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Information Technology and Administrative Management

College of Education and Professional Studies

Ellen Bjorge, Lecturer

Office: SAM 243F
Phone: 509.963.1489
Email: Ellen.Bjorge@cwu.edu

Almost twenty-eight years ago I taught my first piano lesson on a rickety old baby grand in the dimly lit, dusty wings of a middle school auditorium. My student had never played piano, just as I had never attempted to give a lesson, but after a patient thirty minutes she successfully performed her first piece. And I knew that I had to be a teacher. Since then I’ve devoted myself to working as an educator whenever I find the opportunity, teaching a variety of subjects including music, Latin, music theory, writing and communication, basic coding, design, web development, UX/UI, and computer applications. It is now my honor and privilege to serve as a lecturer for the ITAM Department.

Without trying, and with every intent of being a musician, I've found myself working in IT my entire professional career. While I enjoy the logical puzzle of coding and scripting languages, my primary focus is the direct application of computer programs and systems to advance organizational productivity and creative project development. To put it another way, I've rarely been happier than I was the day I discovered Photoshop. 

When working with students, my focus is making complex concepts accessible, comprehensible, and exciting, whether or not someone comes from a strong technical background. I strive to find a balance between engaging subject matter and building rapport while still maintaining the highest academic standards. Most importantly I believe that successful education hinges on truly seeing and acknowledging each individual in a classroom. I'm going to learn your name and who you are because I want that recognition and respect to form the foundation of active dialog and debate during class sessions, clearer communication when completing projects, and higher levels of engagement.

Outside of the classroom and away from those magic, glowing, binary boxes, I'm a moving target. My days are filled with everything from hiking and travel to playing my piano, good books, composing music, writing novels that will never get published, the odd pool game, ignoring the weeds in my yard, spoiling the cats, and making art just for the sake of making art. If it's above freezing and I can see my tee shot, I start the day with nine holes of golf. 


Advice to Students

Good communication - it will make or break you in school and life. Build channels of communication between yourself, your professors, the administrative staff on campus, and your peers. Each time you do, remember that you can set the tone, direction, and quality of that communication by how you approach the discussion.

You have enormous power in determining the quality of your education. If you bring a curious mind, a positive attitude, a strong work ethic, and the willingness to examine new ideas, all of these traits will generate opportunities and open flood gates of information.

True learning is not a passive activity. We have to work for knowledge. So show up early, stay late, ask the good/tough/complex questions of others and yourself, explore ideas outside the curriculum, engage in healthy constructive debate, examine your preconceptions, and everyday  try to be a little better than you were the day before.

Above all, take a breath. College can be overwhelming, life even more so. The best gift we can give ourselves is the luxury of a pause and some deep breaths. Nine times out of ten we'll find some clarity on the other side.


"Inspiration exists, but she has to find us working."
~Pablo Picasso

 

From "A Talk with George" by Jonathan Coulton:

". . .You should write a book or two and start a magazine
Even if it never makes a dime
You should swing out by your feet
Above the circus ring
At the very least throw parties all the time

. . .

So enjoy yourself, do the things that matter
'Cause there isn't time and space to do it all
Love the things you try
Drink a cocktail, wear a tie
Show a little grace if you should fall

Don't live another day unless you make it count
There's someone else that you're supposed to be
Something deep inside of you
That still wants out
And shame on you if you don't set it free."


Experience

Communications and Creative Media Consultant, Department of Information Technology & Administrative Management, Central Washington University, 2011 - 2018

Responsible for building an effective, cohesive and clear user experience for a variety of audiences. I serve as the one-stop internal resource who provides quality, customized, targeted materials with a faster turnaround and lower overhead than outsourcing. Through research and data-driven analysis I identify our core audiences, craft unique materials, and target key messages. My work explores new avenues and channels for communication and effective system development.

