As we enter the 21st century, the organizational role of IS continues to expand and evolve at a dizzying pace. An understanding of and appreciation for that role is becoming mandatory for all managers and executives, not just IS professionals. This paper first determines a generally agreed upon high-level conceptualization of the strategic role IS plays in organizations. It then proceeds to develop and empirically test an instrument and technique (Structural Equation Modeling, or SEM) designed to measure college students' normative perception of that role. The contributions are twofold. First, the instrument can be used to help evaluate how well future business managers and executives truly understand and recognize the value of IS to the organization. This has long-term implications for organizational productivity. Second, the approach can be used as an indicator of educational quality by assessing the extent to which a concept has crystallized within students (deep learning), as opposed to short-term retention and recall (surface learning). This has implications beyond the study of IS roles.