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UAlbany Students Present IT Recommendations to State CIOs

It’s all about real-world experience for graduate students in Theresa Pardo’s public administration course at Rockefeller College. A team of UAlbany students from her class presented recommendations to New York State Acting Chief Information Officer Dr. Daniel C. Chan and CIOs from several state agencies on two important information technology (IT) issues: cloud computing and the use of personal devices in the workplace.

Theresa Pardo and students

Theresa Pardo's class learned from practical problems facing New York state government. (Photo by Mark Schmidt)

Pardo pursued the opportunity with Chan to challenge her students to research and recommend ways that emerging information technologies can be leveraged by state government. The students used analytical tools and techniques learned in class to help identify and manage complex decision making regarding public sector IT.

“The partnerships between New York state’s technology leaders and Rockefeller College make it possible for UAlbany students to work on and learn from practical problems facing NYS government,” said Pardo, director of the Center for Technology in Government (CTG) and research associate professor at Rockefeller College. “In return, the state benefits from newly trained, extra hands focused on critical state technology investment issues.”

For Chan, the opportunity leveraged his desire to expand NYS government outreach to local universities and colleges.

“By performing these projects, students gain an appreciation of how to evaluate new technologies and make business-oriented recommendations,” said Chan, who is also acting director of the State’s Office for Technology (OFT). “They tackle real issues, apply logical thinking, and find a balance between business benefits and policy/management issues.”

Cyndi Mellen, one of Pardo’s students in the class and a second-year student in the Master of Public Administration program agrees, “Strategically located in the state’s capital, UAlbany gives students advantages such as established connections with public sector professionals. The access to, and interaction with, the state’s chief information officers was due in large part to the relationships our professors have cultivated and our proximity to the capital.”

Mellen, of Castleton-on-Hudson, has a dual concentration in information strategy and management and homeland security, and plans to move to Washington, D.C., after graduating in May 2012 to pursue a career in homeland security in the public sector.

Pardo’s course, co-instructed with Dr. Moses Kamya, CIO of the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations, is part of the nationally-ranked MPA program’s concentration in information strategy and management. Rockefeller College is ranked #2 in the nation for best public affairs schools for information and technology management.

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