Thanks, Faculty: Students Grateful for Great Teaching

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Mike WestTyler Scott, a fifth-year senior in marketing, said College of Business Administration lecturer Mike West was an effective teacher because he punctuated his lessons with stories about his own experiences.

A 1989 graduate of the college, West teaches entrepreneurship and marketing strategy in the Department of Marketing and Logistics. West also is CEO of Knoxville-based Northshore Management Co. LLC, a private holding company with controlling investments in a mergers and acquisitions firm, an investment partnership, a national document destruction company and a real estate investment company. Additionally, he is a member of the college’s Advisory Council to the Dean. He and his wife, Tiffiny, also are donors to the college.

Scott said West “taught from real-world experience. He engaged his class with a personable, exciting and engaging attitude. The best concept that he unpacked for the students was corporate strategy: scope, objectives, source of competitive advantage, development strategy, resource allocation and sources of synergy.

“Mike West knows business.”

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Lucy Cansler Hensley is finishing her master’s degree in social work. She is a case manager for the Department of Children’s Services for eight counties. She plans to remain there as a therapist after graduating.

She says Associate Professor William Bradshaw has been a great mentor.

“I have had two classes with him, and he was willing to share his vast experiences as a therapist. He seemed to really care that we were prepared for what the future of a therapist holds,” Hensley said.

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After being out of school for nearly 20 years, Bill Goldman, a graduate in teacher education, enrolled in classes taught by Professors Sharon Barkdoll and David Cihak.

Goldman, who teaches students with physical and cognitive disabilities at South Doyle High School, completed his special education certificate this past summer and will complete his master’s degree in the alternative license program at UT and through Knox County in May 2010.

He credits the methods and theories he learned from Barkdoll and Cihak for making him a better teacher.

Barkdoll and Cihak are professors in the Department of Theory and Practice in Education. Barkdoll is a UT alumna and began her career as a teacher in the Knox County Special Education Center working with students with severe emotional behavioral problems.

Cihak is an assistant professor in the modified and early childhood special education program. He advises students earning bachelor’s, master’s and specialist degrees.

“Drs. Barkdoll and Cihak have always provided valuable feedback and instruction,” Goldman said. “Any time I had personal issues that interfered with my education they would go out of their way to accommodate my needs, whether it meant extending deadlines or taking extra time to explain assignments or tutor me.

“I can’t express how dedicated they are to their field and students,” Goldman said. “I only hope I can have the passion, energy and professionalism they do as teachers.”

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Neal ShoverS. Daniel Carter graduated in May 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He is now director of public policy for Security on Campus Inc.

He said he enjoyed his class with sociology Professor Neal Shover so much that he suggested his mom take a class from him, too.

“Professor Shover’s classes were always among the most interesting and riveting. He made you think and argue your case, which is how I learn best,” Carter said. “Also, what I learned in his criminology classes continues to serve as a foundation for what has become my career today — continuing the work I started while at UT — to make college and university campuses safer.

“When my mom went back to school at UT to complete her undergraduate degree, about 12 years after I graduated, I told her she had to take a class with Dr. Shover. She did and thoroughly enjoyed it.”

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Lee Ann RawlinsOpheca Jordan will finisher her master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling through the distance learning program in August 2010. She works with people who have suffered traumatic brain injuries through the Tennessee Department of Human Services’ vocational rehabilitation program.

Jordan said Research Assistant Professor Lee Ann Rawlins has made a tremendous impact on her.

“It is because of Dr. Rawlins that I am confident in myself and my future to become a successful vocational rehabilitation counselor,” Jordan said. “Dr. Rawlins is professional, knowledgeable and personable. Her untiring efforts help students understand the material.”

Jordan said Rawlins is able to connect with her students, which motivates them and makes learning enjoyable.

“We actually learn things that we will not only use in class but we will use in our everyday lives,” she said.

In honor of Faculty Appreciation Week, Tennessee Today is featuring stories and videos based on comments about great faculty members submitted by students, alumni and others.

You can send a shout out to your favorite faculty member or read what others have written.

Also this week, area merchants will offer a variety of discounts for UT faculty.

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