Gervais hopes to support intructors in teaching with technology

Robert Gervais

Gunter Kleist

Robert Gervais

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After growing up in Enosburg, VT and working as director of technology at the Enosburg Town School District, JSC’s Head Women’s Softball Coach Robert Gervais will step up to the plate as Johnson State’s coordinator of instructional technology. Gervais is a family-man and Johnson State College graduate who majored in teaching and now has a master’s degree in educational technology.

 Q:  What was the worst job you’ve ever done?

 A: Well, I grew up on a farm so, there were a lot of tough jobs there, but I don’t regret any of them. It’s tough to say, but I don’t think I really had a bad job.

 Q: How did you get involved in IT at Johnson State?

 A: As a teacher, I started out teaching math and science, and I knew a little bit about computers. At that time, the mid-1990s, there weren’t a lot of computers to be had. Each year I got a little savvier with technology where people started to rely on me to fix their computer, recover files and things like that. After five years in the classroom, I started to teach actual computing classes everywhere from kindergarten up to high school kids. My background is not really IT as a specialist like a lot of the folks in this office as much as it is instructional. So, teaching methods to how to use technology in the classroom.

 Q: Why did you choose Johnson State?

 A: I graduated from Johnson. It’s a very natural fit for me as I coach softball here. This is my sixth year of softball coaching. I can get to see my players on campus and I’m closer to the action. This is really just a welcoming atmosphere with instructors like Dr. Liz Dolci, who remembered me from the years that I was a student here, to as a teacher and beyond. When you see people like that in the halls and they still recognize you, and say “hi” it’s just a really comfortable atmosphere.

 Q: If you had one word to describe yourself, what would it be and why?

 A: If I had one word to describe myself, I think it would be “adaptability.” Regardless of the situation, I try to make it a positive one, and make an impact on the people around me. I am very accepting to new things. In the technology world I like to see new things come along, and new methods to make technology easier and more appropriate to use. You have to be able to adapt to that change.

 Q: What single thing would improve the quality of your life?

 A: Less travel back and forth to work. If there were a way to instantly scan myself to work and back. It’s about a 40 to 45-minute travel for me. I don’t like to use up that gas money, and I don’t like to use up my time.

 Q: What are the biggest challenges you face on a day-to-day basis?

 A: Well, right now I’m still learning what the expectations of this job are, but I would say that in instructional technology the biggest challenge is to be able to make technology useful to instructors and their students without sacrificing a lot of class time. I know that there are a lot of great uses for technology, and it’s got to be able to make an impact right away for teachers and students.

 Q: What do you consider your greatest achievement?

 A: Definitely my family. I’ve got two kids. One is a teacher now, Julie is a teacher in Missisquoi eighth-grade science, and my son, Chad, is an electrical linesman worker, and then my wife, Tanya. They are definitely my big achievements.

 Q: What is your greatest fear?

 A: My greatest fear is that I will become outdated. I like to try to stay on top of technology changes. Even in my coaching life, I like to try to stay ahead of the curve a little bit. I don’t want to become stagnant. I don’t want to let the new ways of doing things pass me by. I’m just trying to stay current with things.

 Q:  What is the most important lesson that life has taught you?

 A: To develop relationships. I think that whether it’s family or coworkers or friends, you definitely have to develop trusting relationships around yourself. You can’t do it by yourself.

 Q: If they made a movie about your life, who would star in your role?

 A: I’m going to go with Robert Redford, only because of his role in “The Natural.” He is just a hard-working individual who sometimes has had bad blows and had to deal with them. You just keep doing your best. Quietly do your best.

 Q: Is there anything else that you’d like the Johnson State community to know about you?

 A: Just that I am excited to have this opportunity. It’s nice to make the connections again to people on this campus. I’m just looking forward to working with you all.

 Q: Based on first impressions, what do you think is the single most important contribution you can make to JSC in your first year on the job?

 A: I think I bring experience about teaching with technology, and I can use that experience to support instructors in their efforts to integrate and best use technology in their classrooms.

 Q: What do you see as the college’s greatest IT need at the moment? Is it infrastructure or better ways of incorporating technology into the classroom?

 A: I think the greatest need is in bringing those two things you mentioned into alignment by communication efforts.  I believe we have some great resources and talented people in the IT department, and we have some amazing things already happening in the classroom, however there is still a lot of room for improving the technology experience in the classroom and in the ways we use it.  I am all about improving every opportunity I can get, and I think communicating the educational needs to the IT department as well as communicating and improving the effective uses of instructional technology back into the classroom is a role I’m well suited for.









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