MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Middlebury’s new assistant vice president and chief information officer (CIO) is Vijay Menta, an IT professional with 20 years of experience at Yale University managing application-development teams, implementing infrastructure services, and mitigating security risks. Menta started his career at Yale in 1998 as a consultant and programmer, and worked his way up to manager, director, and, until recently, associate CIO.
As the head of Information Technology Service (ITS) for Middlebury College and the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, Menta now oversees the work of about 55 employees in areas that range from enterprise applications to user services to information security and infrastructure. He started his new job on May 29, 2018.
With the College and the Institute poised to replace Banner SCT as its information management system, Menta has arrived at a crucial time. “We will be replacing Banner less than 12 months from now, and I was excited about the opportunity to come here because I want to be doing the implementation rather than arriving after the fact,” the new CIO said.
Middlebury will transition to administrative software produced by Oracle Corp., and Menta has experience with both Banner and Oracle. In addition, he has firsthand knowledge of Blackbaud, the software Middlebury is planning to implement for fundraising, donor management, and other Advancement Office functions.
“The seven different roles that I filled at Yale have given me the full breadth and depth of knowledge in Information Technology. I am well qualified to lead ITS at Middlebury, and I feel like I will be a great fit for the culture here and the size and aspirations of this institution,” he said.
Menta is currently immersed in an “observation and listening mode,” making a point of conferring with his new colleagues in their environments rather than in his office at Davis Family Library. (After consulting with Communications for this article, he dashed off to the Athletic Center for a meeting with Athletic Director Erin Quinn.) In his consultations across campus—and in Monterey later this year—Menta is always on the lookout for new ways of doing Middlebury’s work more efficiently.
“I am always asking myself, ‘How can ITS add value to everything that Middlebury does, and how can we be a strategic partner with other departments?’” The answers will help Menta create a blueprint for ITS’s future. “This is an exciting time for us in ITS because we have so much going on right now.”
The new vice president of ITS has five people reporting to him: John Grunder for ITS operations at Monterey; David Ludwig for enterprise applications; Carol Peddie for finance, budget, and planning; Petar Mitrevski ’07 for user services; and Chris Norris for information security and infrastructure.
Menta also has a leadership role in the development of Project Ensemble within the Green Mountain Higher Education Consortium composed of Champlain, St. Michael’s, and Middlebury Colleges.
Casting his eye to the future of ITS, Menta said: “I am still formalizing my thoughts, but one thing is very clear to me already. All of the people who work at Middlebury are very committed to their work. Their hearts are in the right place. They want to do their best, but they are constrained by the lack of resources, and they feel like they are being pushed toward only keeping the lights on.
“All institutions of higher education are suffering from budget cuts and resource constraints, so the best thing we can do is provide added value to every service we provide. I am looking for ITS to provide our community with more self-service functions. The user experience should be easy and automated, just like when you reset your PIN at the bank. You don’t have to call the bank’s help desk, do you? That’s the level of service I am looking for us to provide. Behind the scenes, we are working our magic so users don’t feel like they always have to get in the queue to get service from ITS,” he said.
“Middlebury also needs to be ahead of the curve in digital learning and academic technologies,” Menta added, “so I am partnering with Amy Collier [associate provost for digital learning] on providing the services needed to fully support that space.”
Menta, who is married with two daughters, has a natural youthfulness and enthusiasm that puts his colleagues at ease. For now, his wife, Malini, an IT professional with an investment bank, is staying in Connecticut while their younger daughter, Ameya, finishes high school. Their older daughter, Alekya, is a rising sophomore at Tufts University.
The new chief information officer earned a BS in civil engineering at Jawaharlal Nehru Technical University in India before coming to the United States for the first time as a graduate student at Clemson University. “The people at Clemson were very friendly and very welcoming,” he said, “just like the way people have treated me here.”
Menta holds an MS from Clemson in civil engineering and an MBA from the University of New Haven, and he earned plaudits during his two decades at Yale for his collaboration and coordination across diverse user groups.