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New ITS vice president plans to innovate

Photo by: Sam King | Staff Photographer
Dr. Carlos Solis is the new technology director for ITS on Texas State Campus.

A career in technology wasn’t always the plan for Carlos Solís.

Carlos Solís, native of Guatemala, was hired to be a new associate vice president this summer by the Instructional Technologies Support,department. Solís said accepting the vice president position of ITS at Texas State was a “no-brainer” for him.

The department aims to enhance students’ learning experiences through the use of electronic resources,

, Solís said the field of technology was not what he wanted to pursue at a young age. He studied biology at a small school in Guatemala with the intention of working with wildlife.

Solís continued his education at Rice University, where he obtained his Ph.D. in biology with an emphasis in evolutionary biology.

Lack of access to technology in Guatemala contributed to Solís’ late start in the field, he said.

“Throughout my whole life, I’ve been really interested in computers and what they can do,” Solís said. “But growing up in Guatemala gave me pretty much no opportunity to work with computers.”

Solís said his technological interest was converted into talent by the help of mentors. He applied the learned skills to biology research, allowing the two interests to “work cohesively.”

After completing graduate school, Solís decided to apply his knowledge of computing to education.

“For a long time, I had really admired what Texas State has been doing with incorporating technology into their curriculum,” Solís said.

The opportunity to move the university’s ITS program forward by improving the relationship between education and technology through conceptual thinking is what made the job attractive, he said.

“The classroom that is set up has to be conducive to conversation that happens between faculty and the students,” Solís said. “Space is an important thing and technology can also facilitate a collaborative process along the way.”

Solís said seating arrangement in a classroom could affect the focus of students.

“There have been studies that look at how we arrange the seating in the classroom differently to facilitate a conversation,” Solís said. “Data has indicated that teams of three people sitting around the table seems to produce better dialogue.”

He said conceptual thinking drives him to implement technology in the classroom that will build a stronger connection between students and faculty.

Kevin Huffaker, director of classroom technologies for ITS, said he works with Solís to make technological advancements at Texas State. Huffaker said students’ use of smartphones and laptops can facilitate learning.

“The goal is working with that technology in the classroom in order to allow students to turn in projects and do homework in and out of the class,” Huffaker said. “The goal is to incorporate technology in a way that allows professors and students to excel in the classroom.”

Solís said he has received a warm welcoming from fellow faculty and students since coming to the university.

“I have been so tremendously welcomed here and working with everyone has been a phenomenal experience,” Solís said. “We want to all work at one goal which is top level education for all of our students and bring the university to light as a research institution.”

Higher education will continue to enhance through the use of technology, he said.

“I don’t believe technology does stuff for you, but rather enables you to access in your work life, research and learning,” Solís said. “I love the way technology allows us to collaborate in ways we weren’t able to do before.”