10 Higher Education Influencers to Follow in 2024

Tambellini Group |


photos of 10 Higher Education Influencers to Follow in 2024
Estimated Reading Time: 8 minutes

At the rate of technological change and advancement in higher education, along with internal and external driving forces, it can be challenging to stay abreast of the latest industry trends and insights.

While the expert analysts and advisors at the Tambellini Group help clients get and stay ahead each day, we want to highlight other voices in our industry who are meaningfully contributing to online conversations that advance higher education technology strategy and institutional and educational innovation.

Tom Andriola

1. Tom Andriola

Vice Chancellor for Information Technology and Data, Chief Digital Officer
University of California, Irvine (UC, Irvine)

In his role at UC Irvine, Tom Andriola helps ensure the strategic use of data and technology, drives interdisciplinary partnerships, and champions digital strategies that expand UC Irvine’s role as a leading research university, healthcare provider, and community partner. He regularly shares insights on technology and higher education trends and strategies on LinkedIn and collaborates with other experts as host of the Digital Squared podcast. He increasingly speaks to AI trends and offers pragmatic strategies and considerations for institutions or organizations looking to adopt AI and other advanced technology.

Tambellini Group is fortunate to be collaborating with UC, Irvine and Andriola for the Future Campus™ Summit. To hear him speak in person, be sure to join us June 26–27, 2024 in New York City.

Tom Andriola
microphone icon Digital Squared
newsletter icon Digital Squared

Jon Boeckenstedt

2. Jon Boeckenstedt

Vice Provost, Enrollment Management
Oregon State University (OSU)

Jon Boeckenstedt has more than 40 years of higher education experience and currently oversees OSU’s offices of admissions, financial aid, registrar, scholarships, and degree partnership and pre-college programs. He is an outspoken and analytical enrollment and data management guru. Under his leadership, OSU once again hit another enrollment record in the fall of 2023 for the 27th consecutive year, making it the largest university in the state. Boeckenstedt actively participates in conversations around equality in higher education admissions and enrollment, discount rates, the new FAFSA, and other topics of significance. His data-driven focus comes through in his Higher Ed Data Stories blog.

Jon Boeckenstedt
blog icon Jon Boeckenstedt’s Admissions Weblog
Higher Ed Data Stories

Scott Carlson

3. Scott Carlson

Senior Writer
The Chronicle of Higher Education

Scott Carlson is a veteran journalist who has been a senior writer with the Chronicle of Higher Education since 1999. Carlson covers a range of higher education issues, notably business management, finances, sustainability, trends, and campus planning. His recent articles include, “What’s Really Behind the View That Higher Ed Isn’t Worth It?” and “Why It Can Be So Difficult to Gauge a College’s Financial Health.” On his social media accounts, you can also find Carlson sharing interesting observations and articles and research from lesser-known sources.

Scott Carlson
arrow pointing to right icon The Chronicle of Higher Education

Katie Drummond

4. Katie Drummond

Global Editorial Director

Katie Drummond joined WIRED as its top editor in August 2023. In her role as global editorial director, Drummond leads teams on four continents, overseeing some of the world’s most influential journalism on emerging technology and scientific progress. As she settles into her new role, we expect to see her sharing more of the great content coming out of WIRED. As a speaker, Drummond combines her experience leading organizations through massive shifts in technology with her understanding of cutting-edge advances in AI to explore technology benefits and the implications on creativity and the human experience.

Hear Drummond live at our Future Campus™ Summit, June 26–27, 2024 in New York City.

Katie Drummond
Threads logo @katiedrumm

Becky Frieden

5. Becky Frieden 

Senior Director of Enterprise Applications and Decision Support Systems
New York Institute of Technology (NYIT)

As a senior IT leader at NYIT, Becky Frieden leads a team of developers, data architects, business and data analysts, and project managers and supports enterprise data management and accessibility to enhance university officials’ decision-making power and the user experience. Prior to NYIT, Frieden served as the director of administrative information services at Clark University. Through LinkedIn, Frieden curates content related to data analytics, AI and technology trends, IT strategy, leadership, employee engagement, and more, adding her own perspective, insights, and experience to topical conversations.

We had the pleasure of speaking with Frieden about how to make good business decisions by leveraging technology and people. Watch what she had to say.

