UTEP Technologist Named Among Apple’s Best in 2018

The Apple Distinguished Educator Program announced that Mike Pitcher, director of UTEP’s Academic Technologies – Learning Environments, is among its 2018 Worldwide Apple Distinguished Educators.

The program selects individuals who push the boundaries of a wide range of technologies at the pedagogical level, promote academic innovation and develop ways to share their knowledge.

Pitcher said he was humbled by his selection, which puts him among the world’s top technology educators.

Pitcher, who was one of Apple’s 125 U.S. Distinguished Educators of 2017, will be among a few hundred participants at an interdisciplinary conference July 15-20, 2018, in Texas. The Worldwide Apple Distinguished Educator Institute is an opportunity to network, develop curriculum, collaborate on programs and exchange ideas with individuals from around the world.

“It’s going to be awesome,” said Pitcher, who participated in a similar 2017 conference near Houston. He said that you work with top people in their fields who leave their egos at the door. “That’s the coolest thing. Everybody treats each other as extended family. The only thing these people care about is improving curriculum.”

The UTEP director said he submitted in February 2018 a digital portfolio of his recent accomplishments, which was reviewed by educators, technologists and Apple board members. His portfolio included work with Tech-E, the University’s collaboration with several El Paso school districts to promote technology with younger students, and the papers he submitted for the American Society of Engineering Education that involve summer technology camps, 3-D printing, and ways to engage teachers in technology curriculum.

Stephen Riter, Ph.D., UTEP’s vice president for information resources and planning, said that Apple’s recognition of Pitcher as one of the world’s outstanding educational technologists heightens the visibility of The University of Texas at El Paso.

“It attests to the quality of our technology and the support we offer to teaching and learning at UTEP to be among the best in the world,” Riter said.

Pitcher said this designation puts a spotlight on UTEP’s technological capabilities, and its abilities to connect with neighboring school districts and the community.

“There’s a lot of talk about our commitment to the 21st century student demographic,” Pitcher said. “This shows that UTEP is focused on using technology for the social mobility of its students. We are competitive at an international level.”