Cori J. Myers, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Management
Chair, Department of Business Administration,
Sanford’s student development theory, Challenge and Support, defines in short, my teaching philosophy. According to this notion, student development requires a stimulus or a challenge, but also encouragement or support to foster an appropriate response leading to student growth and development. As a faculty member, I believe that my role includes not only conjuring up the challenge, but also offering support to foster student success.
Simply stated, I view faculty members as instrumental figures who lay down the challenge for students by carefully constructing activities that promote learning and personal growth. Today, the terms, learner-centered and student-centered are woven heavily into higher education research and literature as necessary underpinnings for effective course development and pedagogy. These terms certainly describe the way in which I have designed my courses to assure that students interact daily with course material and apply what they have learned with an appropriate level of challenge in the planned activities. A typical day in my classroom includes some lecture to cover key concepts, theories, etc., but more so provides a learner-centered approach with small and large group discussion, group projects, problem solving, reflective writing, and impromptu presentations, as examples. Classroom activities are reinforced with readings and such homework assignments as case analysis, homework problems, group work, research, and a multitude of writing assignments. I judiciously select and sequence the course activities which are intended to challenge the student and evoke critical thinking, problem solving, decision making, and most of all, growth through learning content knowledge and developing skills.
Aside from challenging material and course activities, students need appropriate support from me. I believe that support can be as simple as giving clear expectations for assignments and classroom conduct; showing enthusiasm for the material as well as the student; providing prompt, constructive feedback on student performance; considering students’ personal circumstances while maintaining fair treatment for everyone; and reaching out to those who may be slipping away. Sometimes effective support may include extending a deadline for an assignment while other times may require holding students accountable to complete work as scheduled. Depending on the circumstances, I personally contact students and encourage them to “stretch” themselves, work harder, give more effort, or even attend class when they seem to lack self-motivation.
Students vary in terms of needs, motivation, and personal circumstances. While not every student may succeed in college, my teaching philosophy focuses on upholding the responsibility to challenge students to learn and support them throughout the learning process.