St. Thomas Appoints Lifelong Tommie as Very first Woman CIO – Newsroom


The University of St. Thomas lately promoted one particular of its own to chief facts officer from the interim CIO function assumed 6 months prior. Moreover, the appointee is a lady. Karen Julian ’94, ’98 MBA has risen by the ranks given that the first tech career she acknowledged more than 30 yrs back when a student at the largest private college in Minnesota. 

Like most tech positions across industries, couple of are held by gals. A tumble 2022 report from Girls Small business Collaborative reveals that 27% of CIOs at Fortune 500 firms are gals. When examining all firms, research clearly show there are fewer in the CIO or main technologies officer (CTO) placement.  

Whilst females make up 47% of all utilized older people in the U.S., as of 2022, a March report in CIO journal experiences girls acquired only 18% of computer science levels at the bachelor level in 2021, owning peaked at 37% in 1984, in accordance to Zippia. 

Julian, who was elevated in Lakeville, was ahead of her time. When she initially set foot on the St. Thomas campus in 1989 as a 1st-generation college scholar, she knew she wanted to pursue a occupation that included her interests in enterprise, finance and know-how. So, she majored in company with a focus in finance, and minored in quantitative approaches and pc science. In her junior calendar year she secured a job as a pc programmer in the Monetary Aid Business. 

Karen Julian. (Mark Brown / College of St. Thomas)

“There ended up very number of of us,” she mentioned about the number of student staff and complete-time staffers in laptop or computer programming roles at the college at that time. 

Turning into CIO at a college, let by yourself at St. Thomas, was not on Julian’s head in December 1994 when she attained her bachelor’s diploma. 

“People going into engineering will not essentially do so for the reason that they want to be leaders, particularly back again then,” she reported. But with tech teams, she mentioned, “as a office grows, they consider a technologies particular person and place them in cost of the other technology persons and just before you know it, you are a supervisor.”  

That administration practical experience she obtained as an undergraduate scholar worker led her to immediately enroll in graduate college at St. Thomas, beginning the MBA plan in February 1995.  

She held onto campus information and facts technological innovation (IT) and computer programming positions during her graduate studies at the Opus Faculty of Organization. 

“The MBA system arrived at a time when I commenced controlling people and it was actually useful,” she mentioned. “The publicity to management and management types was one element I was ready to utilize the most at the occupation I had at St. Thomas at the time. I was consistently making use of authentic-earth examples on college initiatives to remedy a function trouble.” 

For the duration of her time in graduate faculty, she claimed “enrollment management grew to become a factor,” and which is when the admissions and money assist teams joined to turn into a single unit. The know-how and operations crew shortly expanded to a comprehensive technological innovation staff. Julian joined ITS in 2017. She additional produced and refined on-the-task technologies skills. “It ongoing to development,” she claimed, of both of those her expertise and the marketplace. 

In the early 1990s, particular computing was nevertheless a quite young business. The nascent Globe Huge Net was on the cusp of helping us coin phrases these types of as “information superhighway,” though also fueling the explosion of the chief info officer part.  

The the vast majority of CIOs at universities are men, just as is the case across corporate The us. In 1984, there were being less than 20 CIO positions in better education across the U.S. By 2017, on the other hand, 68% of U.S. increased instruction establishments experienced a CIO or related job, in accordance to exploration from Educause Review, an business publication committed to masking IT as it relates to college everyday living. It was about that time, when becoming CIO just one day produced it to Julian’s bucket checklist even although several women of all ages held the place across any sector. 

In 2017, St. Thomas hired Julian’s predecessor, Ed Clark, as vice president for Innovation and Technologies Expert services (ITS), main innovation officer and chief digital officer. Clark, who beforehand held the CIO position at Minnesota Condition College, Mankato, was the to start with man or woman of color to believe the CIO place at St. Thomas – at a time when throughout the country Blacks and Hispanics are underrepresented in the industry and in the best purpose. 

In a drop 2022 observe that Clark would be leaving the college to turn out to be CIO at California State College, with 23 campuses, St. Thomas’ Executive Vice President and Provost Eddy Rojas declared “in Clark’s position, Karen Julian – a 30-12 months St. Thomas technological know-how veteran who has led the university’s technical and information teams as a result of various higher-profile assignments – has been appointed interim chief information officer.” 

For the earlier 4 a long time, Julian had served as affiliate vice president and main details officer for the Organization Details and Services section inside ITS.  

“Karen has brought so substantially to St. Thomas around the many years, and her profession path on the way to this advertising has produced her an exemplary chief,” Rojas said in a assertion to the group announcing Julian’s advertising to the long-lasting situation.  

“Most statistics clearly show that as small as 20% of information and facts technological know-how leaders are females,” he additional. “St. Thomas is leading the way and Karen’s marketing is one to be celebrated. I’m so energized to have Karen join what is already a pretty varied and gifted college management group!” 

And Julian is joyful to provide in the prime situation. “I was extremely honored to be requested to the interim part and now to be appointed as CIO,” she explained. “Technology is a strategic lover in definitely anything that we’re performing as a university and I care about the university’s success, and I have a tremendous total of treatment for the folks in this article, and how tricky they get the job done. I am happy to be in this article to assistance them and to assistance them be productive.” 

Julian’s journey from a pupil living in the John Paul II Residence Corridor on campus to the leading ranks of the university, is one particular to be celebrated.  

Retention is a best priority for just about every employer and each individual college, which include for the University of St. Thomas. In actuality, just one of the ongoing priorities published in the St. Thomas 2025 strategic strategy says, “We will keep, bring in and develop best talent, making certain that our staff encounter a sense of belonging, really feel valued for their contributions and can prosper.” 

When the college is in a position to retain college students and subsequently changeover them into whole-time staff article graduation, it is a testament that the college tactics what it preaches. 

“We are fully commited to variety, equity and inclusion and to retention and promotion of our workers and school,” Main Human Assets Officer Kathy Arnold explained. “And in the circumstance of Karen’s marketing, a university student personnel has grown into a college chief – a excellent achievement tale!” 


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