West Virginia Wesleyan College has hired Traci Probst of Weston, WV as Instructional Technology Specialist to round out the Title III team, created according to the College’s receipt of the $10M grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP).
The program helps eligible institutions of higher education to become self-sufficient and expand their capacity to serve low-income students by providing funds to improve and strengthen the academic quality, institutional management, and fiscal stability. In order to accommodate the award’s initiatives, Wesleyan was required to hire five new staff positions, with Probst’s position being the final hire.
Probst comes to Wesleyan from the Lewis County school system where she served as the technical integration specialist.
“This position is very similar to my last,” stated Probst. “I became interested in higher education when my son went to college and had a difficult time understanding Blackboard. I also had friends in higher education who did not know how to use classroom responders, for example. I really felt compelled to shift gears and kick in to facilitate growth.”
Over her career, Probst worked a variety of adjunct teaching positions at Glenville State College, Fairmont State University, and Wesleyan.
“I love Wesleyan, the campus, and students, faculty, and staff,” Probst commented. “Coming back to Wesleyan is amazing. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to be here in a capacity that comes at a time when history will be created as we add more technology, renovate classrooms, and assist faculty in engaging students with innovative lessons. It is all very exciting.”
As part of Title III responsibilities, Probst will be working closely with faculty to implement new technologies for the classroom, as well as expand upon some existing technologies the school offers.
Creating blending learning environments on Blackboard will be a priority. She is already learning the Ellucian Go app and researching how to implement a mobile app for the Wesleyan community, as well as how to work with faculty to flip their courses.
“Flipping the classroom simply means that professors will prepare video recordings of lectures for students to watch outside the classroom,” explained Probst. “That way, class time will be spent on problem solving, one-on-one help, small group discussions, and learning time. Essentially, you are allowing for homework time during class while the instructor is there to assist and offering online lecture time during other hours for the student to watch.”
This philosophy has been around for over five years and is something Probst helped implement in her previous role.
“Class time now has the opportunity to become that quality one-on-one time,” she said. “This allows professors to plan lessons where students think more deeply about the curricula. Faculty can create problem-based learning situations more easily with their students. Educators feel like they have more guided learning experiences with students.”
Probst also has plans to create a YouTube channel where she will record lessons on how to use Blackboard, create Wiki and blogs, and utilize best practices for communication with students.
“It is most important for the faculty to know that my job is to help them learn new technology, but also to explore other technologies to improve communication, collaboration, and student success,” commented Probst. “I am happy to do the research and work with faculty to add technologies that, perhaps, they have always wanted to try but needed further support to do so.”
Probst is excited to be a part of the new endeavors at Wesleyan.
“At Wesleyan, everyone seems to take the time to communicate and problem-solve,” stated Probst. “I see this to be extremely successful. The faculty has been in touch with me about what they would like to learn. The relationships here are strong, intellectual, and research-based which propels the college forward. Everyone is so open to ideas and new ways of teaching.”
Within the scope of her position, Probst will be returning to the classroom as an adjunct faculty teaching education courses. This is important, she explains, because working with students and technology in a real-time classroom setting will help her formulate the best technology practices for Wesleyan.
“It is important for me to practice technology in the classroom with students,” she explained. “I need to find out what works and what does not work so we can see what needs improved before faculty launch into new waters.”
Probst’s long-term goals for technology implementation at Wesleyan are aggressive and clear. Designating Wesleyan as a leader in technology will be one of these goals.
“I am hoping that over the next five years, more students will want to attend Wesleyan because we are a leader in technology,” Probst commented. “I believe that with the money we are investing in student success and the tremendous faculty and staff we have behind us, we can do great things.”
Probst’s door is always open for faculty, staff, and students. To reach Probst, please call (304) 473-8676 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.