Becky Frieden

Vince Kellen

6. Vince Kellen

Chief Information Officer
University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego)

Vince Kellen is an experienced and transformational higher education CIO, who does not take a conventional approach to his role. Kellen applies his decades of academic, business, and strategic IT experience to support cutting-edge approaches that address institutional challenges. Kellen holds a number of accolades: He was inducted into the CIO Hall of Fame, received CIO Magazine’s “Top 100” award twice, and was one of InformationWeek’s “Chiefs of the Year,” among others. He is the author of four books on database technology and more than 250 articles and presentations on IT and business strategy topics. Lately, he has been heavily involved in content around AI technology and the latest trends impacting higher education.

Vince Kellen

Paul LeBlanc

7. Paul J. LeBlanc

President and CEO
Southern New Hampshire University

Paul LeBlanc is known for his leadership at SNHU over nearly two decades, where he transformed the university from a small, local institution to an innovative multi-national player. He pioneered the development of the university’s highly successful online programs, along with multiple initiatives to increase access to underserved students globally. His achievements have earned him recognition as one of the “most influential people in higher education,” according to Forbes Magazine, and one of America’s 10 most innovative university presidents by Washington Monthly. As he steps down from SNHU in June 2024, we expect great innovations from his research and work with AI and learning.

Paul J. LeBlanc
X logo @snhuprez

Ethan Mollick

8. Ethan Mollick

Ralph J. Roberts Distinguished Faculty Scholar
Associate Professor of Management, The Wharton School
Academic Director, Wharton Interactive
University of Pennsylvania

Ethan Mollick is a prominent figure in media, research and discussions around innovation, AI, and entrepreneurship. His social media profiles say it most succinctly, “I am trying to understand what our new AI-haunted era means for work and education” and “democratizing education with games and AI.” His thoughtful coverage and analysis of AI use cases, challenges, opportunities, trends, innovation, and more have made him a “Top Voice” on LinkedIn with more than 98,000 followers on the platform, over 204,000 followers on X (formerly Twitter), and more than 124,000 subscribers to his Substack. You’ll be able to read his latest work when his new book, Co-Intelligence: Living and Working with AI, becomes available on April 2, 2024.

Ethan Mollick
X logo @emollick
One Useful Thing
Substack logo @oneusefulthing

Ben Nelson

9. Ben Nelson

Founder and Chancellor, Minerva University
Chairman and CEO, The Minerva Projects

Ben Nelson is a visionary with a passion to reinvent higher education. He founded Minerva University in 2011 and it has since become one of the most selective and innovative universities in the US, according to WURI rankings. Nelson has since developed the Minerva Project, a company that helps other colleges and universities apply Minerva’s innovative approaches and learning experiences on their campuses. Nelson is regularly interviewed and quoted in articles, vlogs, podcasts, and more about higher education trends and strategies for reimagining higher education in the 21st century.

Ben Nelson

Derek Newton

10. Derek Newton

Journalist and Writer

Derek Newton is an established source for the latest news and developments in higher education, including larger industry trends, technology, and the companies serving colleges and universities. He founded EdTech Chronicle, which publishes education-related news and commentary, in 2015. He is also the author of the Substack newsletter, “The Cheat Sheet,” a regular digest of news, academic research, and developments on academic integrity and cheating. He has been published in major publications, including The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and Forbes, where he is a regular contributor.

Derek Newton
arrow pointing to right icon EdTech Chronicle
Substack logo The Cheat Sheet

You Might Also Like

Share Article:

Tambellini Group |
Tambellini Group is the leading independent technology research, analyst, and advisory firm dedicated exclusively to higher education. Tambellini Group members benefit from more than 100 annual and unbiased research reports that provide insight and analysis on the changing technology landscape. With nearly 5 million data points, including over 20,600 global institutions and more than 100,000 technology selections, the Tambellini Group’s proprietary Education Institution Technology Profile Database® is unparalleled in the industry. Founded in 2001, Tambellini Group is a woman-owned business and a certified Great Places to Work® company.

Other Posts From this Author:

Realize Your Institution's Goals Faster with The Tambellini Group®

Higher Education Institutions


Solution Providers & Investors

market insights

Become a Client of the Tambellini Group.

Get exclusive access to higher education analysts, rich research, premium publications, and advisory services.

Be a Top of Mind Podcast featured guest

Request a Briefing with a Tambellini Analyst

Suggest your research topics

Subscribe to Tambellini's Top of Mind.

Weekly email featuring higher education blog articles, infographics or podcasts.