Saturday, January 26, 2013

Professor Spears

A few people have asked me how the teaching gig at Creighton is going thus far, and I thought I'd respond here.

It's been quite a few years since I read/reviewed cases, and had somewhat forgotten how much work it can be.  Every case that I'm teaching this semester is new to me, and while many of them have teaching notes (that help the instructor distill the teaching points, and develop a lesson plan), about a third don't.  So I'm spending quite a bit of time preparing for class.  Definitely more than I expected.  I guess there will be a payoff if I decide to teach the course again.

There are a lot of things to juggle during the class session.  Attendance, keeping track of class participation, making notes on the case opening, getting the next lesson ready (including the "teaser" questions), and finding volunteers for the next case opening.  I've tried to be very thorough in my prep, but it still seems like I forget something I wanted to do or say during each class.

The students have been fun to interact with -- most don't appear to be bored, and they are clearly learning new things.  This is the first experience with the case method for most, so I'm sure it is a little confusing and intimidating right now.

But I can see they (and I) am going to need a break here or there.  I've now lined up three top shelf outside speakers to come and address the class on some aspect of strategy that they've dealt with in their business careers.  I'm sure that will be a nice change of pace.

Overall, the jury is still out as to my long term interest in continuing to pursue teaching.

Friday, January 4, 2013


Just in case my plate wasn't full enough (and believe me, it was), I've agreed to teach a course as an Adjunct Instructor next semester at Creighton University's College of Business.

Many moons ago, when I began this career transition, teaching at the college level was one of the things I had on my list of potential jobs to explore.  While I must admit I haven't been super-diligent about following up everything on the list -- conducting more of a search for serendipity than a targeted and exhaustive exploration of all options -- when this opportunity basically dropped into my lap, I wanted to take the time to give it a real try.

The course I'll be teaching is one required for seniors called BU 471:  Strategic Management.  One of the other instructors in the department described the course as a "capstone" -- which means it is used to pull concepts together from a number of specific disciplines into an integrated subject.

The course is taught using the case method -- the same method I used during my MBA -- and I think that cases are a well-suited way to cover subjects that aren't particularly cookie-cutter.

So I'm excited about the opportunity, and also a little nervous as I've never tried this type of challenge before.  While I'm pretty comfortable with the subject -- Strategy -- I'm not so familiar with working in the University environment.

It should be...educational.  Both for me and the students!