Robert L. Orr joined The University of North Carolina at Pembroke as chief information officer (CIO) and associate vice chancellor for Information Services.
In his new position he will lead the Office of University Computing and Information Services (UCIS) with responsibility for campus information technology and support of teaching and learning with technology.
A native of Hendersonville, N.C., Orr comes to UNCP from Western Carolina University, where he worked for 24 years and was associate CIO. He reports to Dr. Charles Harrington, provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs.
“Bob comes to UNCP with an impressive administrative and technical portfolio,” Dr. Harrington said. “Over the years, he has clearly established himself as one of the most forward-thinking professionals working in higher education information technology.
“He will undoubtedly be a major asset to the University and our desire to position ourselves more strategically to take advantage of emerging technologies in teaching and learning,” he said.
Orr started his career in higher education as a microcomputer technician with Western Carolina.
“I came to computing from an electronics background that included radio and TV,” he said. “I come to UNCP with experience on both sides of the keyboard – teaching with technology and assisting faculty who teach online.”
A doctoral candidate in educational leadership, Orr is currently researching a dissertation titled “Faculty Perceptions of Institutional Ability to Overcome Barriers to Online Learning.”
At UNCP, Orr said he is meeting with faculty and administration “to see what we are doing well and what opportunities are out there.”
“I am looking forward to working with UNCP’s outstanding UCIS staff, many of whom I have known for years,” Orr said. “UNCP’s faculty is extremely receptive to integrating technology into teaching and learning.”
Orr said there are many assets to work with at UNCP.
“One asset we have here is an incredibly friendly campus,” he said. “One thing I would like to see us do more is to celebrate our successes in technology, which are many.”
UNCP and Western Carolina both recently launched “Banner” software across campus to manage functions from accounting to student accounts to fundraising.
“Something like Banner you only do once or twice in a career,” Orr said. “UNCP has done a great job with it and that should be celebrated.”
At Western Carolina, Orr was promoted from a technician to the Media Center, where he became director.
“In 1983, I was taking electronics classes at the local community college when I volunteered to repair two Apple IIs that belonged to the university. They called and offered me a job,” he said. “I was extremely fortunate to work in a Media Center that was a research and development agent of academic affairs. We installed the first university computer networks, labs and email.”
Orr also worked for Western Carolina’s Faculty Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning and UNC’s Teaching and Learning with Technology Collaborative in Chapel Hill, N.C.
His resume includes teaching at community colleges as well as work with grants, special projects, presentations and publications. With $3 million in grants from the Cherokee Preservation and the Golden Leaf foundations, he collaborated in a project to install high-speed networking to schools in six Western North Carolina counties.
On campus, Orr served on Western Carolina’s Staff Forum and directed the State Employees Combined Campaign. He worked with the State Employees Association in several capacities including as a member of the Board of Governors.
With a First Class FCC Radio Engineering licenses, Orr earned an associate degree in electronic engineering and a Bachelor of Science degree in communications and a Master’s of Human Resources from Western Carolina University. He is working on his doctorate at Western Carolina.