Jenny Darrow, MAT

Making Technology an Academic Affair

Jenny Darrow was working as a help desk technician at the University of California at Riverside when she discovered Marlboro’s M.A. in Teaching with Technology program. She really wanted to get further into higher education and to work with faculty, and was looking for graduate programs in education technology.

“I thought Marlboro College was this beautiful little campus in Marlboro,” said Jenny, now the director of academic technology at Keene State College. “I didn’t realize the grad center was so brand new and innovative.” Looking back on her experience at Marlboro, Jenny says, “It was innovative, it was quick and it was an absolutely wonderful experience.”

When she first worked for Keene State, Jenny was in the information technology department. After a few years, the provost decided that there needed to be more of an emphasis on academic technology, so a group from IT moved under academic affairs. Now a small group works with Jenny to support faculty teaching and student learning. “Our job is getting people comfortable with technology, understanding why they should be using technology,” she said.

Academic technology, or “edtech,” is still a relatively new professional field, and many colleges and universities are still adapting their IT to be most helpful in the academic environment. “Edtech is balancing the technical piece and the pedagogical piece, understanding technology and understanding where technology is heading,” said Jenny. She has found that higher education needs people who understand and are comfortable with emerging technologies but are also good creative thinkers. “They also have to understand instructional design and pedagogy—I think that is absolutely critical.”

Jenny’s experience in the MAT program was extremely encouraging and helpful for her. “I don’t think I’d be where I am now without Marlboro College,” she said. “It may sound cliché, but Marlboro will support your big ideas and encourage you to take risks.” The blended learning model allowed Jenny to work when she was ready to work,” and the cohort system provided a valuable, supportive environment. “The work we did as a cohort, the bonding we did and the learning from each other were all incredible.”