Technology department teaches life skills

Holly Mueller

Lowell Zurbuch is preparing the next generation of teachers to teach about life through technology.

“Our goal is to make students technologically literate,” said Zurbuch, associate professor for the College of Technology. “But technology is so much more than computers.”

Zurbuch said the real test is “to know what to do when you don’t know what to do.”

Not only are the students extremely well prepared to teach when they graduate, but they almost all get jobs immediately, Zurbuch said.

“Time and time again, there is a 100 percent placement rate for our students – it never drops below 70 percent,” he said.

Zurbuch said almost all technology education jobs in northeast Ohio are filled by Kent State students.

“There are always more jobs available than we have students graduating, and that’s what gives such a good placement rating,” Zurbuch said.

Zurbuch added it was the same eight years ago when Ohio had 13,000 jobs to fill, but only 600 to 800 seniors graduated in the entire state.

Justin Christopher, a December 2005 technology education graduate, said he owes his quick job placement to Zurbuch.

“He’s been around for over 30 years, and he’s really good about keeping up with everything,” Christopher said of Zurbuch.

As a graduate from the program, Christopher said students in the program at Kent “gain skills and the knowledge to solve practical problems.”

Christopher, who is currently teaching at Tallmadge High School, said he teaches problem-solving skills in three of his woodworking classes.

“I always give my students an assessment at the end to ask them what they learned,” Christopher said.

Joe Ferencie, senior technology education major, said he agrees that he will teach his future students how to use everyday problem solving.

“No one needs to be an expert to live in this world – people just need to make informed decisions,” he said.

Ferencie hopes to teach his students to be aware of governmental issues at an early age.

“If the government decides to build a nuclear power plant – are you for it or against it? Most importantly, why?” he added.

Zurbuch said he will continue to teach life skills to his technology education students, but it is important to expose more students at Kent State to these problem-solving classes.

“Many schools don’t promote technology education like they should,” said Jason Hall, senior technology education major.

Zurbuch said Kent State is trying some new things in the technology department to solve this problem.

“We are in the process of adding a diversity class to show technology is much more than computers, and the department is thinking about creating a technology LER,” Zurbuch said. “All students at Kent State need to see the career opportunities in technology.”

Contact College of Technology reporter Holly Mueller at [email protected].