Joe Way’s First Day of School, Fall 2023 at UCLA

Joe Way’s First Day of School, Fall 2023 at UCLA
(Image credit: Joe Way)

If it’s Tuesday, September 5, 2023, then it is Joe Way’s first day at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) where he’ll join the Information Technology Services leadership team as the executive director of digital spaces. The official announcement was made on August 29, on the UCLA ITS page on LinkedIn.

First, congratulations to you, my friend, for landing this new position. The University of Southern California (USC) and UCLA campuses are only 12 miles apart, but I have a feeling the impact you will make in your new role will be much greater.  

During your four years as the director of learning environments at USC, you’ve been generous with your time and knowledge contributing to AV Technology and Systems Contractor News articles and participating on panels. We appreciate you. 

And now, I have questions, lots of questions!

Davis: What enticed you to make the move to UCLA?
Way: Thank you, Cindy, for the chance to talk about this exciting next chapter in my career. Honestly, I thought USC would be my mic-drop moment. I had no intention of leaving and assumed I’d just ride off into the SoCal sunset from there. And while what my team and I accomplished at USC is nothing short of remarkable and influenced higher ed AV forever, I still feel there’s an opportunity to do more. I had the honor of working with UCLA’s CIO, Lucy Avetisyan, and DCIO, Veronica Garcia, during their tenure at USC. Witnessing incredible leaders like them drive innovation at scale was inspirational, and a huge reason why I was successful there. Having the opportunity to take those lessons learned from our first digital transformation and apply them across an enterprise, and not just the classroom experience, was a challenge that I couldn’t pass up.

Davis: Tell us a bit about the scope of your role and department at UCLA. 
Way: As the #1 ranked public institution of higher education in the United States, UCLA has just begun its revolutionary Reimagine IT and Digital Campus initiatives in order to rethink how IT services can lead the way for the campus community. My role as executive director of digital spaces will offer an opportunity to influence audiovisual innovation across the enterprise for teaching and learning, helping to make UCLA a true best-in-class center-of-excellence. We will be looking beyond the technology installations, and into how we can create a holistic, frictionless experience for the campus community as they interact with each other and the services we provide.

[Pro AV in Education and 4 More Takeaways from the 2023 AV/IT Summit]

Davis: What new challenges excite you?
Way: You know that I am a visionary and love to do things that have never been done before. This is truly an opportunity to do that now for the third time counting my tenure at California Baptist University. I can imagine a truly seamless AV experience for the campus community. This is a challenge that excites me. It’s the process of figuring it out, collaborating with incredible colleagues, and making a true difference in our customer’s lives, that motivates me.

Davis: Have projects been identified that you will be working on immediately?
Way: Yes…. More to come… C’mon, Cindy, I have to keep a little mystery. But as a teaser, in the short run, the team and I will be doing a ground-up evaluation of all services we provide and the associated technology offerings, working with the student and faculty senates, university leadership, and creating a plan to bring the single best AV experience any campus has ever seen, while also doing so in a way that is accessible, sustainable, safe, and fiscally responsible.

Davis: Will you continue to be the Chair of HETMA, and will your involvement change at all?
Way: HETMA is my baby! And I’m still the Chair of HETMA and editor-in-chief of Higher Ed AV until our vice-chair Erin Maher-Moran says she wants to steer the ship and take the reins. In fact, leveraging HETMA—the training, resources, and relationships it provides—will be essential for success in my new role. I’m excited too that our ITS department at UCLA will be hosting the global Times Higher Education Student Success US Summit from November 7-9, 2023, at the Luskin Conference Center, that will include a HETMA Roadshow stop. Don’t miss that! Come hear our plans for the future and how we’re truly reimaging IT. Likewise, we’ll be partnering with Sustainability in AV (SAVe) for other incredible events and training opportunities. So, stay tuned! The fun is just beginning. Our campus, community, and global impact will surely be felt, and UCLA is putting together an incredible leadership team to lead the way.

[What is the Future of AV Technology in Higher Education?]

Davis: Joe, the whole AV/IT industry is cheering you on and awaiting to learn about how you and the Information Technology Services team will be shaping the Reimagine IT and Digital Campus initiatives.

Cindy Davis
Brand and content director of AV Technology

Cindy Davis is the brand and content director of AV Technology (AVT). She was a critical member of the AVT editorial team when the title won the “Best Media Brand” laurel in the 2018 SIIA Jesse H. Neal Awards. Davis moderates several monthly AV/IT roundtables and enjoys facilitating and engaging in deeper conversations about the complex topics shaping the ever-evolving AV/IT industry. She explores the ethos of collaboration, hybrid workplaces, experiential spaces, and artificial intelligence to share with readers. Previously, she developed the TechDecisions brand of content sites for EH Publishing, named one of the “10 Great Business Media Websites” by B2B Media Business magazine. For more than 25 years, Davis has developed and delivered multiplatform content for AV/IT B2B and consumer electronics B2C publications, associations, and companies. A lifelong New Englander, Davis makes time for coastal hikes with her husband, Gary, and their Vizsla rescue, Dixie, sailing on one of Gloucester’s great schooners and sampling local IPAs. Connect with her on LinkedIn