Tara Hughes


Tara Hughes is the Chief Information Officer at California State University Monterey Bay in Seaside, CA. 

Tara previously served as the Chief Information Officer at California State University Maritime Academy. In this role, she led visionary initiatives, spearheaded strategic innovation, and drove transformative change through collaborative leadership with a focus on service excellence, efficiency, and seamless academic integration.

Tara began her career in Higher Education as a staff member at California State University Channel Islands in 2014, where she developed and implemented a shared services center that acts as the campus’ first tier of support for a growing list of services including IT, HR, Student Business Services and campus main line calls. She led a large mixed team of staff and student employees where she was afforded unique opportunities to impact students through coaching and mentoring, with the goal of developing the work ethic and traits necessary to succeed in a professional environment. She then went on to serve as the Interim Assistant Director of Student Success Communication and Chatbot where she supported student retention efforts at California State University Channel Islands in Camarillo, CA. In this role, she led the work on establishing procedures for the campus chatbot, building the bot knowledge base, and creating effective campaigns, as well as collaborating with various groups across campus to discuss communication strategies and how the bot could enhance current practices.

Tara holds a Bachelor's degree in Counseling and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration with a concentration in Leadership from California State University San Bernardino. She is an EDUCAUSE Leading Change Institute Fellow (2019), a graduate of EDUCAUSE Management Institute (2018) and Disney Institute (2015), and has served as faculty for the EDUCAUSE New Management Institute (2020-2021).

Tara is a customer service evangelist whose goal is to infuse the area of technology with a broader set of skills related to emotional intelligence and interpersonal communication. She shares her love of helping people develop the ability to interact more harmoniously and effectively as a guest lecturer within California State University Channel Islands and abroad with public speaking engagements at conferences such as LOCKDOWN 2019 (keynote), EDUCAUSE Security Professionals Conference, Security Camp 2019, EDUCAUSE Annual Conference, Women Advance IT Conference, CSU Tech Conference and ResNet Student Technology Conference.

EDUCAUSE Publications

  • Trailblazing a Modern Path to CIO
    • Multimedia
    • Author

    Finding a path to a leadership role can be daunting. In this episode, hosts Sarah and Wes speak with two young professionals who have forged a path to the CIO position and discuss how they got there.

  • EDUCAUSE Young Professionals on Career Development
    • Multimedia
    • Author

    Hosts Cynthia and Jack talk with two members of the EDUCAUSE Young Professionals Advisory Committee: Tara Hughes, Interim Chief Information Officer for California State University Maritime Academy, and Sandeep Sidhu, Chief Information Officer for Emily Carr University of Art & Design.

EDUCAUSE Presentations