College of Business

CoB Teaching Academy Offers Opportunity for Collaboration

by Karen Doss Bowman

Tim Louwers talking with another professor at the 2017 Teaching Academy

SUMMARY: Faculty participating in the College of Business Teaching Academy share ideas and learn from each other how to be better teachers.

Students come first at JMU. And providing an engaging academic experience that will prepare them to make the difference in their professional and personal lives requires quality teaching. The College of Business (CoB) Teaching Academy is focused on bringing together business faculty to share best practices and constantly improve teaching skills. 

“JMU has always put a premium on providing an excellent undergraduate education, and the faculty members that we recruit are dedicated to quality teaching,” says Scott Stevens, professor of computer information systems & business analytics (CIS/BSAN). “Our teachers have a lot of demands on their professional time, and it's too easy for them to get caught up with schedules and deadlines. They need to take the time to think about teaching, to be exposed to new approaches, to be re-energized by discussion, to bounce ideas off of one another. That's essentially what the academy is for.” 

During the most recent academy, held on Friday, Feb. 3, CIS/BSAN professor Elham Torabi, who joined the CoB last fall, shared lessons she’s learned by asking CoB students what they like and dislike about their classes. Stevens, who helps organize the academy, also shared “Lessons from a Phone Book,” a guide for the kinds of things that faculty don't want to do or cover in their classrooms. Following their presentations, participants had the opportunity to ask questions and engage in discussion. 

“The most important part of the meeting, as we see it, comes after the presentations, when the faculty talk together in smaller informal groups,” says Stevens, who co-organizes the academy with accounting professor Robert Richardson, the Baker Tilly Faculty Scholar. “We want new and productive faculty collaboration to come out of these meetings. We want cross-fertilization of ideas. We want our faculty to have a better sense of what goes on in other people’s classrooms.”  

Stevens and Richardson strive to hold one or two academy sessions per semester.

Published: Monday, February 6, 2017

Last Updated: Wednesday, January 2, 2019

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