Jill currently serves as the Director of Teaching and Learning Innovations at CSU Channel Islands, and acts as the bridge between universities and edtech tools. In this role, she strives to help faculty explore and develop innovative methods of improving student learning and draws on her background and experiences as an educator.
Prior to this role, Jill began her career in higher education as a faculty member and coordinator of the Special Education program. She maintains a passion for student learning and the applied role of innovative technology and digital tools in this space.
LEARN MORE ABOUT JILL’S WORK AND CRITICAL LEARNING MOMENTS:
WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT ROLE AND HOW DOES IT RELATE TO THE WORK WE DO AT MICHELSON RUNWAY?
I am currently the Executive Director of Teaching & Learning Innovations/ Senior Academic Technology Officer at CSU Channel Islands. Our team provides faculty development and support for faculty focused on improving outcomes for students. We also manage academic technology, which we see as imperative to improvements in teaching and learning. I am passionate about getting good tools into the hands of excellent teachers. I have found that many great tools never find their way into the classroom due to a culture clash between the ed tech company and the educational institutions. Educational institutions have been doing great work for a very long time, the last thing they want is a company coming in and telling them how to do their work better.
That said, the world is changing and many of the new tools being developed have the potential to dramatically improve student learning. I would love to see the conversations between these two entities improve with the ultimate goal of improved learning for students. This interest ties in closely with the mission of Michelson Runway.
IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO START YOUR CAREER OVER AGAIN, WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY?
I am not sure there is much I would change in my career. I have been very fortunate to have wonderful mentors that pushed me to take risks and follow the road less traveled. My path from special education teacher, to grad school and on to a career building a new University was amazing. The fact that I have made a leap into higher education administration and edtech shows to me that creating space for the unexpected and following opportunities is a great way to go. Rather than looking at what I would do differently, I prefer to think about my next adventure.
WHAT PROMPTED YOUR INTEREST IN SERVING AS A MENTOR TO EDTECH ENTREPRENEURS AND WHAT SPECIFICALLY EXCITES YOU ABOUT THIS INITIATIVE?
I became interested in serving as a mentor to edtech entrepreneurs when I became involved in making decisions about adopting ed tech tools for our University. It quickly became clear to me that there was a cultural disconnect between the rapidly changing, ever evolving edtech culture and the educational institutions they were aiming to serve. I hope that by being a mentor, I can help ease this divide. I also hope to learn from the edtech entrepreneurs about the preparation college students need to succeed in the tech startup environment.
PLEASE SHARE A QUOTE THAT HAS GUIDED YOUR PERSONAL AND/OR PROFESSIONAL PATH.
It is hard to narrow it down to just one, so I have include two of my favorite.
If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow. –John Dewey
We need to prepare students for their future, not our past. –Ian Jukes
WHAT ADVICE ABOUT LEADERSHIP HAVE YOU GAINED FROM YOUR OWN MENTORS?
I am not sure this was direct advice, but the best guidance and modeling I received was about working with others from my graduate advisor, Dr. Michael Gerber. He led by example and always found a way to lead people to their goals by emphasizing the positive. Building on individuals strengths rather than focusing on weaknesses has guided my work with others ever since.
WHAT’S THE BEST CAREER ADVICE YOU’VE TAKEN AND OFFERED?
The best career advice I have been offered was about how to manage a problem that is beyond your scope of responsibility. I was told to never go to a senior leader, aka a very busy person, with only a problem. When presenting a problem, partner that problem with possible solutions. Bring with you ideas that can help this person solve the problem. Let them know what you would like to see happen and how you can contribute to the solution.
WHAT’S YOUR MORNING RITUAL?
On a good day, my mornings look something like this: Wake up, have coffee, go to Pilates class, get kids ready for school, head to campus, check in with the team and then reluctantly open my email.
On a less wonderful morning…wake up, have coffee, get kids ready for school, go to a meeting, spend some time wishing I had worked out and taken the time to eat breakfast with my family.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE IN YOUR CAREER LONG-TERM AND WHO DO YOU HOPE TO IMPACT?
By the end of my career, I hope to have created opportunities for all types of students to achieve their educational goals. I began my career as a special educator and I believe my years working with people with disabilities allows me to see the diverse and very individual needs of our student population. I am motivated to create an educational space that provides equity and opportunity for all learners. I hope that my the end of my career, I will have impacted how Universities teach so that learning opportunities are improved for less traditional learners.