July 2

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In March, as COVID-19 started to circle the globe, higher education institutions around the world had to confront physical campus closures and huge disruptions to teaching and learning. Immediately, leaders had a critical need for distance learning infrastructure and communication and collaboration solutions to ensure education operations could continue.

Some institutions already had much of this infrastructure in place, while others had to quickly procure necessary resources. While no one knows what the future holds or what the new normal of higher education will be, we do know there have been critical lessons learned in the past several months.

The Center for Digital Education is proud to partner with Cisco on a one-of-a-kind webinar on July 2 at 11 a.m. Pacific/2 p.m. Eastern, which will feature multiple university leaders from North and Latin America. Each will share how they were able to quickly respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, pivoting to efficiently deliver distance learning by leveraging collaboration and other solutions.


Francisco José Arenas Ballester

Francisco José Arenas Ballester

Innovation and Learning Director and Operation Management Department Head of Instituto Panamericano de Alta Dirección de Empresa (IPADE Business School)

Francisco Arenas is the Founder and current Head of The Innovation and Learning Department at IPADE Business School. He has been in charge of connecting technological and educational partners with IPADE, designing and implementing experiential learning methodologies for the Business School and designing and reshaping academic programs (online, blended and in-person) according to the future of education. Prior to being part of the IPADE Francisco has held several roles as a consultant, Marketing Director, and General Manager from different companies for pharmaceutical and retail industries. IPADE website: https://www.ipadebusinessschool.com/

Irving Bruckstein

Irving Bruckstein

Chief Information Officer & Chief Information Security Officer, Salve Regina University

A dynamic business technology executive with diverse experience. Emphasis on identifying synergies and opportunities for achieving costs savings and superior service levels via improved business/process/technology efficiencies on a global scale. Irv has a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science & mathematics, as well as a Master of Science with focus on information security. Irv has global expertise in leading very large scale higher education technology programs.

Renee Patton

Renee Patton

Global Education and Healthcare Director, Cisco

Renee Patton is the global leader of the Education and Healthcare Industries at Cisco. She and her team help education and healthcare institutions envision the future of learning and care and execute on their vision today. With over 25 years of business, management, sales, and marketing leadership experiences in both small start-ups and large corporations, Renee has managed through adversity and diversity to help organizations realize technology solutions that drive business outcomes.

Including a Master’s Degree in Education from Stanford University, Renee has spent 23 years in education, giving her a clear perspective to address business issues and changing landscapes. Always a curious learner herself, it was after earning her undergraduate degree that she became a high school English and French teacher. She then spent four years on the district side managing policy and a $20M budget for Los Gatos-Saratoga JUHS Board of Trustees, learning firsthand how a district runs and understanding regional challenges.

Prior to joining Cisco full time, she ran her own marketing consulting firm for seven years, working with agility to develop strategy and customize marketing programs and projects to meet client needs.

After seven years at Siemens serving as the key global marketing interface with Munich and managing national sales programs, Renee joined Cisco to lead US Education Field Marketing and manage their national E-rate Program. She then served as Global Industry Vertical Team Manager and Marketing Education Lead within Cisco Corporate Marketing where she was responsible for content marketing, positioning, and strategy. Later, she developed and executed the education industry strategy for Cisco within US Public Sector and led an international cross-functional team to expand Cisco’s influence across the globe. In her current role, she is the primary spokesperson for Education and Healthcare at Cisco and leads a global team, helping deliver $5B of education and healthcare sales per year.

Renee is excited about the future of both education and healthcare and the trends driving massive shifts in how always-connected people are learning and delivering care today. Working with customers, Renee helps deploy technology that addresses new approaches and supports ways to better engage people, expand access, prepare providers, secure institutions, and improve efficiency.
She is particularly interested in the role of culture in organizations and taking integral coaching approaches that help leaders, teams, and companies to succeed.
Renee is a Lions’ Club Member, a mentor for the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center, and involved in her local community. She holds a B.A. degree in English with a minor in French from Santa Clara University and an M.A. in Education from Stanford University.

Ricardo Santos

Ricardo Santos

Latin America Industry Business Development Lead, Cisco Systems

Presently leads the Industry Business Development programs for Cisco Systems in Latin America for Education, Healthcare and Retail markets, and has been with Cisco since 2000. During over 30 years has worked in the IT and Telecom industries across Latin America, supporting Organizations and Partners on how digital technologies can transform their processes and support business operations. As an Academic for the past 20 years, has focused on Teaching and Research in the areas of Digital Business Transformation, Strategic Planning and Marketing. Holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from Duke University (USA) with specialization programs in Advanced Management from INSEAD (France)

Steven Zink

Steven Zink — Moderator

Senior Fellow, Center for Digital Education

Steven Zink is an emeritus faculty member at the University of Nevada, Reno, where he served as the University’s first Vice President of Information Technology, while simultaneously serving as Dean, University Libraries. During his lengthy tenure at the University, Zink assembled a vibrant hybrid organization of information professionals, ranging from specialists in instructional technology to librarians to information technology professionals. In 2008, the physical manifestation of the organization was realized with the opening of the widely acclaimed 300,000 square foot Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center.  From 2011-2016, he served as Vice Chancellor for the Nevada System of Higher Education, the coordinating body over all public institutions of higher education in Nevada. 

Zink holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in history, an M.L.S., and a Ph.D. in information systems science. He is the author of four books and over 120 publications. For 20 years, Zink served as chief editor of an Elsevier-Science bimonthly journal on information policy; he remains a long-time editorial board member of other scholarly journals.

Zink is a multiple NSF grant awardee as well the recipient of numerous honors, recognition, and awards for his publications and professional service. He is a frequent speaker/instructor in the areas of information technology and management, as well as information policy and has served as a consultant to numerous publishers, information services and technology firms, government agencies, universities, and higher education libraries.