Teaching Philosophy

Business schools are professional schools. Programs should focus on developing competent and ethical practitioners of business, similar to the way medical schools develop competent doctors and law schools develop competent attorneys. Students are best served by courses that include cases and projects that simulate real-world business problems and situations and highlight the skills students have acquired. These skills should directly contribute to improved professional performance. Theory is useful when it provides a conceptual framework that helps students identify classic business themes and break down complex situations into more manageable components so that problem-solving and analysis become easier.

College is your opportunity to discover your best method of learning. College is completely different from high school; in high school, you could get by with memorizing the material long enough to recall it on the exam, and then let it go. In college you are developing a specialty, such as accounting, finance, biology or political science. Developing a specialty requires a holistic understanding of the material, the way it all interacts, and how it can all be used to find solutions to problems. That means that all of the tools you are given in this program are important, and you need to develop them all in order to be an effective manager. An holistic understanding requires you to think about how the theories and techniques you learn in the program interrelate on a deeper level. It means that you develop your own, personal understanding of how these things work together. It also means developing yourself into a student for life.

Much of the factual knowledge you will learn in the program is subject matter you are teaching yourself -- the material in the textbooks. The textbooks are not there for reference purposes. They are tools given to you to permit you to get a basic understanding of the theoretical material in your classes. Your instructor's job is to teach you how to think about the theoretical material, and help you develop an holistic understanding of the material. Notice that, for your instructor to be able to do his or her job effectively, it is imperative that you read the textbook material before the lecture is given. The lecture is not given to introduce you to the material -- that introduction should already have been made, by you, before the lecture. The lecture will guide you in understanding the logic that underlies the theory, and how it can be used to solve real world problems.

Thus, the biggest single skill you should develop during your college tenure is how to learn. That is, how you learn best. In this way, you can prepare yourself to learn any type of material you desire in the future, whether it is learning a new software package to help you at work, or how to do simple repairs on your car, or how to play an instrument. College gives you the opportunity to become a student of life, for life. It gives you the chance to expand your horizons, and develop areas of expertise, long after you have graduated.