Dec. 11, 2014
Two instructors at the Faculty of Business Administration have been honoured with President’s Awards for teaching.
Prof. Lyle Wetsch, associate professor of marketing, has been awarded the 2014 President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching. Terry Hussey, instructor of information systems and business processes, has won the 2014 President’s Award for Outstanding Teaching (Lecturers and Instructional Staff).
“I’m very pleased and honoured,” said Prof. Wetsch. “While this award is a significant personal accomplishment, the most important recipients and those that I share the award with are our students. In order to be an effective teacher, you need to have effective and willing learners, and I also learn much from the students during every course. The fact that I am joining so many other amazing faculty members of the Faculty of Business Administration who have been recognized with this award that I have looked up to is also very humbling.”
“The award to me is intensely validating,” said Mr. Hussey. “I hope that I can prove to be worthy of it. I view it as a challenge to attain or maintain a certain level of teaching. I know some of the people who have won the award in this faculty and I view myself as having a ways to go to get to their level.”
Prof. Wetsch joined the business faculty in 2003 after 19 years as an entrepreneur, during which he trained scuba diving instructors in countries in the South Pacific, Caribbean, Central America and South America. He moved into academia following a master of business administration (MBA) at Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand, when he realized he could continue his passion for teaching by simply changing the environment in which he taught.
“Being an educator is very important to me. Working co-operatively with the students to help them build on their skills and knowledge, and to play even a small role in assisting them with finding a career that interests them, one that they are passionate about, is the ultimate reward,” Prof. Wetsch says.
Since joining Memorial, Prof. Wetsch has immersed himself in the rapidly evolving world of digital and social media, establishing a reputation for leadership and innovation in classrooms across North America. He has developed courses in personal and business branding with social media, digital marketing and internet marketing management, in which he looks for creative ways to present information, engage students and enhance learning.
Prof. Wetsch believes that the most effective learning occurs when there is a high level of engagement from students and teacher alike. He incorporates technology as a key element of his teaching philosophy, not only to educate students about the technologies but to help them learn more effectively about the topics at hand.
“It all goes back to real-world value,” he said. “It’s not just a case of assignments for the sake of assignments. Everything that we do [is] something that students can expand on and grow, which is one of the reasons why we encourage [these courses] for entry-level students so that they have the time to build up their online presence and their online brand so that when they’re ready to go out into the workforce, they’ve got a significant online presence.
“It brings me great pleasure to see the success of past students as they graduate, find their paths, continue their learning journeys and excel professionally. Digital and social media has allowed me to stay connected with many of these students, whether they are employed locally or internationally, and watch their professional growth.”
Prof. Wetsch has also contributed to Memorial’s outreach and engagement efforts through his work with the Gardiner Centre. He developed and teaches its digital and social media program, which has led to partnerships with post-secondary institutions in Canada and the United States.
In 2013, Prof. Westch was the first winner from a Canadian post-secondary institution to receive the Master Teacher Award from the Marketing Management Association. In 2012, he was the only Canadian professor named to the Top 50 Business School Professors on Twitter by www.MBAPrograms.org and was included in Social Media Marketing Magazine’s Top 100 Marketing Professors on Twitter. He has continued to make the list for the past two years and is currently ranked sixth in Canada. In 2012, he made the list of Top 100 Web Savvy Professors by Best Online Universities.
Just two years into a part-time teaching career at the business faculty, Mr. Hussey has developed a reputation as a talented, dedicated and enthusiastic teacher.
A former student of Memorial (he holds an undergraduate degree in engineering and a graduate degree in business administration), an entrepreneur and a leader in the local business community, Mr. Hussey brings real-world knowledge to his teaching of business processes and uses modern technologies to engage his students both inside and outside of the classroom.
“These students come to class and they’re wearing a suit of armour of cynicism and negativity. Our job as educators is to get rid of that, and it’s a challenge,” Mr. Hussey said. “We can take the attitude that it’s not my job to make students enthusiastic about learning; it’s my job to teach the course, and it’s their job to learn, whether they want to or not, and that’s a valid point. But I think if I can wear that down, while still teaching the material, and get them interested in what we’re talking about, then the classroom becomes a more interesting place.”
Student engagement is central to his teaching approach. He requires his students to use Twitter, for example, and is readily accessible via a variety of technologies. He believes it is vital for students, as future business leaders, to become accustomed to speaking about complex issues in a professional manner. As such, he treats his classrooms like a boardroom in which groups of intellectual equals are better able to brainstorm impactful ideas and innovative solutions. He encourages his students to participate and models the behaviour he expects from these young professionals.
“The real power in a classroom isn’t from me talking to the students. It comes from me speaking to the students, students speaking back to me, speaking to each other. Because that’s what happens in the business world,” Mr. Hussey said.
Mr. Hussey is a partner and director of Vigilant Management, a project management consulting company that was recently named to Progress magazine’s 2014 list of the fastest growing companies in Atlantic Canada. He’s dedicated to relating course concepts to the reality of the business world, thereby helping students better understand the theory behind the practice. He incorporates elements of current events, popular culture and his own experiences as a business owner to help students better learn these difficult concepts and develop skills critical to both course objectives and their future career paths.
“I think part of what gives me a different perspective on teaching is that I’m an active entrepreneur and I’m managing my business. It gives me a certain angle that the students seem to respond to.”
Mr. Hussey served on the board of directors for the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Technology Industries (NATI) from 2012-2014 and was nominated for the Memorial University of Newfoundland Students Union (MUNSU) Excellence in Teaching Award in both 2013 and 2014.
Prof. Wetsch and Mr. Hussey join six other members of the business faculty who have won President’s Awards for teaching: Dr. Alex Faseruk, Prof. Pauline Downer, Dr. Peggy Coady, Dr. Katherine Gallagher, Prof. Lynn Morrissey and Dr. Tom Cooper.
“Memorial’s business faculty has a long history of excellence in teaching with many instructors over the years being recognized through university and national awards,” says Dr. Wilfred Zerbe, dean of the business faculty. “I’m pleased to see two of our instructors be recognized for their teaching efforts by President Gary Kachanoski again this year. These prestigious awards are intended to honour the most dedicated and visionary instructors at Memorial and as such, it’s a testament to the teaching excellence that we strive to achieve.”