I’m now in my sixth year of writing this monthly blog and I can’t believe it’s been that long! Time surely has gone by quickly and part of the reason for this might be related to the old expression that “time flies when you are doing something you love.” I love teaching and I have been happy to have been doing it in some capacity for more than 15 years total and at Saint Vincent now for almost nine years. Teaching has truly made time seem to go by quickly.
In my blog posts from recent months, I’ve been focusing a lot on research somewhat regularly. Perhaps that makes sense since I’ve been doing quite a bit (I have two books coming out this spring – one of them comes out next month!) so it’s been on my mind, but I am reminded every day when I step into the classroom of my true academic passion which is teaching. Thus, I am inspired to write this month’s blog on my experiences in the classroom.
One recent experience stands out in particular. It was in one of my Tuesday night class sessions for my Organizational Culture graduate class in the Master of Science in Management: Operational Excellence program. It was a session on assumptions and values of cultures in which we had a spirited discussion about how these elements greatly influence peoples’ behaviors. We used a clear case to illustrate these concepts and, throughout the evening, I could see it in peoples’ faces (even through their masks and via online) that they were grasping the concepts. What’s more, through their comments I could tell that our discussion will likely be impactful to their careers.
There are very few outcomes more rewarding than seeing students’ “lightbulbs” turn on when they truly “get” an abstract concept. In the case of Organizational Culture, the ideas that we talk about start out quite abstract especially early on in the semester. But we need to understand the theory before we can move to application (which we get to during the second half of the semester). To see students make the connection between theory and practice (and then hear stories months later about how they apply course concepts to their work) is a great joy of mine.
A related, but equally significant, joy is to learn with students. Being an instructor, to me and many others at Saint Vincent, is not about lecturing and pushing information onto students. It’s about discovering ideas and concepts together through discussion, a crucial attribute of a Saint Vincent education. In some semesters, I feel like I learn as much as, if not more than, the students. I am grateful for this because there are very few other careers that provide such rewarding outcomes.
I always love to hear from you. Please be in touch! You can find me at: firstname.lastname@example.org; https://www.facebook.com/urickmj/; and/or https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-urick-05b775a3/; https://twitter.com/michael_urick.
Dr. Mike Urick