Teaching Excellence Awards

 Year Awarded: 2016

Faculty Award winner

Gary Nichols

 College of Business Administration


I have always maintained that it is my role to facilitate the learning of "my students." I use the term "my students" to indicate the ownership I take in the process of learning. The old adage that you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink is applicable to note. Students enroll in my class, but I can't make them learn. I can, however, create an environment or a culture where they choose to learn. I make every effort to utilize my business experience to assist students with the application of theory learned in the text. I will do this by sharing actual examples. I will then allow for discussion. It is my goal to maximize their learning experience.

My classes are a mix of components. I include lecture, large and small group discussion, case analysis, and reflection. I utilize traditional and online resources to engage students. Assessment activities include quizzes, exams, personal journals, reports, and presentations. Elements of the class are group based to encourage teamwork, conflict management, and problem solving skills. Class sessions may sometimes be viewed as organized chaos. By this, I mean that students are in break-out sessions, interacting with one another, and active in skill based exercises. I want the students to be involved and engaged. An example of this would be the negotiating exercises used in Conflict Resolution and Negotiation.

It is my responsibility to share factual and relevant information so they may later apply it in their careers. My role is to provide a "bridge" between the theoretical and applicable for deeper understanding. Again, I attempt to create a culture where students "choose" to learn; one where they "choose" to come to class. It is my goal to have them learn the material and not just memorize it. I want them to have an appreciation for learning so they may be better prepared to be lifelong learners. It is further my goal for them to focus on "what they get out of the class" rather than on the grade "they will get in the class."

I want to come across to my students as professional, prepared, and excited about participating in their education. I will utilize the most current technology for delivery of content and communication with students. This is done in an effort to teach to the diverse learner population that exists today. I also want them to sense my true concern and compassion for their well-being during their educational journey, and beyond.