Hillsdale College’s new exec­utive director of Infor­mation Tech­nology Ser­vices said he is looking to further the college’s mission and values through tech­nology after he started work in July.

Jason Sherrill takes over after the former director, David Zenz, retired in the spring. He said his goals for Hillsdale’s ITS department include reaching more con­stituents for the college’s online classes and finding new ways to employ classroom tech­nology. As a security expert, Sherrill said he also hopes to ensure the college’s data is safe but also not a road­block for users.

“Not only do we have the oppor­tunity to accom­plish what I believe is a very sig­nif­icant mission, but tech­nology gets to play a pretty sig­nif­icant role in that,” Sherrill said.

Prior to Sherrill’s position at Hillsdale, he founded a Detroit-area software devel­opment company, which spe­cialized in high-security software devel­opment. He also helped develop a content man­agement system that allowed com­panies’ mar­keting teams to build the tools they needed for e‑commerce while still keeping the com­puter code under the control of the tech­nology department.

Chief Admin­is­trative Officer Rich Péwé said Sherrill’s expe­rience in these areas made him an appealing can­didate for the position of ITS director.

“He dealt with just about every IT issue imag­inable for his clients,” Péwé said in an email. “This, above all, made him a most attractive can­didate.”

Sherrill said the college’s mission, as well as the potential for tech­nology to help extend the college’s out­reach, sparked his interest.

“Working with stu­dents that are going out and starting in life with similar values to my own is very sat­is­fying,” Sherrill said. “That piece of it was intriguing to me. I enjoyed so many of the people that I worked with in the past 20 years, but there’s some­thing at a deeper level that feels very dif­ferent working in an insti­tution with the goals and mission of Hillsdale.”

Although Sherrill said he was first hes­itant to enter into academia, a field with which he had little expe­rience, he said he’s looking forward to applying his tech­no­logical and business expertise in new ways.

“As an entre­preneur and business owner, he’s attuned to the need for inno­vation,” Provost David Whalen said. “We expect great things, but he’s not here to create earth­quakes. His fresh per­spective is valuable, espe­cially in things like the website. These kinds of things develop organ­i­cally, and we’re very excited to have him on board.”

Sherrill said he looks forward to spreading the college’s mission through his work in the ITS department, where he will be able to apply his expertise in a new envi­ronment.

“It’s an oppor­tunity to try some­thing dif­ferent that I think will be very, very rewarding,” he said.