A picture of Swarthmore's Technology Outreach Team Lead Joel F. W. Price seated and posed like a mannequin beside him.

“Who Is That?” Series: Introducing Joel Price

A picture of Swarthmore's Technology Outreach Team Lead Joel F. W. Price seated and posed like a mannequin beside him.
Joel F. W. Price

The “Who Is That?” series introduces you to folks in the ITS department through an ever-changing set of traditional and non-traditional interview questions.

Wrapping up: From our last post with Ashley Turner, Academic Technologist, she lied to us about having been offered a record deal.  Liar!

Today, we chat with Joel F. W. Price, Technology Outreach Team Lead (JP).

Interviewer (I): Thanks for joining us, Joel.

JP: Thanks for having me!

I: It says here you are a graduate of Swarthmore.

JP: Yes, I graduated with a Psychology/Education major (and elementary teaching certification) in 2000.

I: Your title is a mouthful.  What is it that you *actually* do here?

JP: My job is to listen to folks around campus, then help ITS assess and predict the ways technology will impact our community, then help communicate with our community in meaningful ways.  It involves aspects of human-centered design, sensitivity toward different learning styles, and a semi-formal study of cognitive biases.

I: That’s not less of a mouthful.  Try again?

JP: Ha!  Okay, I act as a “people person” for ITS and help communicate changes and identify little ways that things can go more smoothly.  I’m so grateful to work closely with Jess Stockett; she really has a knack for teaching, writing clear documentation, and understanding how things work from a deep-dive tech perspective.

I: That’s better.  Sheesh, maybe the Writing Center could help you parse that first attempt better.

JP: *Takes it under consideration then doesn’t*

I: Doesn’t what?  Take it under consideration or reach out to the Writing Center?

JP: Exactly.

I: ╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

I: Would you please describe your job here in haiku?

JP: Listen to people

Communication is key

Sometimes, be funny

I: That was way more straightforward than your first try above, but didn’t really factor in the preferred usage of nature as a theme in haiku.  Mind trying again?

JP: Nature nature na-

-ture nature nature nature

Nature more nature

JP: Just kidding.  Here you go:

IT buildings: four

Walk between regularly

Enjoy time outside

I: I was really trying to set that up as a [questionable] segue: Speaking of nature, I’ve heard that you are a regular Instagrammer.

JP: Right.  I started taking photos of campus in February, 2013.  It became a consistent pattern! With the exception of one day, I’ve posted one photo per day on my feed @jfwp.

I: What happened that one day?

JP: I ended up having an off-campus meeting that ran way long, and I forgot to take and post a picture that day.  It’s been a pretty good streak, though. I’ve benefited from the labeling of all plants on campus, and from the help of the kind folks over at the Scott Arboretum.  In particular I’d like to thank @joshcoceano for all of his help in identifying plants and teaching me more about the beauty that surrounds.  I’d say I probably have an accidental sub-sub-minor in botany, but Josh probably wouldn’t agree.

I: We just asked him.  He laughed, and said no, you are not even close to a sub-sub-minor in botany.

JP: ╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

I: As everything tech-wise has changed so much, what is the one thing you wish you could let folks know to make things easier?

JP: Sure: reach out to us to let us know where you are (step A) and where you’d like to go (step Z) — don’t get caught up with the technology concerns in steps B-Y!  Everyone in ITS likes to help, and sometimes we can really help “unstick” folks in those middle points. You all do the amazing work of conceptualizing and following through.

I: Something we ask everyone on here is to tell us two truths and a lie (in any order):


1: I have traveled to all fifty states.

2: I have a sub-sub-minor in botany.

3: I have ticket stubs from over 400 concerts I’ve attended arranged chronologically in binders.

I: Didn’t we go over this already?  YOU DO NOT HAVE A SUB-SUB-MINOR IN BOTANY.  WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? Try again.


1: I have a plant species named after me.

2: I am a cancer survivor.

3: I am both a musician and a photographer of live music.

Meet more of our team — check out all of our other “Who Is That?” posts.