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Whitworth gains chief information officer, office of institutional effectiveness

May 9, 2014

Ken Brown
Whitworth President Beck A. Taylor announced Wednesday that the university’s current director of information systems, Ken Brown, has been appointed as the university’s chief information officer and will lead the newly formed office of institutional effectiveness. Brown will begin serving in his new role on July 1 and will report to Vice President for Finance and Administration Gerry Gemmill.

Whitworth Director of Institutional Research Gary Whisenand will move from the office of academic affairs to the newly formed office, where he will continue in his current role.

“The establishment of the new office will allow us to take a broader, more institution-wide view of what is going on and set up a clearing house for data analysis and predictive analysis,” Brown says.

Taylor explains that the reorganization of Brown’s and Whisenand’s positions was done primarily to strategically align the work each of them was already doing into a single, cohesive effort. Going forward, Brown will work more closely with the president’s office and cabinet to bring relevant, timely information resources into decision making regarding benchmarking, predictive analysis and strategic planning for the institution.

“Higher education generally, and Whitworth specifically, are facing new volatility and uncertainty,” Taylor says. “Familiar patterns and historical norms are showing up less frequently, and they are being replaced by new and unusual outcomes.” Enrollment management, student success, academic programming, fundraising, and business processes are university functions that have experienced great change over the last five years. Taylor says the office of institutional effectiveness will play a key role in analyzing these changes and offering data to help respond, greatly contributing to the long-term health of the institution.

Taylor says Brown brings a host of talents and experiences that enable him to lead Whitworth’s efforts toward institutional effectiveness. “Ken’s work with our enrollment team and institutional advancement, not to mention his support of the Whitworth 2021 strategic plan, has demonstrated the value we expect to extend to the entire campus through the new office of institutional effectiveness.”

Whisenand, who has served as director of institutional research since 2005, says he looks forward to streamlining the work he and Brown each do into a unified entity. Their areas of expertise aligned together will better serve Whitworth, he says.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Gerry Gemmill, vice president of finance and administration, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4304 or

Lucas Beechinor, media relations manager, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or