Laboratory Schools: Director of Innovation & Technology
Hyde Park Campus
About the Unit
About the Unit: The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools provide one of the world's most outstanding pre-collegiate educational experiences. Because Lab is part of the University of Chicago, the importance of intellectual life—of thought and exploration—infuses all aspects of our curriculum, and students in every grade benefit from outstanding UChicago academicians and access to unmatched resources. John Dewey—one of the great minds in education—established the Schools in 1896 as a place to explore and implement his theories on childhood education. Today's students still benefit from his vision, and today's Lab faculty are recognized as experienced leaders in their field. Families who choose Lab care deeply about curiosity, inquiry, and creativity. Approximately 60 percent of Lab families are affiliated with the University, half live in Hyde Park, and the rest come from across Chicago, the suburbs, and northern Indiana. Lab's student body reflects the diversity that is deeply valued by the Schools and its community; approximately half of our 2,000 students are people of color and families report speaking nearly 40 different languages in their homes. The Laboratory Schools seek the finest employees—people who wish to inspire a love of learning in our students and join a vibrant learning community. We employ people with a wide range of skills and training, in many different disciplines. At Lab, we value learning experientially, exhibiting kindness, and honoring diversity. We seek employees who share a similar commitment to these values. Lab people are engaged and excited by our mission of igniting and nurturing an enduring spirit of scholarship, curiosity, creativity, and confidence in the youngest members of the University of Chicago's academic community. The Laboratory Schools is a great place to work and our connection to the University provides our faculty and staff with opportunities that would be nearly impossible to match in any other environment. AA/EOE Statement: The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University's Notice of Nondiscrimination. Staff Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-834-1841 or by email email@example.com with their request.
- The Laboratory School's community values learning experientially, exhibiting kindness, and honoring diversity. Mission alignment is an important goal for not only the technology program, but also the Director of Innovation & Technology. Thus, a discussion of the technology program first requires a discussion of the School's mission and culture; one organized by its teaching and learning initiatives. As the largest private day school affiliated with a preeminent University, Lab has a unique, multifaceted, and interconnected set of interests and stakeholders. Lab champions an education steeped in critical thinking and rigor, and at the same time offers a design and maker program that is planned to grow as additional makerspaces come online this year. The campus has a sense of identity and purpose in both the University community, local Hyde Park neighborhood, and Chicagoland area. Lab strives for a technology program that operates in harmony with these diverse characteristics of the School, serving its experiential learning pedagogy, not simply an add-on to teach students “how to learn with technology.”
- The technology program at Lab comprises many elements. The Information Systems (IS) department is a staff of twelve in these functional areas: Online Services; Systems Administration; End-User & Technical Support; Hardware & Software Management; and Technology Integration. The Director of Innovation & Technology will manage and oversee the IS department. This oversight is critical for two reasons. First, the School seeks to reinforce a unified model, in which the goal of technology is to align with and serve the needs of the educational program. Second, Lab wants the Director of Innovation & Technology to have responsibility for critical all-school systems and infrastructure, including enterprise applications and databases, collaboration suites, and end-user hardware deployments.
- On the educational side, the IS department dedicates staff to support academic initiatives. These specialists work with World Language teachers and Early Childhood faculty on various integration projects. The next Director of Innovation & Technology will have the opportunity to evaluate what adjustments, if any, might be needed to enhance the instructional technology integration program. From a hardware perspective, Lab deploys school-owned iPads to Nursery through Grade 5 classrooms and runs a 1:1 laptop program in the Middle School. Google Apps for Education is the main collaboration suite; Schoology is the school-wide learning management system; and PowerSchool is the student information system. The High School offers an opportunity for collaboration on student computing resources and learning platforms in the future. Most major enterprise systems that support administrative departments are successfully managed with limited support resources.
- While the Director of Innovation & Technology will over see the entire IS department, the largest areas of focus will be on the school's educational program. Following are four opportunities and challenges for the next Director to address:
- Educational program outreach —The Lab community seeks a director with an open-minded, “yes” mindset. Faculty members can benefit from a technology partner willing and eager to discuss and explore new ideas. Those partnerships will come by working primarily in the field, not from a desk, to establish an authentic campus presence and to learn about the needs of the individual schools as well as the individual teachers. The job will require energy, an outgoing personality, and a fair amount of listening and collaboration to
- support creative interdisciplinary projects. The Director should be knowledgeable of and passionate about technology integration and instructional design, and also possess a flexible, high-EQ mindset recognizing that one-size does not fit all.
- Teacher partnership and professional development —Professional development will be embedded on the critical path to success at Lab. Educators continually learn and seek to improve at their craft. At the same time, the faculty need a professional development model that reflects a diverse set of interests and proficiencies with technology. Teachers will want to learn with an education technology leader who, like them, is a skilled educator—someone who has been in the classroom and who knows how to deliver differentiated learning opportunities.
