I’m Jess. Some call me Jessica. Some call me Dr. Knott. Most call me Jess. I lead a talented team of staff and postdoctoral scholars to support faculty and academic staff in creating quality, caring, and exemplary digital experiences at Michigan State University. We’re builders, tinkerers, researchers, collaborators, fixers, and figurers. Mister Rogers told us to look for the helpers. We took that to heart, and work to be the helpers partnering with you to leverage academic technologies to build the best digital learning experiences for MSU students.
I hold a BA in Journalism, an MA in Education, and a Ph.D. in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education, all from Michigan State University. I have worked in digital spaces since 1998, spanning the private and academic sectors. I have led nationally- recognized networking, professional development, design and facilitation projects, and am deeply involved in my local community. Project management and strategic rhetoric make me giddy, and learning new things is my favorite. My scholarly interests include community-engaged experience research, strategic assessment practices, shifting literacies in the digital-social age, and how UX and service design methods have the potential to transform the student experience in higher education and beyond.
I am an autodidact to my core. I love learning new things and tackling new challenges. My LinkedIn profile describes me as a “mad scientist specializing in faculty support, research, student focus, digital spaces and human experience” because that is what I am. I am both scientific and logical and human and compassionate. I can connect large amounts of information together thematically in an instant. I can then connect people to those ideas and make them care about them. I have managed blogs, I have mentored timid writers, I serve as an editor for large-readership publications such as Hybrid Pedagogy and ETC Journal, I have been a blogger, podcaster, and social media voice myself. Even today I wrote an operations and communication plan to roll out seven new academic technology systems and lined up the people to help make it happen. I can speak to faculty. I can speak to administrators. I can speak to and rally communities, discuss and design professional development, interrogate and amplify research and why it matters, higher education, private sector, innovation, digital learning, academic technology, information technology and more.
I currently live in Lansing, Michigan with my pretty amazing partner Ryan and two rescue dogs. I have spent more perfectly good hours playing Fallout 4 and Witcher 3 than I’m comfortable admitting in polite company. But, I admit it anyway because I believe in doing what you love and loving what you do. Video games aside, I love dogs, thinking, reading, dogs, volunteering, gardening, dogs, uke-ing and travel. I also love dogs.