Chris Higgins is a seasoned professional with more than 20 years in the field of information technology in an academic environment. At the University of Chicago, Chris was the Executive Director for Academic and Scholarly Technology Services in charge of supporting the enterprise technology needs for teaching and learning. While at Chicago, he spearheaded the evaluation, selection, and implementation project plan of the next generation learning management system for the university, Canvas. He also worked closely with the Registrar’s office and academic units to establish classroom technology standards to create a common experience for faculty while meeting the unique needs of various disciplines. The development of an innovation studio was his brain child. This highly flexible space was designed to be the home of the integration of pedagogy and technology to meet the evolving needs of the educational environment on campus.
Similarly, during his 19 years at the University of Maryland, Chris, led the evaluation, selection, and implementation of a new LMS; participated in the IT strategic planning process including membership in the scholarly enablement team; coordinated the team creating the original MOOCs for the university; managed the mobile learning initiative including app development, mobile response tools, and creative app design challenges; and was integral to the original design of the Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center.
Chris spent his early career supporting the unique technology needs of language learning that included development of learning systems, integration of audio and video technologies, and the formation of simulation tools to support immersion-like learning.
At both Chicago and Maryland Chris and his team worked with closely with departments to understand their pedagogical and infrastructure needs. This included ensuring proper visual, and audio resources were available in classrooms, and the development of informal learning spaces for students to continue their work and learning outside the classroom. At Maryland he worked closely with the libraries, the School and Architecture, and the departments of Art, and Art History and Archaeology to select and implement tools for digital images and media. At both Maryland and Chicago, he participated in groups to support the development of institutional digital repositories. His recent interests are focused on student engagement both on campus and beyond using pedagogical methods, and innovative technologies such as game-based learning, virtual reality technologies, and micro-credentials.
Having experienced departmental motivation for innovation without the infrastructure or coordination to put into place the vision, Chris believes it is important to develop a strong infrastructure with sound processes to create an enterprise environment that meets the needs of the academic and administrative units of the institution.