North Texas Daily

Students a priority for new tech officer

Students a priority for new tech officer

February 25
00:30 2016

Alejandro Medellin | Staff Writer

@skinny_fats

On the second floor of the Discovery Park campus, Kendra Ketchum sits in her office, making moves to modernize UNT’s databases.

Recently hired, she has come to be a part of the school’s information technology overhaul; an initiative UNT president Neal Smatresk said is a priority. Ketchum, the chief technology officer, arrived at UNT in December. Months later, her whiteboard is plastered with graffiti of flowcharts and plans for technological change. She navigates through her iPad Pro to review her notes. It is clear she’s not stopping any time soon.

Kendra Ketchum

Kendra Ketchum

“I’m in this business because of the students,” she said.

One of Ketchum’s primary duties is data warehousing, connecting all of UNT’s data banks from all departments in order for administrators to be aware of trends. The initiative, officials said, will allow leaders on campus to make more precise and data-driven decisions. One benefit of her work, Ketchum said, is administrators will be able to analyze data to determine things like which courses are effective.

“During her time here so far she has focused on executing the ITSS strategic plan along with the continued improvement of our converged infrastructure and architecture initiative,” said Ketchum’s boss, chief information officer Rama Dhuwaraha.

Essentially, Ketchum is making it simpler to use the vast data available to the university community.

“Those types of quick glimpses help a decision maker to say ‘Oh, we’re okay there, we don’t need to worry about that,’” Ketchum said. “We have our own private cloud here, too, and so that’s essentially what we’re doing is providing that storage and that platform for them to use the computing and the network to get to it.”

But long before Ketchum had a staff and her own office, she was a U.S. Navy corpsman for 11 years.

“I was more interested with the technology than I was the nursing, and so I slowly shifted in the early ‘90s to IT,” Ketchum said.

After the Navy she moved to Ohio and started teaching at the University of Northwestern Ohio. After six years, she moved to Bowling Green State University in 2008. Ketchum left the classroom to become the associate director for technology and assessment.

While at BGSU she considered moving back to Texas because her parents were still there. She found an opening as a director for infrastructure and operations at Texas Wesleyan University.

Ketchum considers herself a leader. Her bookshelves are stacked with time management and productivity books.

“I’m a servant-leader for my staff,” Ketchum said. “I support them in everything they do. At the end of the day, I have my staff turn the org-chart upside-down and I’m actually at the bottom of the org chart. I’m holding up everyone at the top, and I’m providing them with all the tools they need to their job, and that’s what a servant-leader does.”

With that work ethic, Ketchum brought Texas Wesleyan University into the 21st century, she said. Before she got there in 2008, Ketchum said the school only had about 10 percent wireless connectivity on campus. Within a year, she got it up to 100 percent, she said.

“We are here for our students,” Ketchum said. “And the things that we can do to help them with their programs and their learning initiatives is to provide the cutting-edge technology for them to be able to do the things they need to do, so when they actually exit the university and go out to the workforce, they’re prepared.”

Ketchum is a tech-geek, and as she opened the Photoshop app on her iPad Pro, she couldn’t stop smiling. The app, which ran remotely, could change the way students study and learn.

“This is a game-changer for students,” Ketchum said.

Featured Image: Kendra Ketchum Sarah Bradbury | Staff Photographer 

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1 Comment

  1. Sean H
    Sean H February 25, 10:02

    Modernize databases? Perhaps you meant to say “modernize UNT’s Information Technology infrastructure” or “modernize UNT’s Technology stacks”?

    I guess Ketchum is interested in moving UNT to start using cloud services, since that is how Adobe handles their software now under the SaaS (Software as a Service) model.

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