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Bringing Real Life Experiences to the Classroom

I am half way through my first semester as a college professor and I can truly say – I love my job!!  It is a lot of work balancing being a new mom, having a new job, and living in a new city, but I’m right where I’m meant to be.  Last week I signed up for the Faculty Teaching and Learning Center to administer a midcourse evaluation in all my classes.  I received awesome feedback from my students on things they think I’m doing well and areas I can improve.

One of the areas they really liked was the real life examples I provide in the classroom and the guest speakers I have brought into the classroom.  I was so happy to hear this because I’ve always believed that college professors need to have real world work experience they bring with them.  Being in the College of Community and Public Service we emulate this every day—the school of criminal justice (police academy) social work, and hospitality and tourism management are also all in my college and the majority of their professors worked in the field before getting a job as a professor at GVSU.

One of the main reasons why I moved to Grand Rapids was because of the Johnson Center on Philanthropy.  The Johnson Center is an academic center focused on increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the charitable sector. Their work involves conducting research, teaching effective practices, and providing pathways to service.

The Johnson Center provides professional development workshops for nonprofit organizations throughout the state of Michigan, it publishes the Foundation Review an awesome practitioner oriented journal, it houses the Grantmaking School, and is nationally know for its work with family foundations.  The Johnson Center will celebrate their 20th Anniversary starting in the fall and there will be awesome events and speakers coming to town for the celebration.

I’ve already presented one workshop “Starting a Nonprofit” and I look forward to presenting more in the future. I appreciate how I can stay connected to practice through my work with the Johnson Center.