Five-Time Speaker Tom Jordan Offers Insights on InCommon BaseCAMP and Beyond

Subscribe for more like this



Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Edited By Apryl Motley, Communications & Technical Writing Consultant, Internet2 

According to several numerology reference texts, the number five signifies curiosity and change. Two words that definitely come to mind as we prepare to welcome five-time speaker Tom Jordan back to InCommon BaseCAMP, June 3-7, 2024.  

A solutions architect at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison), Tom brings a wealth of identity and access management (IAM) experience and expertise to InCommon BaseCAMP 2024. During the last five years, he has shared firsthand observations about the changes happening in the ever-evolving environment for IAM in higher ed and inspired us all with his curiosity about what’s next.

Tom Jordan posing for a photo.

IAM at UW-Madison

“Like many institutions, we have a lot of homegrown IAM infrastructure that manages our identity data aggregation, account provisioning, single-sign on, and other key functions,” Tom explained. “We are working to deconstruct some of these monolithic services to better take advantage of vended products, cloud offerings, and open-source solutions.”

“We rely heavily on Trusted Access Platform components, such as Shibboleth and Grouper, and they provide some unique capabilities that are essential for supporting research and academia,” he continued. “We’re in the midst of evaluating Zero Trust and commercial IAM offerings, while ensuring that we can maintain our unique capabilities around cross-institutional research and academic collaboration.”

Speaking from Experience

Sound familiar? Your institution is facing or will face similar scenarios. At InCommon BaseCAMP 2024, you’ll learn directly from fellow IAM professionals like Tom, who understand your challenges because there are their challenges too. 

As his fifth anniversary as an InCommon BaseCAMP speaker approaches, we asked Tom to share his perspective on its importance as a forum for learning and building community.

BaseCAMP kicks off with your mini workshop on Identity and Access Management Basics. What do you hope attendees will learn?

TJ: My session provides a broad overview of key concepts in IAM. It establishes some common terminology, defines some key strategies, and helps participants understand some of the unique characteristics that make higher education IAM such a challenging and exciting space. In our introductory session, we’ll establish a frame of reference around identity and security that will help guide our learning through the rest of the week. We’ll learn about the core functions that are present in any IAM practice and how they translate into technical building blocks. We’ll also have an opportunity to meet our peers and get a glimpse of how other institutions assemble those building blocks to support their campus IAM practice.

Why are these important topics to cover? 

TJ: Having a broad understanding of the common concepts, terms and strategies will help new (or new to higher ed) IAM practitioners make sense of this complex space and will help prepare them for the rest of BaseCAMP (as well as CAMP and Advance CAMP in the future). It also helps to introduce participants to the amazing higher ed IAM community and to appreciate how much we have in common.

What do you enjoy most about speaking and teaching on IAM topics? 

TJ: I’ve always liked the fact that IAM draws on so many different skills. It requires an understanding of the technologies, but also an understanding of security and data management principles and a fair amount of organizational savvy. It’s great to see folks realize how many translatable skills they already have that can be applied to help advance their IAM practices.

What’s the #1 reason IAM professionals should come to InCommon BaseCAMP 2024? 

TJ: To meet your higher ed IAM community! BaseCAMP is an introduction to the higher ed IAM space, but it’s also an opportunity to meet and hear from peers about the issues they face and how they’re advancing their programs. A large focus of the program is in making connections that will last beyond the week so that learners can engage with the community through other venues like CAMP, Advanced CAMP, and working groups, etc. The ability to engage with other institutions working on similar problems is one of the most valuable parts of BaseCAMP.

Top 5 Things Tom’s Learned After 5 Years of InCommon BaseCAMP

  1. We’re not alone, and the struggle is real. We’re all coming from different places, but the problems that bring us together are very similar.
  2. Bringing folks together helps them to see the similarities through the differences. IAM program composition varies from institution to institution, but there are a core set of practices and competencies that all programs have to meet.
  3. Conversations between participants as they relate their local experiences is some of the most valuable instruction that happens at BaseCAMP.
  4. Keeping it light and fun not only sets people at ease, but helps to reinforce our shared community values around participation, sharing, and belonging.
  5. BaseCAMP is just the beginning of the journey, and I’ll expect to see those new faces again in all sorts of different forums as our attendees share their talents and perspectives with the community.

BaseCamp graphic displaying a campground setting in nature.

InCommon BaseCAMP 2024: Your Hub for Connection, Collaboration, and Conversation

Meet Tom and 20+ other speakers at InCommon BaseCAMP 2024. According to one past attendee, it’s “the single most important series for higher education identity and access management training and community.”

We couldn’t agree more! InCommon BaseCAMP is an immersive, five-day virtual event, empowering R&E IT professionals of all experience levels in IAM. Whether you’re looking to get started with IAM, level up your skill set, or connect with fellow professionals, InCommon BaseCAMP is the perfect pathway to elevate your IAM knowledge while covering the most critical topics to inform the IAM strategy at your institution or organization.

Join Us at InCommon BaseCAMP 2024

  • Don’t miss this opportunity to elevate your IAM journey and be part of a vibrant community of IAM professionals.
  • Check out the 2024 InCommon BaseCAMP program and see what your peers are planning for you. 
  • Register now to secure your spot.