Douglas W. Lyon: Teaching Philosophy

The following paragraphs outline my teaching philosophy and my beliefs regarding several related issues. First, I discuss several overarching teaching objectives. I then discuss the value of collaborative, "hands-on" projects and my role in those projects. The balance of the essay outlines my teaching goals for the next several years.

My teaching objectives are as follows. First, I strive to pass to my students knowledge of relevant and useful management concepts. Second, I encourage my students to learn about the world around them, specifically, the world of business. I want students to understand the political, social, economic, legal, and cultural environment in which business operates. Third, I strive to develop the critical thinking and analysis skills of my students. As part of this process, I emphasize both written and oral communications, and the application of management concepts to "real-life" business situations. All of this is driven by a desire to develop responsible and employable graduates capable of contributing to their organizations and communities. My goal is to develop students who have learned in my course and who are also lifelong learners.

I believe that two-way intellectual interaction between student and student, and between student and instructor enhances student learning. Lecture, coupled with class discussion, is often a desirable method of introducing new topics or issues. Students must also become aware of the unstructured and indistinct issues confronting practicing managers. Thus, I believe that collaborative, "hands-on" projects such as analysis of relevant and recent articles from the business press, case analysis, and other similar projects provide students with exposure to the multi-disciplinary concerns of the total organization and to the ambiguity inherent in real-world decision making. Such projects actively engage the student in the learning process, resulting in greater understanding and retention.

My role in these group discussions is that of facilitator. I enjoy working with student groups as they explore a problem or issue, providing advice and asking questions without giving too much direction. Another objective of such interaction is to relax the classroom and give students the sense that I am their ally in their struggle with the material. Accordingly, I believe that it is important that I remain available to my students whenever they require additional help with their studies or have other issues to discuss. Thus, while I maintain specific office hours, my students may call me at home, or visit me anytime I am in the office.

I believe that a teacher should be enthusiastic about the course, the material, and the students. I want students to look forward to my class and be excited about the material. To that end, I work very hard on my teaching. My teaching will continuously improve and evolve throughout my career. My goals over the next several years (and beyond) with regard to teaching include:

Lyon, D. W., and Kirby, E. G. (2000). The Career Planning Essay. Journal of Management Education, 24: 276-287.

Lyon, D.W. & Kirby, E., (1997). The career planning essay, Paper presented at the Midwest Academy of Management.

Weems, R. & Lyon, D.W., It’s your business: A semester writing project to integrate management concepts, Paper presented at the Midwest Academy of Management.