data.   During this presentation Mark Gorman will provide findings, share insights and identify opportunities to meet the rapidly expanding need for resources prepared to provide an immediate impact to the organizations they join.  The presentation will focus on market expectations for assuring resources have the applied experience, practical knowledge, and demonstrable skills to quickly and efficiently align with workforce requirements and organizational needs.  It will also touch briefly on recent findings on attracting and selecting the most appropriate students in these areas.

— Mark Gorman’s Full Bio —

9:15 am | Faculty Panel on Discipline Excellence

  • Professor Steve Creason, MIS, Metrostate
  • Dean Scott Determan, Dakota County Technical College
  • Professor Michael Stein ICS, Metrostate

10:30 am | Faculty-initiated Projects/Collaborative Work

  • CLA 120 – Hour 1 General Session Pitch: Faculty may step-up to pitch projects or grant efforts they wish to pursue and solicit faculty partners.
  • Hour 2 Teaming Breakouts: Work with faculty partners in separate breakout sessions to build teams, and outline a plan of action (rooms to be assigned)

12:30 pm | Lunch and networking

Conclude Conference