CIO Griffiths takes post at U. Pittsburgh

BY ANNA CLARK
Daily Staff Reporter
Published March 12, 2001

The University"s chief information officer, Jose-Marie Griffiths, will leave Ann Arbor at the end of the academic year for a position in research and teaching at the University of Pittsburgh after five years of work to unite the University"s information technology efforts.

Paul Wong
Griffiths

"I was made an offer that was difficult to refuse," Griffiths said.

At Pittsburgh, she will hold an endowed chair in the School of Information Sciences and serve as director of the Sara Fine Institute for Interpersonal Behavior and Technology.

"The combination was extremely attractive," Griffiths said, adding that her "heart is in research."

She emphasized the increased freedom at Pittsburgh as another draw to the new position.

"I look forward to taking the thoughts and ideas I"ve had here and actively testing them out," she said, highlighting the legal, social and ethical impacts of information technology as areas of interest.

"While I"ve been involved with those issues here, I haven"t been able to spend time studying them in a scholarly manner," Griffiths said.

Griffiths, who is also the executive director of the University"s Information Technology Division and a professor in the School of Information, has emerged as a national name in information technology research.

University Regent Larry Deitch (D-Bloomfield Hills) added that Griffiths" work has earned her well-deserved recognition.

"I think she"s done a great job," he said. "I respect her."

During her years in Ann Arbor, she has worked to encourage collaboration among the various technology initiatives in the University"s colleges and schools.

"If we don"t come together, you"ll find that every one will start going in different directions," Griffiths said. "It"s like railway tracks that don"t meet."

University Director for Strategic Technology Gavin Eadie noted a manifestation of this goal in Griffiths" creation of a group for technology representatives from all schools and colleges to meet and discuss information issues. He also mentioned Griffiths involvement on congressional commissions and other national groups.

"She"s worked very hard for the University on the outside," Eadie said. "And that"s always good for University exposure."

Griffiths said that although she holds the top information technology title at the University, she has wanted to encourage the campus to understand that technology issues aren"t the responsibility of one person.

"I wanted to get people to see that I can"t make decisions for them," she said.

She recognized University President Lee Bollinger"s Information Revolution Commission and Provost Nancy Cantor"s recent announcement making technology a priority as two signs that the campus is beginning to see the widespread influence of information technology.

While there are no plans yet to replace Griffiths, Eadie said he hopes the outgoing CIO"s influence on the campus will remain.