I started my life as an Ambrosian as an MBA student in 1979. Just two years later I moved to Los Angeles to work at University of Southern California. But I returned to SAU in 1983 to finish my MBA and became a "true Ambrosian."
By that point in my career I knew I wanted to teach at the college level – and hopefully at St. Ambrose. So after earning my MBA, I taught part-time at Ambrose and had another full time day job! Thankfully for me, in 1987 a full time position in the ECBA (Economics & Business Administration) department became available and I was hired to teach, primarily in finance. This change in careers was so exciting for me but caused a few arguments with my husband! Giving up my day job also meant giving up a company car, gas and insurance – and my salary was cut in half – probably not the best financial decision for a new finance teacher. However today, even my husband agrees that it was the best career move I ever made!
Obviously there have been lots of changes since I first stepped on campus. The number of buildings has doubled and the number of faculty and programs have probably tripled. Some of the questions I have been asked lately and some of the unique experiences I remember include:
1. What was the worst class you ever taught?
I don't know which course it was, but it met on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 2 - 2:50 p.m. and there was NEVER a Friday where more than half of the class showed up. The next year, we started teaching Monday/Wednesday sections from 2 - 3:15 and the Friday problem was solved!
2. How did you adapt to new technology?
When I started, I was thrilled to have an overhead projector in the room to use to enhance my lectures. Today I can't function without a Power Point presentation and access to the internet! I did struggle with learning to use "the mouse" because the pointer never went where I wanted it to go!!! Another struggle was learning how to use software like LOTUS 123 (which was popular way before Office and Windows) so I could help the students learn it and use it in class. It was very exciting to have the first computer lab completed and just like now, it was always in demand.
3. Did you ever flunk anyone?
Not surprising the answer is yes but only if they "earned" it. The first person I flunked was very hard for several reasons. Although I didn't give her an F, she was given her third C and was kicked out of the MBA program for a semester. Another reason it was hard was because she was a nun! However, she was very nice about it and actually thanked me because it gave her the opportunity to re-take the accounting class in a year and hopefully learn it the second time around. By the way, she did retake the course with me and the second time around, she got an A! Others that I have flunked have not been so lucky!
4. What is the best thing about teaching?
The best thing by far is being in the classroom with the students! Besides getting to know a lot of great and interesting people, it is exciting for both the student and me when "the light bulb comes on" and the student gets it. I'm probably more excited than they are because I assume I helped them learn something! It is also great when the student stays in touch after graduating so I can see what wonderful things they have accomplished.
Although my time as an Ambrose employee is about to end, I will always be a true Ambrosian!
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