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Benjamin Silberglitt2015 Rising Alumni

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Ben Silberglitt is on the executive team at TIES, an education technology consortium of 49 member-owner districts in Minnesota. His team is responsible for the design, development, and implementation of software that serves a broad range of needs in education. He recently lead a team that was charged with developing and implementing a software system to improve educational decision making in elementary schools statewide throughout Iowa. Ben’s scholarly work in the area of educational assessment and data-driven decision making has been published in numerous peer-refereed journals.

Employer

Director of Software Applications,
TIES

What professor(s) or course(s) were most influential during your time in the College of Education & Human Development (CEHD)?

Ernest Davenport, Joan Garfield, Scott McConnell, and Mary McEvoy.

Ernest because he taught me that data analysis is as much art as science, and is a heck of a lot of fun. Joan because she gave me an opportunity to teach, which is a skill that has served me very well in my career. Scott because he taught me that you can still be entrepreneurial in education. Mary because she only had to tell me to "shape up" once. Believe me, that was plenty.

How do others describe you? How do you describe yourself?

I've been described a lot of ways, but one of my favorites was the Energizer Bunny. I definitely try to set a tone of having a steady work ethic, staying focused on good planning and even better executing. I love to innovate, but once your team comes up with the good idea then you still need to bring it into reality, which is another type of innovation.

What's a "fun fact" about you?

I am a terrible basketball player. I am a former wrestler and it shows in my basketball game. I once made Professor Van den Broek lose his temper on the court. Paul is about the nicest guy in the world, so that should give you an idea of how bad I am.

What skills are important to succeed as an emerging professional today?

I think the most important skill to succeed is to be willing to take all the great knowledge and education you've acquired from CEHD and anywhere else, go into your job and look at the problems you are faced with using the frame of reference of everything you learned, and then trust yourself to look at that problem and decide for yourself how you'd solve it. You are better prepared than you probably realize to be a leader in education!

Outside of your job, how do you grow professionally?

I am really lucky in that I have a job that encourages me to continue to grow professionally. I think the best way to do that is to read. I try to read about a wide range of topics, even if they feel less directly relevant to education technology. I often find that there are parallels in other industries, such as health care, that we can learn from. When I went to school, access to information was largely at Wilson Library. Now there are news feeds, blogs, and an incredible amount of very useful content Online.

What's a good book you'd recommend to others?

Visible Learning by John Hattie. For education it's a trove of useful research on what works and what doesn't. Also anything by Atul Gawande. While his focus is on health care, the lessons are directly relevant to many aspects of life and work.