Michael Olesen

Consortium Director

I am the Rural Information Technology Alliance Consortium Director.  My Bachelor’s Degree is in History from Hamline University and I have a Master’s Degree in Higher Education Administration from St. Cloud State University.   

In January 2014 I retired after over thirty years at the University of Minnesota.  Most recently I was the Chief Information Officer of the University of Minnesota Rochester where I built their information technology infrastructure and established the Biomedical Informatics and Computational Biology research and graduate program.  Prior to being at UMR, I was the Associate Director of the Digital Technology Center and was involved with building collaborative relationships with industry.  Before joining the DTC, I was the Assistant Director of the Supercomputing Institute involved in acquiring and providing high-performance computing resources to the University research community.

In 2012 the UMR software development team, under the leadership of Vice Chancellor Claudia Neuhauser and myself, received the Minnesota High Tech Association TeKne award for its development of the intelligent System for Education Assessment and Learning (iSEAL).  While at UMR the IT staff received the following individual awards:  EDUCAUSE Jane Ryland Fellowship; IT@UMN Outstanding Service Award; U of M IT Spot Awards (4); and University of Minnesota Rochester Outstanding Service Award. 

My goal for RITA is to implement a program that allows for our students to successfully complete programs in the critical areas of computing technology, cybersecurity, networking, applications development, and databases, to support our faculty in developing and providing these programs, and working with industry to define their needs and place our students in rewarding and well-paying jobs.

When I am not working with the Rural Information Technology Alliance, I enjoy cooking for my family and doting over my grandson.