Liv Gjestvang, Denison’s new chief information officer, has a wide perspective on the technology landscape of higher education — a global view in fact.
Gjestvang joins Denison from her most recent role as a leader in Amazon Web Service’s (AWS) higher education strategy team, where she engaged with college presidents and institutional leaders on digital transformation, with a focus on enriching the student experience, advancing data strategy, modernizing and securing technology infrastructure, and accelerating research.
Previously, Gjestvang served as associate vice president of learning technology at Ohio State University, where she gained a thorough understanding of these issues from a feet-on-the-ground point of view. She holds a bachelor of arts from the University of Chicago.
At Ohio State, Gjestvang’s work centered around student access and success, enterprise learning tools, classroom technology, and innovative teaching, as well as Ohio State’s Digital Flagship initiative, providing free technology and coding curriculum to undergraduates. She oversaw the Affordable Learning Exchange, which saved students $20 million in course content, and worked with clinicians, students, and a team from Apple to build Ohio State: Wellness, an app supporting student mental health and wellness.
Gjestvang looks forward to applying her knowledge and experience at Denison. “This is a particular moment in higher education with acute challenges and possibilities,” she says. “As we find innovative solutions for students, faculty and staff, it’s important to engage the voice of the people we serve.”
“Technology can be transformational in these spaces. During my 15 years at Ohio State, I saw the range of strategic initiatives that technology can support. I look forward to building relationships at Denison that allow the entire community to imagine new ways to learn, teach and work at Denison.”
Denison’s Vice President for Finance and Management David English is enthusiastic about Gjestvang’s influence at the university. “Liv is a tested leader in higher education technology,” he says. “Her work centers around innovation, digital transformation, and student success. Her leadership will be critical to supporting and advancing effective teaching and learning technologies for our students and faculty.”
Gjestvang is looking forward to developing relationships with Denison faculty and co-curricular leaders and working alongside the IT team. “I believe that building a positive culture at work is one of the most important things we can do. I am committed to empowering staff, giving them space to bring their best selves to work, and supporting rapid iteration and positive change. I look forward to working with the team to support teaching and learning, career readiness, wellness, and diversity in alignment with Denison’s strategic plan.”
Gjestvang’s technological bona fides are extensive, which may be surprising if you consider that she attended a liberal arts college and majored in English.
“I’m excited to be at Denison in a liberal arts environment again,” she says. “I’m so impressed at the focus on relationships and the passionate commitment everyone I’ve connected with has demonstrated so strongly.”
“Liv’s values align with Denison’s,” English says. “She is committed to supporting diverse teams, and she has a rich history of leading technology innovations that can positively impact our students, faculty, and staff. Liv is a terrific fit for Denison.”
A little more about Liv Gjestvang:
Under her direction, Ohio State’s Digital First initiative received the New Media Consortium’s Center for Excellence Award in 2013 and Apple’s Distinguished Program status in 2015 and 2019.
Her writing appears in the Global Learning Council Report on Higher Education, the Educause Review, and the Evolution of Affordable Content and has been cited in academic journals and books including Studies in Art Education and Interrupting Hate: Homophobia in Schools and What Literacy Can Do About It.
She served on the Unizin board, led the Big Ten Learning Technology Leaders committee, and was faculty and co-director for the Educause Learning Technology Leadership Institute.
She served on the President’s Council on Racism and Racial Inequity at Ohio State and has written and presented about community media, social justice, college affordability, and transformative leadership across the United States.