Redefining the Classroom

LSSU dreams in colo(u)r at international conference

Posted: June 29th, 2013

TWO COUNTRIES, ONE CONFERENCE – Students and faculty from Lake Superior State University's Lukenda School of Business who presented at a recent international conference pose with the International Bridge as a backdrop. The fifth annual Inter-Institutional Teaching and Learning Conference attracted experts from three Sault-area colleges and universities – Sault College, Algoma University, and Lake Superior State University – for presentations on how to learn and teach outside of conventional approaches. From left are Justin Beach (Port Clinton, Ohio), Helena Wollan (Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.), marketing professor Valerie Philips, international business professor Ralf Wilhelms, Kristin Stempky (Cheboygan, Mich.), and Cameron Penny (Onaway, Mich.). (LSSU/John Shibley)

A print-resolution photo that runs with the caption above can be found by clicking here.

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. - Lake Superior State University students and faculty took their shared perspectives in business, dance, ethics, and student retention to a teaching and learning conference hosted recently at Sault College, in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

The fifth annual Inter-Institutional Teaching and Learning Conference attracted experts from three Sault-area colleges and universities – Sault College, Algoma University, and Lake Superior State University – for presentations on how to learn and teach outside of conventional approaches.

“This was a great opportunity for students to share their success with academic leaders," said LSSU business student and presenter Rechelle Wiater. "With our professors guiding us rather than directing us, we are able to tap our more creative sides and really excel with the task at hand.”

Wiater teamed up fellow marketing students Kristin Stempky, Justin Beach, and Helena Wollan on a presentation called, Dreaming in Colour: How Four LSSU Students Launched Their Own Creative Visions. The 20-minute program demonstrated how marketing projects they undertook over the past year tapped multidisciplinary approaches that involved teaching and learning.

Marketing professor Valerie Philips charged the four students with planning, organizing, and running their own marketing projects based on relatively fluid parameters. Beach created a marketing plan for a Sault, Mich., clothing retailer that incorporated video. Wiater and Stempky helped launch a community run to benefit police and first-responders. Wollan designed and presented a benefit fashion show comprised almost entirely of her own creations.

The projects evolved, from idea to commercialization, in just three, six, and 14 weeks. The assignments prompted students to develop and exceed their own learning objectives/outcomes.

“Sharing our experience with non-business majors not only helped me grow as a student and network, but helped the audience grasp a new method of learning as well," said Stempky. "It’s all about working together and I feel that this conference really helped put the emphasis on that.”

LSSU psychology professor H. Russell Searight assessed how "case study" approaches to instruction promoted critical thinking. This past year Lake Superior State University’s Honors’ program offered a two-credit course, “Medical Ethics and Film.” Introductory sessions of the course provided an overview of philosophical approaches to ethical dilemmas. Remaining class sessions centered on a specific ethical dilemma addressed in a brief lecture that students received before the week’s film. For example, the film, “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” illustrated ethical issues such as personhood and autonomy. Film screening was followed by a class discussion and application of relevant ethical models to the depicted dilemmas. Searight evaluated the students' critical thinking skills pertaining to ethics midway through the course and at the end of the term.

LSSU Learning Center learning specialist Geralyn Narkiewicz and secondary education student Megan Freds presented about Student First, Lake Superior State University’s signature program for helping new freshmen make a successful transition to college. The program draws on strong tutoring, supplemental instruction, success seminars, and other Learning Center services. The conference presentation described specific strategies, presented data about how well the program works, and encouraged participants to share similar student-support experiences.

In their presentation, Not Another Research Paper!: Teaching B2B Marketing Strategy Through Experiential Learning, LSSU business professors Valerie Philips and Ralf Wilhelms explored a novel approach to teaching business-to-business (B2B) marketing strategy in a variety of international markets. Seven student teams in Philips’s INTB 486 International Marketing class each selected one foreign country. Each team tailored B2B marketing strategy to maximize website hits from the seven different countries. Wilhelms allowed the students to redesign his prototype EUP Exports website for the purpose of this experiential learning exercise, and contributed a $2,500 grant for team funding. In less than one semester and through faculty collaboration and facilitation, students learned more about building awareness and interest through B2B marketing than would have been possible through more traditional approaches.

Cameron Penny, a dual major in marketing and international business, was in on the conference presentation to discuss his team's approach for Germany.

"Regardless of which nation you wish to do business with, you must do your homework first," said Penny. "One culture may have nuances that another would find offensive, so taking these into consideration helps to develop a working relationship and avoid embarrassment."

LSSU Fine Arts professor Deborah Choszczyk took conference participants through an active role in creating a short piece of choreography using elements of dance, movement, and kinesthetic awareness. Members of the LSSU dance company, which Choszczyk directs, presented a live performance entitled Texting and Driving after the conference.


CONTACTS: John Shibley, e-mail, 906-635-2314; Tom Pink, e-mail, 635-2315; Helena Wollan, e-mail, 630-0610.