I believe that business has a solid role to play in the functioning of a healthy society which extends beyond the typical docterine of “increasing shareholder value”. Businesses can raise the standard of living for whole communities, not just executives. I believe that business educators can and should inspire students to advocate for a more equal and just society.
I believe that my humanities education has made me a more effective business leader and manager. I am prepared to synthesize my knowledge to inspire more liberal arts students to pursue careers in technology, and more technologist to understand the human implications of the technologies they may create in future jobs.
Every day those in digital marketing roles need to face the tensions that exists between customer advocacy and the necessity of corporate profitability. I feel that students entering the workforce may not be prepared to deal with many critical issues regarding the impacts of innovative technologies and the responsibilities that go along them. Target marketing technologies can be weaponized by hackers and put customers at risk. My goal is to help students learn not just the mechanics of product marketing, but also to become customer champions and to protect user privacy in their commercial practices. I fear that business leaders who lack education in cybersecurity, history and the humanities may foment a society where our rights to privacy, environmental safety and income equality are threatened by unmindful corporate interests.
I believe that there is a profound lack of diversity in the business and technology world. While the American job market is currently strong, it is not a healthy one for many who have been left behind. Underserved students need to acquire job skills that can unleash their creativity and provide them with a comfortable standard of living.
I wholeheartedly agree with Gardner’s GoodWork Framework*, which asserts that good work in any profession must be technically excellent, engaging and ethical. It is important to consider not just the transfer of procedural skills, but the education of the whole human. I also agree with Peter Drucker’s view is that the purpose of business is to create and keep a customer, and as such any business enterprise has two basic functions: Marketing and Innovation.** I will ask my students to consider these ideas as the yardstick for evaluating the business landscape today.
My classroom design is focused on clearly defined student learning outcomes. When teaching in a business context, it is critical to identify exactly what behavior change is sought. It could be competence in performing an operational task or it could simply be learning material that will confidence in decision-making. As a teacher, it’s up to me to determine the motivating principles that will result in the best learning outcomes for my students.
Wherever possible I would like to expose students to guest speakers, technology platforms, and simulate situations that they are likely to experience in future jobs. Many technology providers have programs which allow teachers to use their platforms in the classroom and this allows the students to learn by doing.
I believe that Student learning outcomes (SLOs) are the north star of course design. SLOs guide all the choices for methods, materials and active learning exercises to be included in the course. Students can co-create their learning experience by connecting the lessons in the course to their current jobs or other areas of interest.
I believe that there is always room for improvement. Feedback collected after the course will be measured against SLOs and must answer the question: Did learning occur? These reflections determine to what degree the content, methods, and media employed in the course resulted in observable mastery of the material and what needs to be improved upon.
I want to be an advocate for my students and intend to leverage technology and social media to follow up with them on their continued learning journey. Post-class surveys help me to connect the dots between what they learned in class and how they were able to use it to land a job or to perform better at work. The practice of incorporating feedback will ensure that the classes I teachwill empower my students to succeed.
Business Needs, Human Needs
Many corporations exploit the private data of their consumers and engage in practices that pollute the environment or otherwise put people at risk. Being a successful working citizen requires more. When businesses become more concerned with the digital version of their users rather than their thinking-feeling-living counterparts, success will be fleeting. To create and keep customers, we need to explore the following questions:
- What does it mean to be human in the 21st century?
- Should people with certain digital identities have more rights than those without?
- New technologies present new opportunities for profit– When is it better to walk away?
- What does it mean to have freedom of choice when the only options presented to you online are prefiltered?
- How can we create a workforce that is more diverse, technically capable, and ethically empowered?
The answer lies in education. These are the questions that reflect my motives and desires for becoming a business educator. In the end, my goal is to find the best way to foster advocacy for the governing principles on privacy rights and to protect the freedoms of private citizens whileadvancing the powerful economic engine of business in the information age.
*Gardner, Howard, ed. GoodWork: Theory & Practice 2010. Posted on: http://thegoodproject.org/pdf/GoodWork-Theory_and_Practice-with_covers.pdf
** Drucker, Peter. The Essential Drucker: the best of Sixty Years of Peter Drucker’s Essential Writings on Management. HarperCollins 2001. p 20.