"I cannot recall any successful company which does not have an excellent management team. Regardless of any discipline you are working with, good management skills are a must for everyone."
In which online degree program do you teach?
Which class(es) do you teach online?
MISY 5325: Software-Based Business Solutions and MISY 5335: Business Data Base Management
What's the value of an MBA for today's professionals?
To be direct, I cannot recall any successful company which does not have an excellent management team. Regardless of any discipline you are working with, good management skills are a must for everyone.
What's the best advice you could give your students?
Start with a good attitude toward the class
Pay attention to details
If possible, stay ahead of the schedule
Give your best efforts
Seek help from professors if you have any questions or concerns
Remember that there are no stupid questions—but one can become stupid if they do not ask when they do not know
What qualities make someone particularly successful in business or management?
Reliable—keep your commitments
Understand your role
Resilient—don’t expect life to be fair
Great at time management
How do you see online learning affecting the future of education?
Work and family commitments, increased course offerings and greater availability of technology are among the factors contributing to the growth and popularity of online courses. Although online courses may not be appropriate for all students, I expect a steady increase in online enrollment. It gives flexibility to students as they pursue their education goals and resolves issues that may hinder education, such as the commute time to and from campus as well as the ability to communicate with others.
Why did you start teaching?
Thirty-one years ago, after graduating with my bachelor’s degree in accounting, if someone told me that one day I would become a teacher, I would have laughed loudly and thought that they were joking. At that time, I believed that teaching must be the most boring career in this world. What one needs to do is just go to class and teach something, and that’s it.
So, why do I teach? After earning my Ph.D. and being lucky enough to get an offer from The University of Iowa, I decided to try teaching for one year, just to gain some teaching experience. I still remember that my first class had 156 students. I was shaking and could not remember anything that I said in that class. At the end of the semester, it was no surprise that my teaching evaluation was terrible, and I absolutely could not live with it. So, I decided to continue for another year. At the end of the second year, the evaluation was improved. However, I believed that I could do better than that and decided to give it another year, another year, and another year. I really do not know at what point of time that I started to fall in love with teaching. During the first few years of my teaching career, if someone asked me why I teach, the answer might have been because of my self-esteem.
After the third year passed, I started to realize that my perception about the teaching career was totally wrong. Understanding how to motivate students to want to learn the material instead of just simply trying to memorize the content and pass the class is quite challenging. The most difficulty was that there was no “one size fits all.” A technique that works well for one student may not work with another student, and it needs to be adapted accordingly. However, no matter how tough it is, the feedback from students at the end of a semester really makes me feel it’s worth the effort. It makes me feel so delighted to read comments from students on how the knowledge from a class helped them get the job or how the experience of working with a team changed their attitudes.
After my 22 years of teaching, if someone asks me why I teach, I can simply say, "I teach because I love teaching." Teaching is the career that gives me the opportunity to share knowledge and, more importantly, to inspire students to strive to be the best they can be.
What is the one book you think everyone should read?
Any book that makes you feel happy.
Tell us something interesting about yourself that your students might not know about you.
I was born in a family of 14, and I'm the youngest. My parents were born in a farming family. Both liked to go to school but did not have an opportunity, and that’s why they encouraged us to go as far as possible with higher education. I still remember that my dad once told me, “I may not be able to able to give you riches, but I will be sure to support you with the education that you strive for.”
Being #14 in the family has many pros and cons. Sometimes, I feel like I have many pairs of parents who are (to be honest) very bossy. The biggest advantage is that it’s hard for me to walk the wrong path as on almost every path, there will be one in the family who walked there before me. The toughest thing is that it’s so hard to have a breakthrough or surprise anyone in the family. For example, by the time I earned my Ph.D., I was already the fifth one in the family to do so. No surprise indeed—sigh!
When I was about to defend my dissertation, my advisor told me to send out job applications. Although I did not think that a teaching career would fit me, I still sent them out. I was lucky to get the great offer from The University of Iowa, and my professor told me that he would cry if I did not accept it. I thought there would be no harm in teaching for one year. So, I accepted the job offer.
At that time, I had no idea that teaching would be my career for life. I like to share this story with my students during my first class. I just want them to realize how important it is for one to grasp a good opportunity. You’ll never know if that may be the best decision you’ve ever made if you let it pass.
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