OBERLIN—The college has chosen Benjamin R. Hockenhull, an information technology executive with 20 years of experience in higher education, to be the new chief information technology officer (CITO). His appointment will begin March 1.
Reporting directly to the vice president for finance and administration, Hockenhull is responsible for providing vision, leadership, oversight, and management for the Irvin E. Houck Center for Information Technology. The position supervises six direct reports and oversees an operating budget of about $5.5 million and a staff of 40.
Hockenhull comes from Saint Edward’s University, a private Catholic liberal arts university in Austin, Texas, where he most recently was associate vice president for digital innovation. There, he oversaw a $4.2 million IT budget, vendor/contract management, and IT security. He has also led, in collaboration with the school’s director of instructional and emerging technology, the ongoing development of Saint Edward’s University’s Global Learning Ecosystem—a comprehensive approach to integrating technology, teaching, strategy, and support.
Mike Frandsen, Oberlin’s vice president for finance and administration, says Hockenhull has proven experience in leading change while demonstrating a sophisticated, forward-thinking view of information technology. He has also focused on mentoring and staff professional development.
“Ben rose to the top of a very strong pool because of his experience in leading change, his emphasis on professional development for staff, and his commitment to communication and collaboration across campus,” Frandsen says. “He will bring a great combination of technical, management, and leadership skills to Oberlin. I am confident he will help us utilize technology in support of our educational mission in ways that make the best use of our resources.”
Hockenhull says he was attracted to Oberlin because of its commitment to social justice and academic excellence.
“To be a part of Oberlin, and to actively contribute to the ongoing excellence of an institution with such a compelling academic and societal mission is an extremely exciting opportunity,” he says.
“I see opportunities to provide Oberlin with innovative and relevant technologies that make a difference in the classroom and in the world outside Oberlin. Technology should empower, it should engender creativity, and it should facilitate the work of the academy. With this in mind, we will actively engage with the Oberlin community to better understand how their needs and the services we provide relate. This will help us as we explore how technology can improve the Oberlin experience for everyone.”
Hockenhull earned a bachelor’s in English from the University of Missouri, St. Louis, and a master’s in computer resource and information management from Webster University in St. Louis, where he started his career. He replaces former CITO John Bucher, who retired in December 2016.