Friday, August 12, 2011

Mark Koan Named New IT Dean


Jonathan Higuera

Media Relations

(602) 285-7849

Former ASU West IT Director Named Phoenix College Dean of IT

(PHOENIX, Ariz., Aug. 12) -- Returning to the institution where he earned his first college degree, Dr. Mark Koan has been named the Dean of Information Technology at Phoenix College.
In his new role, Dr. Koan will be responsible for leading PC’s strategic technology initiatives as well as IT operations and customer service for the college.”

“We are excited to have Dr. Koan return to the institution where he earned his first college degree in this critical role,” said Phoenix College President Dr. Anna Solley, referring to Dr. Koan’s tenure as a PC student. “Dean Koan’s background and expertise are already leading PC into a new era of digital services to our students, staff and faculty.”

Dr. Koan will oversee an IT staff of about 17. His top goals are to support faculty, staff and students with digital services that make it easier to teach, learn and access college services.

“The overall goal is to use technology to help drive improvements in recruitment, retention and student success,” he said. “PC is on a great trajectory. It has excellent goals and a solid strategy. The technology needs to support those goals.”

An Arizona native, Dr. Koan graduated from Phoenix College in 1990 with an Associate’s degree. He went on to receive a bachelor’s degree from Northern Arizona University and a master’s and doctorate degrees from Arizona State University.

“I have fond memories of my time here and it’s great to be back,” he said.
Dr. Koan previously was the IT Director for Arizona State University’s West campus. As part of the University Technology Office, he led teams that handled customer support, security, identity management and training across multiple campuses.

He plans to provide a higher level of digital services to PC stakeholders.

“With regard to the tech infrastructure, there is an opportunity to position PC as being a leader in digital services to students.”

One strategy he and his team are already working on is to virtualize applications, he says. Virtualization means students, faculty and staff can access their applications remotely via a network so students so they can get their work done from any location. They could access it from their laptop or tablet from home or whereever they happen to be.

For example, rather than having Adobe Photoshop installed on their computer to be able to use it, they will be able to access it on whatever device they are working on via a network.

“That’s part of PC’s larger strategy of moving to Cloud Computing,” he said. “It’s about access to applications, files and data on the web.”

Students returning this fall will quickly notice PC’s improved wireless network. In the spring, IT will roll out its Q-less queuing system, which will allow them to be notified digitally rather than physically waiting in line for a particular service such as financial aid or admissions.

“We’ll drive efficiencies into those processes,” he said.

Dr. Koan also taught as an adjunct faculty member at ASU and at the high school level. At ASU he taught upper division philosophy courses and he also taught English-as-a-Second Language while overseas in Asia.

“I understand what it’s like to be faculty and be in a classroom with students,” he said. “I know what it feels like when technology fails while you are trying to teach a student or class. We’ll work hard to prevent that from happening and we’ll fix it fast when it does.”

A graduate of Glendale High School here in the Valley, he’s excited about how students benefit from education because of the professional journey it led to for him.

“Students have a chance to grow from the power of education,” he says. “It has made a big difference in my life.”

His wife Kris is a PC alum who got her nursing degree here. She currently is a nurse at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Koan has given numerous presentations to higher education and IT groups on technology trends.

“It’s important for me and for any IT organization in higher ed to stay in tune with the mission of the college or university,” he says. “Technology can be a differentiator in the success of the mission.


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