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David Strickland, who teaches logistics courses in Harbert College's Department of Supply Chain Management, said, "Caring is the constant thing and that's before the pandemic, during the pandemic, and (hopefully soon) after the pandemic. Everybody wants to be treated with dignity and respect."
"When I teach and I go over a concept, I talk to the students from a real world perspective, because I've probably done the thing we're talking about, and I weave that into the conversation, and I can do that online just as well as I can do it in person." - David Strickland
Harbert College is dedicated to attracting, developing, supporting, and retaining exceptional faculty and staff.
Here’s an example: “I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for putting in extra effort to accommodate your students during this odd time to take college courses. I have been stressed with other classes trying to figure out what exactly I need to be doing now that I am not in the classroom, but your class has been a relief for me in that area. I still feel like I am getting educational instruction from you because of the video lectures and videos walking through assignments that you post. It has been by far the most accommodating out of any of my classes this semester. I appreciate you caring to do these things for your students because it makes this feel more like a real classroom experience even though we are unable to meet in person. Thank you for your hard work and dedication to furthering our education in an impactful way!” – Kathryn King
Strickland, who teaches logistics, shared his passion for teaching today’s students and some of the techniques used to reach them during times of remote learning.
When our world changed last spring with the onset of the global pandemic, how did you maintain the high level of quality education, ensuring that students receive the same education remotely that they were receiving in the classroom?
Strickland: It is a simple thing called caring. If you care about your students, if you legitimately are trying to help them have a great outcome from your course, then you can do that in person, and you can do it online. You have to learn some new tricks if you do it online because we have to use technology, but caring is the constant thing and that's before the pandemic, during the pandemic, and (hopefully soon) after the pandemic. Everybody wants to be treated with dignity and respect.
I worked in industrial management for many years. I would try to catch people doing
something right instead of trying to catch people doing something wrong, and it's
the same thing with my students. How can I encourage them, help them? I mean I still
hold them accountable, of course, we still have standard educational material for
each course and we need to make sure that we can help them master that. When I teach
and I go over a concept, I talk to the students from a real world perspective, because
I've probably done the thing we're talking about, and I weave that into the conversation,
and I can do that online just as well as I can do it in person.
How have you utilized technology offered in the classroom?
Strickland: We've got this tool, Canvas, that we work through and when you're teaching online you have to preplan even more than normal because you can't go in and wing it as much as you could in a classroom. You have to think into the future. You have to make sure that you cover every base. I tell them on the front end this is how we're going to have to communicate since we're not going to see each other in person. I also use Panopto and Zoom. I use Panopto to prerecord lectures and instructional videos on how to complete assignments, which can be pretty complex. I use Zoom meetings in a live format with virtual guest speakers from industry. I also use Zoom to meet with students one-on-one and in teams for group projects.
David Strickland said he wants to build students' "confidence that they are equipped that they can add value in the workplace. By doing that, they're going to enhance their marketability."
Obviously, you love to see your students succeed. Where does this passion come from?
Strickland: That's really what our job is. Students are passing through our care for a few years and we're supposed to help prepare them for careers … to be able to get out on their own and be able to support themselves, whether they're working for somebody else or whether they start their own company, to be able to add value and contribute to the company and society. It's a lot more than a job. It's really a mission.
What lessons, or key takeaways, do you want your students to take from your classroom?
Strickland: I want to build their confidence that they are now equipped that they can add value
in the workplace. By doing that, they're going to enhance their marketability. I'm
looking to prepare them not just with information, but also with insight into what
it's going to take to be successful.
What separates our supply chain management students from those at other institutions?
Strickland: I think our students are more practically inclined. We teach them theory, of course, but I think our students have a blue collar mentality for white collar jobs when they get out. They understand that they need to roll up their sleeves at work and the world's just not going to bow down to them and give them something. I think for the most part they have an appropriate level of humility and confidence that if they work hard and they're still willing to learn that they can be successful.