Interview with Theresa Rowe, Treasurer of the Board of Apereo Foundation

Apereo Foundation Fast September 2022: Theresa Rowe

Theresa Rowe


Theresa Rowe is an experienced Chief Information Officer and consultant. She is also an independent strategic IT consultant and leadership coach. She is especially interested in strategic IT planning, leadership professional development, and the building of a successful and strategic IT organization. She received the Educause Community Leadership Award in 2014 and served as the coordinator for the Educause CIO Constituent Group from 2006 to 2015. She previously served on the board of Merit Network and on the REN-ISAC Steering Committee. Theresa was named a Top 30 Technologists, Transformers, & Trailblazers by the Center for Digital Education in 2015. She was named a 2017 Premier 100 Technology Leader by Computerworld. Leadership experience includes creating evergreen strategic plans, leading successful governance models, developing and executing network plans, upgrading data-center facilities, implementing ERP systems, and implementing open-source solutions.


Prior to becoming a consultant in 2019, Rowe spent 28 years at Oakland University. She served as Chief Information Officer for 17 years of her tenure at Oakland. Her responsibilities included policy development, governance, sourcing direction and oversight of the systems, network and technical architecture, and organizational professional development. Rowe was also an Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Engineering and Computer Science, where she taught courses related to project management, professionalism, and professional ethics.

Rowe served on the Apereo Board of Directors from 2013 - 2018 and as Board chair from 2014-2015.  

Rowe earned her A.B. degree in Economics from the University of Michigan - Dearborn and she earned her M.P.A. from Oakland University.


AFF:  Treasurer Rowe, Thank you for joining us for this introductory interview, and welcome back to Apereo Foundation.

TR:  Thank you very much for the welcome. It’s good to be involved in such an important initiative and organization and I’m happy to be back.


AFF:  The last time that you were on the board of directors you were still working in higher education and have since transitioned to independent contracting. Please tell us about your business and what sort of work you are doing now. 

TR:  I do one-to-one personal coaching and consultation for IT leaders, particularly in higher ed and non-profits. I am a non-judgmental listener and advisor for people who need to talk about strategy and leadership with someone outside their organization.


AFF:  What do you enjoy most about working with the Apereo Foundation? 

TR:  I love the creative energy that comes from the partnership that is in every Apereo project.  Apereo has a history of collaborative innovation that adds real value to member organizations.


AFF:  Treasurer Rowe, could you give us an example of how you’ve seen the Value of Apereo applied to member organizations?

TR:  Apereo works to involve campus organizations and community members in a high-engagement model. For example, Sakai has innovated from feedback from faculty. Some organizations that use uPortal have even engaged student employees in development so that the product becomes part of the university learning fabric. CAS has grown beyond higher ed and is an international solution used in a wide array of organizations. Apereo provides reasonable solutions, targeted to community needs and designed with community engagement.


AFF:  Treasurer Rowe, I know you are fairly new to the position but could you share with the community what the Board Treasurer’s role is and does for the community?

TR:  The Board Treasurer is an ex-officio (non-voting) Board officer that works with the Foundation’s Director and the Board to “ensure sound operational and strategic oversight and management.” The Board Treasurer also is an important liaison with the Apereo Accountant, Laura Graves, and the Controller, Phyllis Dobbs. Working with the Finance Committee, the treasurer recommends actions to provide for the ongoing solvency of the organization and to ensure that adequate controls are in place. Important components are reviewing financial statements, developing and reviewing budgets, and recommending financial policies for review and approval by the Board. Accuracy and transparency of financial activities are important to build trust. In this role, I am an advisor to board members on issues of fiscal responsibility and strategic thinking about financial vitality. 


AFF:  What are your primary goals for Apereo over the next twelve months?

TR:  We are working through a detailed review and restructuring of all the financial transactions of record and accounting practices. This is needed to assess organizational capacity and direction for the next several years. We hope to develop a strong budget framework to guide financial management. It was time for a thorough review and to make sure that the financial organization is aligned with and ready to support new directions from the Board.


AFF:  In what ways can the Apereo community support your work as Treasurer?

TR:  As an advisor to, and non-voting member of, the Board, I am in an independent position to hear any concerns about financial activities from the Apereo community. It’s important to have the trust of the community. I am happy to hear questions and concerns from members of the community.

AFF:  Thank you, Treasurer Rowe, tremendously for taking the time to be interviewed, and thank you for your service to the community! 


Fast Reminders: 
Treasurer Rowe can be reached via email at theresa.rowe[at]apereo[dot]org

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Would you like to nominate someone to be interviewed for Apereo Foundation Fast? Please email your suggestions to michelle.hall[at]apereo[dot]org