When Ashley Tasker began her educational journey, she thought she needed to be at a big university.
However, as a first-generation college student, she felt overwhelmed and lost in the crowd. After three semesters, the Preston County native decided to transfer to Fairmont State.
She quickly found that a smaller campus with smaller classes allowed her to feel more connected to the University. And, her educational and professional paths were directly impacted by the connections she made with her professors at Fairmont State.
“At a small university like Fairmont State, professors get to really know their students,” Tasker said. “They recognize their students’ strengths and help to encourage students to pursue goals and opportunities they may not even realize exist.”
For Tasker, it was a pair of Fairmont State psychology professors, Ann and Joe Shaver, who encouraged her to pursue graduate work, which was an option she had not previously considered. The fact that her professors had noticed her ability and had taken an interest in encouraging her to achieve her full potential set Tasker on an educational and career path that now has led her back to Fairmont State’s campus. This time, Tasker is here as the Business Learning Coordinator to work with the School of Business to implement the initiatives of the Title III Strengthening Institutions grant project at Fairmont State.
“I love education, and I am a firm believer in lifelong learning,” Tasker said. “I’ve even taken courses beyond the requirements for my doctorate because a certain topic interested me.”
Tasker, who will defend her dissertation in May, will receive her Doctor of Education degree in curriculum and instruction.
Tasker’s research for her dissertation is about faculty engagement and the consequent impact on overall career wellbeing. “Really, engagement is about genuinely loving what you do,” she explained.
Since her arrival to campus in August, Tasker has been fully engaged in her new role in the School of Business. She has been meeting with faculty members who are redesigning their courses, and she is coordinating the resources to support their efforts. As part of her role as the Business Learning Coordinator, Tasker supports faculty to integrate active, experiential and technology-rich teaching strategies in their courses.
“I want to assist faculty with curriculum enhancements that contribute to improved learning and student success. Learning in higher education does not only consist of discipline-specific knowledge, but also developing skills that enable graduates to be effective in the 21st century,” she said.
Tasker also oversees the student peer mentoring program in the School of Business. Student peer mentoring is an important initiative of the Title III project, and Tasker brings experience from her previous position as the coordinator of the Mountaineer Academic Program at West Virginia University, a supplemental program that provides tutoring and other services to students with disabilities. She also had firsthand experience serving as a student mentor in a psychology class when she was a student at Fairmont State.
“My ultimate goal is to help increase student success so students can achieve both their personal and professional academic goals,” Tasker said.
Tasker holds a Bachelor of Science in forensic Psychology from Fairmont State and a Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling from West Virginia University. She currently resides in Morgantown with her husband and daughter.