When David Files moved from the classroom to the corporate world, he always kept one foot in the realm of education.
After teaching public school, Files, who is from Tulsa, began working for Compass Learning, a kindergarten through high school learning software company based in Texas where he worked on curriculum design and professional development for almost 15 years.
He was working for another learning software company in Kansas when he learned of a position at OSU Institute of Technology, a job that would bring he and his family closer to home.
Now as the new director of OSUIT’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, he is once again taking on the role of educator, this time teaching instructors new pedagogical skills and assisting them with distance learning.
“I was somewhat familiar with OSUIT; I was aware of it,” he said, but he didn’t realize the scope of the university until he came to Okmulgee and saw the campus. “When I came down for my first interview, I was amazed by everything that was down here.”
The backgrounds of the instructors on campus are just as diverse as the programs they teach, Files said.
“The varied experience of the faculty here on campus is very impressive to me. You have people from the automotive industry, professional chefs, civil engineers, and nurses all here to teach,” he said. “I’m looking forward to learning about their worlds.”
The primary objective of The Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, or The Center as it’s called on campus, is supporting excellence in teaching across the OSUIT campus. One method of support is the professional development of OSUIT faculty, who have come from careers in their respective industries and are now tasked with teaching future members of the workforce.
“Just like the instructors want their students to be successful, I want them to be successful,” said Files. “What the instructors teach has to land and make an impact.”
With technology continuing to advance, teaching isn’t just standing at the front of a classroom and talking. Distance learning is also part of The Center’s mission, and it’s something Files is familiar with.
“Distance learning has been part of all the software companies I’ve worked for. It’s in the same vein as professional development. We’re helping our instructors get their classes online for distance learning,” he said. “It’s not just teaching styles and teaching techniques, but now how to teach online.”
Files said OSUIT’s distance learning programs are off to a great start thanks to the hard work of the staff and former Center director Kari Henry Hulett, who is now an instructor herself in the School of Arts & Sciences.
“I feel like I’m standing on the shoulders of giants,” he said, and he’s also received help from Center administrative assistant Becky Fox and instructional design specialist Ron Miller. “Ron and Becky are great people to lean on. The deans and other folks here have been very welcoming. OSUIT is a great place.”