CIO Cohort Program: Overview and Curriculum

Woman with her shadow wearing a cape.

The days of a Chief Information Officer (CIO) being just a technology and systems expert are over. Today’s CIO is expected to be an influential strategic leader which requires both an organizational and individual commitment.

Government departments and agencies want their CIOs to be ready for C-suite responsibilities. Whether moving from a CS or EX category into the ranks of a CIO, or an existing CIO moving into a larger and more complex organization, the CIO Cohort certificate is a mark of accomplishment and indication of readiness to offer strategic thinking and problem-solving skills required of a modern CIO.   The CIO Certificate Cohort , developed in close cooperation with current and former CIOs in government and industry to help emerging CIOs build skills and experiences in preparation for enhanced leadership responsibilities in a dynamic and complex work environment, caters to the learning needs of:

  • CIOs in small- to mid-sized government departments and agencies
  • Deputy CIOs
  • Emerging leaders with business acumen and CIO potential
  • Aspiring CIOs in the private sector

The learning program provides an environment in which participants learn from and engage with seasoned experts from academia, government and industry.  In addition to four full-day leadership workshops and the professional practice day, the program includes a simulation exercise allowing participants to present and defend a business case proposal. This is in addition to a series of half-day action learning sessions where small groups discuss practical work challenges. All workshops include:

  • The CIO at the Executive Table
  • CIO as Team Builder and Coach
  • Performance Management of the CIO
  • Change Management for the CIO
  • Client Service for the CIO
  • Success and Failure - the CIO Experience
  • Making a Business Case in the CIO world

Curriculum Overview 

Please note that the format for the upcoming cohort will be flexible. Due to the Covid 19 Pandemic, we are working on adapting it to a blended delivery format, which will include online distance learning in the Fall, and in-person workshops as of January 2021. Should the University of Ottawa not be able to open its campus come January 2021, we will adapt the in-person workshops to a distance learning format.

*Schedule and dates are subject to change.

Schedule 2020-2021

Lumina Leader 

Instructions sent: October 30, 2020

Deadline to Complete: November 6, 2020

November 16, 2020

Program launch
Introductions and program overview
Discussion of self-assessement results

Leadership Workshop 1
November 30, 2020
9:00 am - 4:00 pm

An exploration of the role of the CIO, the demands placed on the position and the requirements of the individual.

Leadership Workshop 2
January 5, 2021
9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Senior management oral briefings workshop to further develop the “Create Vision and Strategy” competencies.

Leadership Workshop 3
February 1, 2021
9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Leadership workshop to further develop the “Mobilize People” competencies.

Leadership Workshop 4
April 15, 2021
9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Success and failure workshop – A CIO’s role in exploring IT challenges.

April 22, 23, 2021
8:45 am - 12:15 pm

Participants present and defend a business case proposal before a mock executive committee.

Action Learning Circles
Jan, Feb, March, April

Small groups discuss practical work challenges in four half-day sessions.

Developmental Assignments
Throughout the program

On-the-job learning activities.

Professional Practice & Graduation Day
May 3, 2021
9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Interaction with government and private sector CIOs. Participant’s sponsors and supervisors are invited to attend.

*Dates subject to change



Learning Themes

The CIO Institute of Professional Development is focused on enhancing leadership skills in four primary areas:

  • Leveraging influence at the executive table
  • Leading a team and managing talent
  • Building and sustaining client relationships
  • Leading change and innovation

Mixed with these core skills are the overarching themes of:

  • Driving continuous innovation
  • Understanding business integration
  • Developing strategic thinking

Within the four learning themes participants will be exposed to material and topics in a variety of areas, including:

  • Communication
  • Sourcing and Delivery Methods
  • Industry Trends and Best Practices
  • Performance Management
  • Financial Management
  • Leveraging Systems
  • Risk Analysis and Management
  • Partnership
  • Opportunity Assessment

Certificate Program

Upon completion of the program, participants will be granted a University of Ottawa Certificate of Professional Development, which will serve to recognize newly acquired skills, potential and accomplishment.

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