National Student Clearinghouse(R) Announces Two New Appointments to Spearhead Its New Technology Initiatives

Feb 02, 2010, 15:45 ET from National Student Clearinghouse

Thomas O'Dea Named Chief Information Officer; Doug Falk Named Chief Technology Officer

HERNDON, Va., Feb. 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Student Clearinghouse has appointed Thomas O'Dea as its chief information officer (CIO) and Doug Falk as its chief technology officer (CTO). The Clearinghouse, a non-profit organization, provides educational reporting, verification and research services to more than 3,300 colleges and universities and more than 2,500 high schools. Its online services are used extensively by the education finance industry, state and federal education offices, major educational organizations as well as thousands of employers, student service providers, and others. Mr. O'Dea and Mr. Falk are expected to play key roles in planning and executing several major technology initiatives now underway at the Clearinghouse. Both appointments began December 21, 2009.

As the CIO, Mr. O'Dea is responsible for assuring the delivery of innovative, quality, cost-effective and efficient IT service to the Clearinghouse.  This includes developing and overseeing all IT systems and ensuring the Clearinghouse's technology infrastructure supports its operational security needs. In his position as CTO, Mr. Falk will guide the Clearinghouse through the redesign of its enterprise architecture as well as direct the expansion of its research platform ensuring nationwide scalability.

"The demand for the Clearinghouse's educational research, verification, and back-office support services continues to increase steadily. Tom's arrival as CIO and Doug's appointment as CTO will help the Clearinghouse to maximize its technology talent and potential," said Clearinghouse president, Ricardo D. Torres. "As the Clearinghouse enters a critical technological enhancement period, their combined experience will provide the leadership and vision needed to deliver innovative, scalable and secure solutions."

The most critical component of the Clearinghouse's technological transformation is the redesign of its enterprise architecture, including a transition to an Oracle database. The new architecture will provide improved data integration and accessibility and be highly scalable, allowing the Clearinghouse to more easily implement new services and enhancements, like on-demand reporting and analytics. At the same time, the Clearinghouse is rebuilding and expanding its research platform. Upon completion, it will provide, for the first time ever, secondary data collection and reporting to all 50 states and within all levels of education administration: state, district and individual school. In addition, the Clearinghouse's new national research platform will enable nationwide longitudinal studies to be performed while protecting the privacy of individuals and institutions.

"This is an exciting time to be joining the Clearinghouse team. Increased demand and expansion of our service offerings create the need for new processes and technology, and the opportunity for our professional staff to expand their skills. We're embracing Agile development in implementing the new enterprise architecture, and I'm thrilled to be able to lead our IT team as we take Clearinghouse information technology to the next level in terms of quality, capabilities and security," said O'Dea.

"I welcome the opportunity to focus on the strategic direction of the Clearinghouse's technology platform. We have made great strides over the past 18 months in creating an architecture that will support our growth, and I look forward to continuing that work. We are well poised to provide enhanced data management, verification and reporting services, including a new state-of-the-art research platform," said Falk.

Mr. O'Dea has more than 20 years of IT experience, including application development, systems planning, operations and client relationship management. Before joining the Clearinghouse, he was the president and owner of TOD Marketing LLC, an Internet marketing consulting business. Mr. O'Dea has also worked for Convergys Corp. as the vice president of Client Solutions and for Sprint PCS as the vice president of Information Technology. He has a B.S. in Computer Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an executive business certification from Indiana University.

Prior to being named CTO, Mr. Falk was the Clearinghouse's long-time vice president of Information Technology and CIO. He was instrumental in developing the Clearinghouse's Web-based enrollment and degree verification services, the largest in the U.S. Before joining the Clearinghouse, Mr. Falk spent 10 years in IT at Sallie Mae.  Mr. Falk has an M.S. in information systems technology from George Washington University and an undergraduate degree in computer information systems from DeVry Institute of Technology.


The National Student Clearinghouse (a non-profit formed in 1993) is the unique and trusted source for higher education enrollment and degree verifications.  The Clearinghouse serves as a single point of contact for the collection and timely exchange of accurate and comprehensive enrollment, degree and certificate records on behalf of its more than 3,300 participating higher education institutions, which represent over 92% of the national enrollment.

Through its verification and reporting services, the Clearinghouse saves higher education institutions cumulatively more than a hundred million dollars annually.  Most Clearinghouse services are provided to colleges and universities at little or no charge, including enhanced transcript and research services, enabling institutions to redistribute limited staff and budget resources to more important student service efforts.  All Clearinghouse services are operated in full compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

In addition, the Clearinghouse provides accurate FERPA compliant verifications to student loan providers, employers, student credit issuers, student health insurance providers, the U.S. Department of Education, and others who access its registry more than 100 million times annually.  

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SOURCE National Student Clearinghouse