  • Designed and implemented a marketing strategy and brand presence which generated a 600% department growth rate over the last five years. One tenth of the CWU student population now either majors or minors in Information Technology and Administrative Management, making it the largest academic department at the university
  • Manages, maintains, and crafts the ITAM department web presence, one of largest segments of the CWU website with one of the highest traffic levels
  • Designed, created, and implemented multiple internal online tools for the ITAM department to simplify processes and provide robust data for decision making. These will be adopted at the college level by multiple departments
  • Develops the department brand across diverse media channels including web, print and social media
  • Creates campaign components and marketing materials encompassing print, web, and digital media
  • Drives end-to-end marketing efforts for all ITAM programs and events
  • Works with broad initiative to independently brainstorm, plan, create and implement a diverse range of projects to forward department goals and objectives
  • Successfully balances multiple projects and priorities
  • Invited to create a seminar for senior leaders in the college on effective user experience design and leveraging online communication channels

Adjunct Lecturer, Department of Information Technology & Administrative Management, Central Washington University, 2014 to Present

Dynamic presenter and instructor specializing in front-end web development, user experience design, and applied computer applications. Collaborates with course leads in material selection, updating course shells in Canvas Learning Management System (LMS), and designing overall course structure. Current course load includes computer applications, web fundamentals, and mentoring internship students.

  • Outstanding Adjunct Teacher for the College of Education and Professional Studies, 2016-17 academic year
  • Consulted on the complete redesign of IT248 Web Fundamentals course to better reflect emerging industry standards and to function across different learning modalities
  • Developed and passed through curriculum IT111 – Your Digital Footprint and the Web for the new university general education program
  • In collaboration with Barb Bisson, developed and passed through curriculum the First-Year Experience seminar: IT187 – Wired Cats
  • Developed and passed through the curriculum process the First-Year Experience seminar: ADMG187 – Idea Machines: Sparking Innovation, Entrepreneurism, and Leadership
  • Created the proposals to secure two place holder course prefixes (ADMG & IT) of first-year experience seminars in the new general education program and saw them through the curriculum approval process
  • Consistently receive exceptional student evaluation rankings well above both the department and university averages
  • Using analysis of performance outcomes and student feedback, assisted with the restructuring of IT101 Computer Applications course to incorporate principles of competency-based and self-paced learning modalities
  • Generates engaging multimedia components for lectures, projects and to increase student engagement
  • Assists students in developing individualized study plans, time management strategies, and unique methods to fully master course material
  • Effectively communicates complex ideas and technical concepts to a variety of audiences

Self-Employed Piano Teacher, 2006 to Present

Created an adaptive, highly selective studio model where tailored lessons meet the goals of the individual student. I utilize strong interpersonal and analytical skills to communicate complex subject matter to a diverse group of students while maintaining a fun and supportive learning environment.

  • Generates customized teaching materials for student use including original compositions, technical exercises, theory and history lessons, and visual/aural/tactile aids
  • Develops individualized lesson plans and courses that will successfully communicate with students from a variety of ages, groups, educational levels and social backgrounds
  • Creates customized compositions and exercises
  • Uses latest software options to teach modern electronic/electronica composition techniques, “looping” and sound effects
  • Confers with parents and teachers of my students to keep them apprised of their child’s progress, goals, and to create a holistic learning plan
  • Evaluates students’ progress and adjusts lesson plans to present material in new ways that correspond to their unique learning style

Assistant to the Art Director, Record Printing, Packaging and Design, 2006 to 2011

Worked directly with art director to manage and facilitate all aspects of large-scale printing projects from initial client specs to final press proofs.

  • Made edits and adjustments to design files in Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign
  • Updated the servers and backup servers for the company, organized the server file structure, checking for accuracy and completeness across primary and secondary backups
  • Updated records and adjusted forms/queries to better suit changing needs
  • Evaluated, edited and updated file metadata
  • Researched and selected stock photography and vector graphics to meet client specifications and effectively communicate message
  • Reviewed all press proofs for accuracy, consistency, formatting, and conformation to customer requests and guidelines
  • Regularly communicated with senior decision makers to determine design elements, job specifications, quantities, and deadlines
  • Maintained accurate digital file history for all press jobs and resources on the servers including organizing the final print files, performing regular backups, linking data between the server and the company database, and entering specifications/press notes for future runs
  • Processed large files and facilitated FTPs with clients and brokers

Administrative Assistant, Licensed Insurance Agent, Country Insurance and Financial Services, 2004 - 2006

Office Manager, A Copper Garden, 2003 - 2004

Assistant to Head Librarian, Burnham Classics Library, University of Cincinnati, 2001 - 2003

Graduate Teaching Assistant, College Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati, 2001 - 2002

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