- IT services —Delivering reliable IT services (The 5 Nines standard) has become an expectation at Lab. The school has made significant investments to upgrade and expand network resources and benefits from stellar partnership with the University of Chicago IT department. Meanwhile, as technology plays an increasing role in the fabric of the teaching and learning program, a natural tension will arise between risk management concerns, like security and access, and academic needs for flexibility and nimbleness. The next Director should be adept at balancing these competing interests and helping administration, faculty, staff, students, and families understand the big picture. Above all else, the entire community wants the Director to lead an IS department that embraces a partnership-first mindset with the various campus constituencies.
- Collaboration as path to adaptive change —Lab is not an organization where major changes come from top-down directives. The 1:1 program in the Middle School, for example, was the result of years of thoughtful introspection and campus-wide discussion. The next Director of Innovation & Technology will have the opportunity to facilitate conversations among the faculty about emerging topics that emanate from the intersection of technology, innovation, and pedagogy. How can computational thinking exist at Lab as a core discipline? What role might coding and makerspaces play in a school where students are already exposed to immersive experiential learning environments? What does effective online learning look like, and how might this technology augment the existing program? These are questions that senior administrators, educators, and students would welcome exploring with an expert facilitator and thought partner.
- Opportunities abound for the successful candidate. The community is well positioned to embark on a technology journey, grounded in generative, mission-aligned discussions. The next Director will have the support and appreciation of an ambitious and thoughtful senior leadership team as the technology program plays an increasingly vital role in realizing the strategic goals of this renowned institution.
- Develop a mission-aligned educational technology strategy that inspires and serves faculty and students
- Design, deliver, and manage major professional development and growth experiences for faculty in areas of technology integration and instructional design
- Evaluate emerging technology and assessment tools and guide senior academic leaders on strategic and operational decisions involving instructional technology hardware, software, and programs
- Leverage models like SAMR, RAT, PATER, TPACK and Bloom's Taxonomy to support and encourage teacher technology initiatives in the classroom
- Promote use of technology in interdisciplinary projects in classes and in makerspaces
- Assess the effectiveness of, and lead efforts to improve, the School's implementation of technology tools for instructional purposes
- Inspire the technology team and the faculty community to model and support best practices in innovation, technology integration, and instructional design
- Assess the role of e-learning, as appropriate, for Lab
- Promote the use of technology for virtual projects with international schools
- Establish strong partnerships with teachers to develop and implement dynamic classroom projects involving technology integration
- Establish partnerships with outside organizations to support the strategic goals of a educational technology program at Lab
- Oversee the IS team and third-party vendor partners
- Ensure that IT infrastructure, hardware, and systems are successfully deployed and meeting end-user needs
- Ensure that recommended changes from IT audits are successfully implemented
- Ensure that all members of the community receive sufficient training and support
- Support and guide school leadership on strategic and operational decisions involving technology infrastructure and enterprise data systems
- Ensure that information technology and systems transitional projects are successfully managed
- Establish and evaluate technology policies, procedures, and processes in areas such as: end-user support, data management, network access, data privacy, COPPA, FERPA, and content filtering
Leadership and Administration
- Serve on or lead committees related to technology and academics
- Serve on the Senior, Academic, and Finance & Operations Leadership teams
- Work closely with principals of the four divisions
- Maintain an active presence in the local and national technology communities
- Develop and maintain departmental budgets, policies, and procedures
- Perform other duties as assigned
- Excellent organizational skills
- A desire to develop deep connections and partnerships with faculty and staff
- An eye on the horizon of emerging educational technology systems and paradigms, with an understanding of how to thoughtfully explore and evaluate such opportunities
- Strong communication skills—written, verbal, presentational, and instructional— that support a community of diverse technology learners and adopters
- A collaborative, cooperative, and growth mindset
- Integrity, empathy, and a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion
- A consensus-building leadership style
- A core of humility with a sense of humor and a hunger to achieve in the interest of students
- Visionary leadership that is in tune with the needs of a dynamic faculty
- A capacity to lead a comprehensive school IT program
- A commitment to Lab's mission and values
- At minimum, a required bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university
- Graduate degree in management, educational technology, education, or related field is preferred
- Experience with academic technology integration and relevant professional training
- Experience leading workshops, trainings, and projects related to technology integration, instructional design, end-user training, and technology support
- Experience supervising employees, preferably in an educational or technology setting
- Experience as a fiscal manager with both operating and capital budgets
- Classroom teaching experience, preferably in a school setting with Grades 6–12
Working Conditions and Physical Requirements:
- Standard office-type physical qualifications as outlined by the University of Chicago
- Cover letter
- Professional References
(NOTE: When applying, all required documents MUST be uploaded under the Resume/CV section of the application.)
Depends on Qualification
Scheduled Weekly Hours
Job is Exempt?
Drug Test Required?
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The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University's Notice of Nondiscrimination.
Staff Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-702-5800 or submit a request via Applicant Inquiry Form.
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