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The Interview: Joe Horne

From piano keys to a computer keyboard, Dr. Joe Horne took an unconventional path that led to a career in instructional technology for the higher education sector.

People  |  Jan 7, 2019  |  By Nicole Johnson

Dr. Joe Horne, associate director of instructional technology services for the Office of Information Technology (Rakitha Perera/UNLV OIT)

The new associate director of instructional technology services for the Office of Information Technology (OIT) traded the Pittsburgh snow for the Vegas sunshine. But Dr. Joe Horne’s passion for helping others solve problems doesn’t waiver when it comes to enhancing learning and teaching experiences for university students and faculty using innovative technology.

UNLV’s at a growing point, with a lot of great things on the horizon. It’s one of the most diverse and innovative higher education institutions in the nation, which appealed to me. I’m excited to have the chance to make an impact by improving student learning outcomes, implementing evidence-based instructional technology solutions, and mentoring students and staff.

A little about your background
I hold a bachelor’s degree in piano and a master’s degree and a doctorate in instructional technology and design. I’ve worked at the University of Pittsburgh, Georgia State University, IBM, and The Galloway School. I moved to Las Vegas for a career with UNLV, leading OIT’s instructional technology services unit, which consists of the classroom technology, computer labs, and e-learning technology teams. 

What inspired you to get into your field?
I find joy in helping people learn and achieve their goals. I like discovering creative and effective ways to solve problems using technology. The intersection of instructional technology and instructional design seemed like an ideal fit for me.

Tell us about a time in your life you were daring.
When I was doing my graduate research, Apple debuted the iPad. I was already interested in how mobile technologies shaped faculty-student interactions in and out of the classroom. I was also taking an arts-based inquiry class, and took five interview transcripts from faculty and turned them into five pop songs, a set called Love Songs for Faculty. I thought it was just a fluke (and so did my advisor) but it turned into several unbelievable opportunities, presenting my research throughout the United States and Europe and meeting a lot of educational research people all over the world. Fleetwood Mac didn’t ask me to open for them on the road and the work was not part of my dissertation, but it was still a blast.

What's something people would be surprised to learn about you?
I was raised on a cattle farm in rural Alabama. It’s the place where I fell in love with nature, hiking, and animals.

What’s the most Vegas thing you’ve done since you arrived here?
I went to Fremont Street on a Saturday night. Downtown Las Vegas - the people, casinos, lights, and history - is fascinating to me. In the few hours I was there, I saw the Viva Vision light show, which was incredible, and took dozens of photographs. I can’t wait to go back.