TEACHING PHILOSOPHY

TEACHING BEYOND THE CONTENT

My teaching experience includes courses in Information Technology, Management Information Systems, Principles of Management and Organizational Behavior, Small Business Management, and Business and Professional Communication. I believe the best way to teach is to provide students with more knowledge than they walked in with each day. This includes not only addressing the required course curriculum but enhancing the student experience by going beyond the course content, including tying course material to individual student interests and even sometimes including pop culture references. Students learn skills by doing and that is one of my principal foci. Within the Small Business Management course, students are organized into groups and required to create a fictitious small business and develop a business and marketing plan to present to business owners for both feedback and investment considerations. Within the Business and Professional Communication course, students create a video resume for them to understand how they present themselves in public will play a significant role in their potential career success. This project-based instruction allows students to develop skills beyond the traditional approach. Active learning is always my goal!

MAKE STUDENTS FEEL VISIBLE

In addition to providing students the opportunity to create artifacts they can use as part of a professional portfolio (LinkedIn profile, video resume, Business and Marketing plan, etc.), empowering students is an important aspect of my courses. I learn every student’s name and something about them (an interest) to engage them in. Additionally, I start every course meeting with “All right Young Scholars.” I borrowed this from Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Political Science William T. Daly (Stockton University) who was a remarkable teacher and I find this strengthens student confidence. My “Young Scholars” are expected to participate in all course meetings, both with each other and with their instructor to further enhance their learning experience.

STUDENT DIALOGUE WITHIN COMMUNICATION THEORY

Students are provided time during most class sessions to work with each other. This is a collaborative effort which goes beyond traditional group work or group projects. Students actively participate in unofficial peer assessments. For example, in the Business and Professional Communication course, students are required to connect with everyone in the class. They develop strategies by interacting over the course of the semester. This approach boosts group work, as students are familiar with each other and individual interests when they engage in group work. Students often tend solely to communicate by social media and texting, and this engagement helps them develop verbal communication. One important result is that students are also made aware of non-verbal cues which may distract from effective communication.

TEACHING AS AN ADVOCATE

In addition to empowering students, I advocate for their success. Human beings, by nature, are inquisitive. Students often seek answers to difficult questions. I provide clear, easy to follow guidelines for students to be successful within the framework of my courses. I adopt the concepts of the play How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying within the first lesson of the course by explaining to students that if they follow the information I provide, they will be able to succeed in my course “without really trying.” They like this approach. Perhaps, more importantly, I also provide students with answers to the pressing question they tend to ask, “why is this important?” I provide answers to students in a succinct, clear way that answers their question and also addresses concerns they may have with respect to learning things they may think are not important. This also ties into teaching beyond course content, as, for example, when teaching Microsoft Access, I am also sure to refer to SQL, a more up-to-date utilized database management tool.

TEACHING AS AN AGENT OF CHANGE

As an educator I am never satisfied. Each semester I require students to complete a response letter, addressing specific questions related to improving the course, my teaching style, the structure of the course, and the media used within courses. These directed questions seek clear student feedback going beyond the vague questions often found in student course evaluations. Sometimes course evaluations may provide unusable feedback like Rate My Professor feedback that may include “Best professor I’ve ever taken.” These tend to focus more on whether students like or dislike the instructor. The response letters I receive provide students the opportunity to directly influence future course sessions by providing suggestions for important changes.

ENHANCING LEARNING WITH PROFESSIONAL SKILLS

Like many educators who bring industry experience to the classroom and utilize this hands-on information to supplement course content, I bring content, pedagogical, and learning-design skills into the classroom, and I also utilize my web design skills outside of the classroom. In all my courses students are provided access to a website that is specific to the university/college and a “blog” available to them. This allows students to follow along if they miss class, refresh their knowledge base, or add to it by reading additional information. This allows students the opportunity to view course information on their own time and perhaps in a more aesthetically pleasing manner. This online artifact also shows students how the course has developed over time.

CAREER AND COLLEGE READINESS FOR STUDENTS

Within my courses a goal is to put “young scholars” in a position to be successful beyond my course. Students are provided the skills of how to be successful in their college courses. They are expected to follow distinct guidelines and to understand why these are set and revised over time. Additionally, students are provided with clear deadlines for projects to prepare them for similar expectations in the job field. Students are expected to develop problem-solving skills within my courses, an important element in business success. Students also learn how to leverage the course content within their job search.