Top 30

Cynthia Vavasseur

The old expression, “you can’t change horses in midstream,” means nothing to Cynthia Vavasseur, an associate professor at Nicholls State University in Louisiana. “The education technology field changes daily,” said Vavasseur. “If we don’t stay on top of these changes, we’re not doing our students justice. I have no problem changing a course mid-semester.”

Her willingness to adapt and evolve in the pursuit of serving her students is just one of the reasons Vavasseur has been named one of the Top 30 of 2016. “My heart and soul is in the master’s program at Nicholls,” she said. “These graduates are the technology leaders who will teach the future generations.”

She is always looking for the next best thing in education technology and then using this knowledge to inspire and educate future teachers. Vavasseur puts a premium on helping them become the best instructors they can be.

“Professional development is the biggest problem in the learning curve among teachers,” she said. “In the field of education, we differentiate instruction for students every day. We do not do that enough in professional development.”

Vavasseur worked with other educators to develop a professional development program called ITPD3 (Instructional Technology Professional Development), which is structured to be flexible and accessible, just like the teaching profession, and it works with three leaders, on three levels and in three ways, giving teachers many access points to learn how to use these extraordinary tools.

She added that being “relatively young in this field” helps her relate to her students. In fact, her colleagues call her the 12-year-old professor. They can also call her a powerful resource who is constantly helping teachers. Vavasseur has developed, which covers a wide range of topics to help instructors, and the site is free. No surprise, given Vavasseur’s commitment to the profession.

“I am absolutely focused on tech in the classroom and helping others use it effectively,” she said. “I’m a very personal learner. This is important to me.” —Tim Douglas