“A great teacher is a great artist and there are as few as there are other great artists. Teaching might even be the greatest of arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit.”
— John Steinbeck
My teaching philosophy is influenced by the belief that my main purpose in teaching is to help students to be in the words of Irenaeus of Lyons “fully alive” in their minds and spirits. I do this by striving to create a classroom environment that encourages engagement and by creating a structured learning experience to enable them to discover their vocational calling. Moreover, my philosophy has a very practical orientation and flows from three major tenets based on our LMU mission of the encouragement of learning, the education of the whole person, the service of faith, and the promotion of justice. My three philosophical tenets are: 1) Relevance balanced with rigor, 2) Reaching out, and 3) Renewal and Integration.
Relevance can be described as an approach to designing pedagogy that directly addresses the question of ”Why is this important?” for students, managers, organizations, and society. Relevance must be balanced with appropriate rigor—this is accomplished by designing curriculum that is appropriately challenging and varied in its approach to testing students’ ability to apply and retain required knowledge. Reaching out refers to students applying class material to the greater community through engagement in service learning. Renewal and Integration is about my approach to continuous quality improvement in curriculum as well as my active engagement and approach to mentoring.
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Since 2005 I have become heavily engaged in service learning. Nearly every semester I have at least 6 students groups working with a variety of community service agencies as a way to apply theories and models learned in class to the “real world” of work. In this way, students gain a hands on experience and the agencies gain some valuable services. We have a terrific team at LMU’s Center for Service and Action (http://www.lmu.edu/studentlife/csa.htm) that provides the connections we need to the agencies. I have integrated service learning into the curriculum for classes for both undergraduates and MBA’s including: Organizational Development and Change, Training and Development, Employee and Labor Relations, and Mentoring and Management.
A partial list of past agencies we have partnered with in the past include:
- Midnight Mission
- St. Joseph’s Center
- Verbum Dei High School
- St. Eugene’s
- Veterans Administration
- Girls Today, Women Tomorrow
Sample Projects include:
View the photogallery from Ireland
- My undergraduate students designed workshops in resume writing and interview skills for clients at Chrysalis and St. Joseph’s Center
- My undergraduate students designed and delivered workshops on business etiquette for high school students at Verbum Dei.
- My undergraduate students created a mentoring program and workshop for Girls Today, Women Tomorrow.
- My MBA students worked with the Veterans Administration to assess the overall effectiveness of veteran services and made substantive recommendations for change.
- My MBA students have worked with SHARE several times to develop a new organizational structure, write job descriptions, and assess overall organizational effectiveness.