WRA appoints Matt Gerber Dean of Faculty

WRA appoints Matt Gerber Dean of Faculty

You could say Matt Gerber wears a lot of hats. As the Director of Information & Education Technology, he is responsible for campus IT functions, as well as teaching four classes, including one half of the new freshman digital literacies, Learning to Make, and two ECHOs. Inside The Center for Technology, Innovation & Creativity (The Center), he rules the roost, checking in on projects and teaching proper equipment use. Somehow, he even manages to find time to give tours of the space, talking animatedly about the various tools and machines to wide-eyed prospective families and visiting alumni.

And now, his responsibilities are shifting. Gerber will still teach and oversee The Center, but as he takes on the pivotal role of Dean of Faculty, he will turn his attention to his fellow teachers, as well.

"This year, the goal is for me to work with our faculty to support them, bring out the best in them, and help them with issues or concerns they have," said Gerber. "As Dean of Faculty, I'll be their advocate, someone who will act in their best interests, to help provide resources, support and training they need to best serve the school."

Ultimately, this will culminate in a revamped approach to professional development opportunities for Reserve's faculty.

"As the curriculum changes and strengthens, we are looking to build a much more sustained focused on research-based professional development," said Gerber. "This isn't to say that we don't already have that, but now, we're looking to create a scheduled, planned syllabus for professional development."

In 2016, Gerber completed the Principles and Applications of Digital Fabrication program at the Fab Academy. This program was offered through the Fab Foundation, a product of MIT's Center for Bits & Atoms Fab Lab Program. He is a staunch supporter of faculty education and training programs. As Dean of Faculty, he aims to help hone Reserve faculty's talents as the very best educators for young minds.

"I've had the opportunities to grow as an educator," he said. "Some of the best growth was through a variety of opportunities, whether it was learning from a great mentor, working with somebody else, discussing somebody else's projects and their struggles and successes. All of it had me thinking about my own teaching, and setting goals for myself every year, and evaluating my progress. That's what we want to do."

Gerber has been an important voice in the recent changes on campus, both in the creation of The Center and the development of the fully independent curriculum. A champion of innovative education, he has been a representative for the school in many discussions with industry partners like the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). Over the summer, he traveled with Associate Head of School Kate Mueller to the NAIS headquarters in Washington, D.C., for their innovation Summit Hack.

"I think Matt is the perfect choice for this position," said Mueller. "I think the faculty will find him supportive and interested in their success. Matt is also very student-focused — he understands that the reason we're doing all of this is to improve the learning experience for our students, and to make sure they have that opportunity for that deeper learning and understanding."

Gerber said he is looking forward to taking on the new position.

"We have great faculty here," he said. "I'm humbled and honored, and excited, to work with them."