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John Charles named vice president for information systems and technology

New head of IS&T brings more than 20 years of experience as an IT leader at public and private institutions.
John Charles
John Charles

John Charles has been appointed as MIT’s new vice president for information systems and technology, effective Jan. 1. The announcement came yesterday in an email from executive vice president and treasurer Israel Ruiz.

Charles brings more than 20 years of experience as an IT leader, serving both public and private institutions. Most recently, he served as chief operating officer for the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC). Prior to CENIC, he was chief information officer at California State University, East Bay, for 15 years. Before that, he served as director of IT systems, integration, infrastructure, and development at Harvard University.

“I am thrilled to have John as a key member of our senior management team,” Ruiz wrote in his email. “He has the vision and intellect needed to support MIT’s mission today with excellence in technology services and streamlined user experiences for the MIT community.”

“As VP, Charles will lead the IS&T organization in implementing a shared technology vision crafted together with faculty, staff and students in support of MIT’s education, research, and administrative programs,” Ruiz added. “Working with the Information Technology Governance Committee, he will also be a key contributor to the development of information technology policy at MIT.”

“MIT has a remarkable history of advancing its strategic goals through innovation and the effective uses of technology,” Charles said, “so it’s an extraordinary honor and opportunity for me to serve MIT and its talented IS&T organization in this leadership capacity.”

Charles succeeds Marilyn Smith, who headed IS&T from 2009 until earlier this year.

Ruiz expressed his gratitude to Frans Kaashoek, the Charles A. Piper Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, and Anthony Sharon, deputy executive vice president, for their leadership of the search, and to all of the members of the search committee for their dedication and service.

The search committee, co-chaired by Kaashoek and Sharon, conducted an extensive listening tour to gather community input, and included faculty and staff representing research computing, student systems, digital learning, libraries, and administrative systems.

“John sketched a principled and pragmatic IT approach to supporting MIT’s core mission of teaching and research,” Kaashoek said. “We are looking forward to working with him.”

“During the interview process, John described interesting approaches to building a flexible system to support research, scholarship, and student services, as well as an openness to engaging faculty and administrators to craft a vision for IS&T,” Sharon added.

Charles received his BS in engineering science and mechanics, and his MS in engineering science, computer science, and applied mathematics, from the University of Florida.

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