RICHARD ALAN NELSON
Teaching is central to what we do in the academy. My philosophy of teaching continues to be based on a long-range strategic plan designed to increase exposure to research and management challenges, while retaining a strong theoretical and practical platform.
I believe that a key goal of an educator should be to enlighten students and help them transition into adulthood. I make every effort to be available for my students and meet their individual needs. This includes creating an environment of mutual respect between the teacher and the students. As is true of other good teachers I have encountered, I also try to engage my students, make efforts to motivate them to learn, and strive hard to resolve their problems. I am a strong believer in quality of education. My definition of “quality” includes not only relevant state-of-the-art of subject materials, but also the other broader issues of a university education, such as critical thinking, ability to work in teams, and professional and personal ethics. My classroom approach is to design innovative assignments where I am able to interact with students one-on-one and in groups. In essence, I make efforts to create and demonstrate a personalized, ethical, and “learning friendly” environment for my students.
I think students should be encouraged to question what they have learned and challenged to uplift their standards constantly. My syllabi and assignment sheets are clear and extensive. I incorporate use of visual materials from C-SPAN and other sources when appropriate. Graduate and undergraduate curriculum development is reflected in continuing upgrading of the existing courses and efforts to increase appropriate examples illustrating individual dignity, minority contributions and multi-cultural diversity.
I also actively encourage student participation beyond the classroom and stress the value of internships, outside lectures, and student national competitions. Teaching and research are also complementary. Research informs and guides teaching, while through teaching one can discover intriguing ideas and develop new research topics. Graduate student theses and published articles are evolving out of papers originally prepared for advanced classes I’ve directed.
Another goal is to work with other faculty to develop collegiality, collaboration, and interdisciplinary sharing.
In sum, I am deeply committed to faculty excellence and I value the enthusiastic participation of students. My participatory teaching style is both challenging and encouraging, focused on helping students develop their critical thinking, listening, and writing skills. All of my public relations, advertising, and other business-oriented courses give my students the opportunity to do legitimate work so that each student has evidence of professional skills. These can then be compiled into a portfolio and shown at future employment interviews. Over the years, students have repeatedly told me that these course assignments are impressive to potential employers.