Berman to leave OIT for MCLA

After nearly two decades at the Office for Information Technology (OIT), Mark Berman will be stepping down as Director of Networks and Systems on Dec. 5 to serve as the Chief Information Officer at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA).
Berman was hired in February of 1991 to serve as the College’s Director of Technical Services. At that time, “there was really no network [on campus],” he said. Berman, thus, played an integral role in designing and installing the College’s first fiber-optic system, what he views to be one of his biggest accomplishments during his tenure. Berman oversaw “many, many changes during his long history here,” said Dinny Taylor, Chief Technology Officer. “There was barely a Web when he started.”
In his current position, Berman heads Networks and Systems (NetSys), a department that maintains the College’s network and related infrastructure and supports the three other groups within OIT: Desktop, Instructional Technology and Administrative Systems. According to Taylor, Berman is also the one who deals with the two or three middle-of-the-night emergencies each year. If the air conditioning breaks and computers are in danger of overheating, for example, Berman is the one who receives the 3 a.m. phone call.
By his own assessment, Berman is “not as well known among the student body today.” He recalled a time a few years ago when rumors started circulating that Berman actually did not exist despite his frequent all-campus e-mails about network problems. That spring, partly as a result of these conspiracy rumors, he chose to participate in the Jewish Religious Center’s Latke-Hamentaschen Debate to confirm his existence.
Berman will assume his new post at MCLA soon after he leaves Williams. Taylor called it “a great opportunity for him” and Berman said that although he didn’t know much about MCLA until recently, “it’s really a pretty cool place.”
Taylor has sent a request to the Provost and Director of Human Resources to fill the vacancy Berman will leave in a few weeks.
Due to the College’s current financial situation, she is unsure of when the post will be filled, but called it a “critical position that takes unusual expertise” and said that she “hope[s] very much he will be replaced.” Even if the request were immediately filled, however, a national search for Berman’s replacement would not start until January, so it is unlikely that anyone would be hired until May.
In the meantime, Taylor plans to take on some of Berman’s management responsibilities herself and appoint leaders to various of his other projects.
She called the NetSys staff “a very strong, very knowledgeable group” and said that she is currently working with Berman to put together a list of ongoing projects and their respective point people to prepare for his departure.
Berman is also preparing the budget for next year well in advance of the deadline in order to ease the transition. “I had lots of plans for the next few years,” he said. “I’d like to leave things running smoothly.”