Steve Burrell


Steven Burrell is Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Northern Arizona University and serves on the Arizona Sun Corridor Network Board of Directors. 

Dr. Burrell has 40 years of higher education technology leadership experience. He began his career at Colorado State University and has held the top IT leadership position at Hutchinson Community College (Kansas), Plymouth State University (New Hampshire), Saint Leo University (Florida), and Georgia Southern University before coming to NAU. Burrell earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Sterling College (Kansas), a Master of Education degree in Education Technology Administration from Plymouth State University, an Education Specialist degree in Education Leadership from Georgia Southern University, and a Doctor of Education in Higher Education Administration from Georgia Southern University. He is also a graduate of the Harvard University College of Graduate Education Institute for Educational Management.

Burrell has led a wide variety of successful technology collaborations, projects, and services, including worldwide education initiatives; national competitive grants to improve integrated planning and advising for student success; state-wide multi-institution shared services; smart campus initiatives, innovative teaching and learning spaces, and state-wide technology infrastructure development.  He has also led the development of computational research, IoT infrastructure, artificial intelligence applications, and state-of-the-art virtual reality capabilities.

Burrell’s passion for technology and higher learning has created opportunities for fostering future generations of college graduates, responsible digital citizens, and community leaders.  He is engaged in various formal and informal teaching, mentoring, and leadership development activities and frequently participates in mentoring discussion groups.  He has also taught technology courses as an adjunct faculty member at several institutions and is currently an EDUCAUSE Institute faculty member. 

Dr. Burrell is also active in his professional community, serving on national, state, and local technology, research, and government roles. He has served on advisory boards for Lumen, Hyland, Microsoft, and Salesforce. He has also served in various roles with EDUCAUSE and is a frequent contributor to EDUCAUSE Review, among other technology and leadership publications. In 2020, he was named among the top 30 higher education IT influencers by EdTech magazine.

Dr. Burrell is also active in his community, having served as the board chair and past president of the Rotary International Club, Hospice, and other organizations.  He has served on community advisory and coordinating committees for the Chamber of Commerce, economic development, and organizations acting on behalf of animal rights and rescue.  He enjoys the outdoors, fly fishing, and playing Native American flute and guitar in his spare time.

EDUCAUSE Publications

  • 29 Practical Actions for JEDI Leaders
    • Article
    • Author

    These ideas for practical actions can enable frontline managers to foster justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in their teams, organizations, and institutions, modeling good practices and enacting positive change from the bottom up.

  • Tactics for Higher Education Talent Management Plans
    • Article
    • Author

    Maintaining an IT talent management plan can help higher education leaders address post-pandemic workforce challenges and build and retain teams that are prepared for and motivated to meet the demand for new and expanded IT services.

  • The CIO as Quantum Leader
    • Article
    • Author

    The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the higher education landscape and forced CIOs to lead through chaos and ambiguity. In this new environment, CIOs must be adept at fostering technological change and transforming culture to achieve sustainable digital transformation while promoting inclusion and diversity in service delivery, building dynamic cross-functional teams, and creating institutional agility.

EDUCAUSE Presentations