Some of us are looking forward to the end of college this May. One of the things you do for graduation is fill out a graduating senior survey. In this survey you will list two of the most influential professors here, highlighting those who made a difference in your experience. Those professors will be given a thank you card for every student that acknowledged them for their passion and effort. Every year the top 10 listed professors are honored with a dinner with the Provost & Sr. Vice Chancellor, Marilyn Sheerer. College of Business professor Dr. Tracy Tuten was honored last year along with Dr. Jay Oliver this year. Two professors who are from the College of Business and both in the marketing concentration, doesn’t make a good professor. So what does?
I sat down and spoke with both Oliver (left) and Tuten (Right) to ask them what makes a beloved professor.
Dr. Tuten’s fondest memory of her time teaching was during graduation. When all of her students were with their family and friends they took the time to Tweet and Facebook her thank you. Dr. Tuten talked about her mentors. Mrs. Perkins inspired her to write and Mrs. Dee Congleton gave a shy 7th grader the courage to try out for the Cheerleading team. In college, Dr. David Glascoff insisted she should go for her doctorate and become a professor. Tuten believes this to be what allows her now to give global seminars around the world and also be involved with her students’ lives in and after college. She’s been involved in students’ weddings and every year invites a group of students to New York to meet with past students in their current advertising jobs.
Dr. Oliver worked in corporate customer relationship management before teaching the practice here at ECU. His warmest memory here is when his wife who also teaches at ECU was pregnant. He guesses around fifty students came up to him, shook his hand and congratulated him on his child. That’s the kind of comfort and community he feels apart of here at ECU. His focus on student growth and involvement in the East Carolina chapter of the American Marketing Association allows him to develop lasting connections with his students.
Both professors believe in community and being apart of students’ lives. As students we are given the opportunity to build a community with our friends and also our teachers. Do you have a relationship with your professors? Can you say that you will be apart of these relationships ten years from now? I challenge each and every one of you to meet your professors. Treat them as mentors and friends, not as enemies and judges. The college experience may be a break from the real world, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to make the best of it.
Before you graduate experience the warmth. It’s better on the inside.