OSU names former Stanford exec as new Information Services leader


CORVALLIS, Ore. – Lois Brooks, who directed the academic computing enterprise for 11 of her 25 years at Stanford University, has been named the new vice provost for Information Services at Oregon State University.

As vice provost, she will oversee the university’s vast information technology network and infrastructure that is critical to student learning, OSU’s vibrant research activity, and administration. With annual expenditures of some $40 million, information technology is a rapidly growing, complex and vital part of Oregon State University and its land grant mission.

Brooks will succeed Curt Pederson, who served as vice provost for Information Services for the past 14 years. Pederson helped address a difficult fiscal situation in Information Services upon his hiring in 1997, then led the development of the Open Source Laboratory at OSU and has been an integral part of a team leading the implementation of the university’s new IT governance process. He also helped develop the infrastructure and support for the “5th Site,” which provides IT needs for the Chancellor’s Office and the four regional campuses.

The transition to Brooks’ leadership will take place over the next few months, OSU officials say, with Pederson remaining at OSU to focus on strategic IT initiatives.

“Lois Brooks helped guide Stanford through huge growth in its academic computing and was able to build a collaborative, efficient and cost-effective program through innovation and partnerships,” said Sabah Randhawa, OSU provost and executive vice president. “That experience will serve Oregon State University well as we continue to expand our IT capabilities and implement the new IT governance process.”

A graduate of the University of San Francisco, Brooks went on to earn MBA degrees from the University of California at Berkeley and Columbia University. She joined Stanford’s IT team in 1984, working in information and medical graphics, then begin to rise through the management ranks. In 1998, she took over as director of academic computing, overseeing an $18 million annual operation that provides technology services, software development and support to Stanford students and faculty.

In 2009, Brooks was invited to assume executive leadership of the Sakai Foundation on an interim basis through June of this year while it went through reorganization. The foundation is a non-profit corporation engaged in the collaborative design, development and distribution of open-source software for education, research and scholarly activities.

“It's an honor to join Oregon State University,” Brooks said.  “OSU has a strong track record in excellent research and teaching, as well as a deeply engaged community of student, faculty and staff.  Information Technology is a critical component of teaching and academic research, and I look forward to working with the OSU community to develop and deliver an innovative vision for technology that promotes teaching and research in the years to come.”

OSU has been a leader among Oregon University System institutions for information technology and houses much of the IT infrastructure and administration for OUS’s 5th Site. The university also has some significant technology challenges; in addition to operating the state’s only branch campus in Bend, it has Extension offices in many counties, operates the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport; has a network of agricultural experiment stations throughout Oregon, and has one of the state’s fastest growing enrollments with 24,000 students.

The university’s vast research enterprise, which last year topped $275 million, also has growing IT needs, Randhawa pointed out. OSU leads international programs that include ocean observing platforms, satellite data transmission, climate change models, forest and agricultural monitoring, and other data-intense fields that “require robust and state-of-the-art infrastructure and nimble management.”

“Information technology is critical to address the learning, research and outreach goals of 21st-century research universities,” Randhawa said, “and we feel fortunate to have Lois Brooks leading us into the future.”