Our new Experience Learning initiative recognizes that learning is enhanced—and more enjoyable—when lessons are used to experiment, solve problems, and innovate. It challenges faculty to look for new and creative ways to work with students. As part of Faculty Appreciation Week 2016, here is a look at two Haslam College of Business faculty members who “go the extra mile” in their teaching, research, and outreach.
Through visits with corporate leaders and international trips, Kelly Hewett tries to prepare students for the world of work.
An assistant professor of marketing, Hewett has split her career between the corporate world and academia. She came to UT after a five-year stint as a senior vice president in Bank of America’s corporate marketing group.
“I take very seriously that we are preparing students for their professional careers, so it’s our calling as professors to do anything we can do to facilitate that,” she said.
To accomplish that goal, Hewett tries to incorporate experiential learning into all her courses.
“I believe it’s up to us as faculty to do the outreach and go the extra mile to make those connections and to discover what opportunities are available for students,” she said.
Hewett brings in guest speakers–either in person or via video conference—to talk to her undergraduate and MBA students and provide insights into the industry and the current job market. She also incorporates projects with actual corporate clients to give her MBA students tangible experience to discuss with prospective employers.
She accompanied a group of full-time MBA students on a trip to China in 2015, and she developed and leads a study abroad course for undergraduate students in Barcelona, Spain.
“It’s hard to learn about a global work environment without actually experiencing a work environment in another country,” said Hewett. “Students really appreciate the experience, too.”
Steve Mangum, dean of the college, said Hewett’s approach gives students a glimpse into the real world of business.
“In the Haslam College of Business, we create an educational environment that seeks to blend the latest business relevant theory with the realities of managing and leading in diverse organizational settings,” he said. “Professor Hewett’s innovative approaches to student engagement allow students to test alternative conceptual frameworks and develop capabilities in ‘close to live’ environments.”
Outside the classroom, Hewett organizes student career development opportunities such as networking events and information sessions with corporate leaders.
In addition to her job at UT, Hewett has worked as a marketing consultant for Pilot Flying J and other companies. She conducts brainstorming sessions and provides her clients with strategic recommendations–activities that keep her finely tuned for teaching students how to consult in the real world.
In her free time, Hewett enjoys traveling and attending concerts with her husband. Living downtown puts them in close proximity to the Bijou Theatre and the Tennessee Theatre, so they can take in several shows a month.
As a senior lecturer in the Department of Management, Kathy Coleman Wood provides her students with a unique blend of business experience, international perspective, and experiential learning.
Before her career at UT, Wood spent twenty-seven years in the corporate world, including seventeen years as vice president of human resources for ImagePoint Inc. and Control Technology Inc. in Knoxville, and Union Carbide/Martin Marietta in Oak Ridge. Following a fourteen-month family sabbatical in Europe in 2004 and 2005, Wood returned to Knoxville and began her career at UT.
At the same time, Wood and her husband, Charley, a 1963 graduate of the Haslam College of Business, run a travel company called European Experiences. To date, they’ve led sixty group tours to countries including France, Italy, Germany, Austria, and England. In addition to co-leading the tours with her husband, Wood handles the marketing, customer service, accounting, and coordination with international partners. She also founded a trade association for small-group tour owners, Slow Travel Tours.
“It’s a lot of fun to not just teach international business, but to develop and lead a small international business of my own,” said Wood.
Wood’s real-world experiences carry over into the classroom. She teaches courses in international business strategy, managing people in the global environment, and a human resources master’s class in international human resources.
During Wood’s international business strategy course, students visit a locally headquartered company to interview top managers and gain an understanding of the strategy involved in the company.
Another one of her courses, Managing People in the Global Environment, brings together students from a variety of backgrounds—business majors with collaterals in international business and languages, as well as world business majors from the College of Arts and Sciences and international exchange students.
“Almost all the students in this class have some international experience and they all have a real passion for engaging globally, so I’m able to flip the classroom to draw on their experiences,” said Wood. “The class becomes a hands-on laboratory for understanding cultural differences as they interact with each other, especially because of their different cultural perspectives. I learn from my students every day.”
Students in the course even enjoy international dinners, either at Wood’s home or a local restaurant.
“Education comes alive for business students when they are exposed to organizations operating in complex economic and social environments,” Mangum said. “Professor Wood does an excellent job of connecting students with a variety of organizations and helping those students to better understand and appreciate the interplay of economic, societal, and demographic forces.”
Wood is also the faculty advisor for the Management Society, a student organization sponsored by the Management Department.
She is retiring at the end of the spring semester to focus full time on her travel business, but plans to stay involved with UT and the Haslam College of Business.
Amy Blakely (865-974-5034, firstname.lastname@example.org)