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Dr. Polley Ann McClure Scholarship in Management Information Systems

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Since receiving his graduate degree, Dr. Wayne Brown has routinely made a practice of conducting research on technology leadership in higher education. It was during this routine research that Brown discovered that Dr. Polley Ann McClure was using his research as recommended reading for a course she was teaching about professional development for higher education IT leaders. What began as a chance discovery soon developed into a close partnership. In fact, it was Dr. McClure’s use of Brown’s research that inspired him to create the nonprofit Center for Higher Education Chief Information Officer Studies, Inc., “to contribute to the education and development of the chief information officer in higher education.” McClure served on CHECS’s first board, and she and Brown have continued to stay in touch, often collaborating on research and articles.

At The University of Texas, Brown established the Dr. Polley Ann McClure Scholarship in Management Information Systems, which was approved by the Board of Regents in 2013. While the scholarship is open to all undergraduates in the Department of Information, Risk, and Operations Management pursuing a Management Information Systems (MIS) degree, Brown has indicated that preference should be given to recipients interested in furthering the role of women and/or minorities in the area of MIS. This is a testament to Brown’s insight and understanding of the CIO career path, as he acknowledges that “we don’t reflect the people we serve”.

McClure says, “I am greatly honored that this scholarship has been created in my name. I’m honored that colleagues have respected and appreciated my work in this way. I love UT, and I hope that the scholarship will help young women realize the career of their choice in information technology. It is still pretty much a male profession, but there is no good reason for that! Young women contribute in very important ways, and I hope the scholarship makes that an easier choice.”

The overarching theme of Brown’s work is the need for information and resources dedicated to more clearly defining a career path for chief information officers. While the professional development of CIOs is largely uncharted territory, Brown has dedicated his work and research to ensuring that the next generation of CIOs have readily available resources and opportunities for scholarships, résumé review, webinars, and more. “Current first-generation CIOs are retiring at a high rate, and qualified replacements are needed,” he says. “A master’s degree is now mandatory to become a CIO. Make the most of [your education]. Finish your education.”

Brown has gone on to achieve great successes in the information technology field since his graduate school days, from serving as vice president for information technology at Excelsior College to creating the Center for Technology Leadership, an Excelsior-based professional development and training center for chief information officers. He earned his B.S. and MBA (with an IT emphasis) from Wayland Baptist University in 1995 and 1996, respectively, and received his Ed.S. and Ph.D. in computing technology in education from Nova Southeastern University in 2003 and 2004, respectively. Brown was also recognized as the United States Air Force Air Mobility Command Medical Information Systems Officer of the Year.

McClure received a B.A. and Ph.D. in zoology from UT Austin and spent the first part of her career teaching ecology and evolutionary biology and conducting research into the evolution of animal life history traits. She began her second career as a leader and manager of university information technologies organizations in the early 1980s and currently serves as Vice President Emeritus at Cornell University.

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