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New CIO Eager to Work with Students

New CIO Eager to Work with Students

by Jonathan Bym, EditorPhoto by Jonathan Bym

It was “the right timing” that Nancy Crouch was able to become the new Chief Information Officer last month.

“All the right things aligned,” she said of the hiring. “From learning about the opening, all the pieces and parts from the interview made it feel like the right fit.”

The career move helps make the weekend commutes to Southport, N.C., easier for Crouch. Her husband lives in a house they have owned there for 10 years, and she has commuted there on weekends even going back to her time at Wake Forest for the past five years. 

Crouch has been a North Carolina beach-lover since going to them when she first moved to the state. The Ellicott City, Md., native, said that she loved the wildlife and the scenery and also how family-friendly the beaches were.

A previous trip to campus also helped influence her decision to come to UNCP. 

“Years ago I visited this campus and was intrigued then,” Crouch said, “Diversity and inclusion is a big piece of who I am and what we can do with technology. Looking at the student population, my passion and belief in public education coupled with talking with students, it felt like the right place to be.”

Technology and science has always been something that Crouch has been passionate about, even before she was working in administrative positions in higher education. Previously, she taught science and math to K-12 and was teaching middle school science before making the change to higher education.

“What drew me to information technology (IT) was my education background,” she said.

Under a grant, Crouch oversaw the growth of technology at Wake Forest, where she earned her master’s degree, and gained knowledge that she plans to implement at UNCP. She feels that students are a “secret weapon” when it comes to technology. This was something she witnessed first-hand at Wake Forest as a new technology plan was put in place.

The change was nothing new for the students, but the faculty and staff were having a tough time adjusting to the new technology.

“I was asked then to help out and work a program to engage our students in helping the faculty use technology, and that’s how I started,” Crouch said. “Basically, I trained students to mentor faculty… for me the draw of IT is what we can do with it.”

These student technology groups are something Crouch wants to bring to campus and sees it having a potential to reach the community as well.

Now more than a month into her job, the whiteboard in her office is filled with goals and projects that she is working into a plan that she and her staff are trying to get into order. Her first month has been nothing short of eventful after learning 10 days into her hiring that there had been a spam attack to the student email system.

“It’s been an exiciting 30 days, and I think that over the course of the 30 days I have met folks that represent the entire campus,” she said.

One misconception that she wants to have erased on campus is that IT is just something that the administration comes up with and then sends out to the students. Her plan is to make it more open for everyone.

Photo by Jonathan Bym. Nancy Crouch, right, talks with Administrative Assistant Vicky Brewer in Carter Hall.