I had always wanted to teach; however, I wanted to be a professor who had worked in business and could advise students on that world, such as resume writing and career management. I only had one or two such professors when I was an undergraduate, but their advice has greatly impacted me.
I had always wanted to teach; my father was a professor. However, I wanted to be a professor who had worked in business and could advise students on that world, such as resume writing and career management. I only had one or two such professors when I was an undergraduate, but their advice has greatly impacted me. I thought I would work five or 10 years then return to industry, but that stretched into 20 years. I initially started teaching at Penn State in the Smeal College of Business, taking advantage of the dot com revolution and my telecommunication expertise. Then, after 10 years there when I was looking to explore new teaching and research areas, IST approached me. The college was growing, and they needed faculty to teach larger sections. I also had earned my doctorate from the College of IST, which I pursued because I was interested in the intersection between business and technology—the foundation of my business career. I was on Smeal’s faculty, teaching in the M.B.A. program there while attending classes in IST as a Ph.D. student. It was a very interesting time!
This is like asking me “Who is your favorite child?”! In a normal semester I will have a section of students right out of high school, a senior undergraduate section, and a graduate section. I think faculty tend to specialize in one of these areas, but I like the variety and different challenges of each. The biggest opportunity right now is the students right out of high school. They are diamonds in the rough. I can relate to the non-trivial transition from being a top student in a high school to being at Penn State with the top students from around the world. I wrote a book, “A Student Guide to Success at Penn State,” to help these students, and also taught in the Learning Edge Academic Program (LEAP) for 18 years—a program that didn’t exist when I started.
Two things: I am humbled by our students, especially the leaders that help in my classes. The second is the wonderful IST faculty and staff—they are all quite talented and passionate about their work.
The Penn State alumni network is amazing. I can be anywhere in the world wearing a Penn State shirt, and someone is guaranteed to yell “We Are!” Our company recruiters are often passionate Penn Staters who are quite accomplished in their fields. Also, we have the most amazing students.
As a student, I found the IST Ph.D. program particularly rewarding as a member of the program’s first cohort. IST was my fourth, and by a long margin my most challenging degree.
I love teaching. To me, this includes learning. Much of this learning is from students.
There have been quite a few and they mostly involve witnessing student success such as graduation, getting a job, or something more personal. I love going to graduations and meeting the parents behind these awesome students. I’ve helped review resumes to unlock access to a dream job. And, I particularly remember a student with public speaking fears who challenged himself to present his semester project in front of his class in the Cybertorium—a tremendous personal success.
You are at a world-class institution, and your peers are also world class. Unlike high school, success is not measured by how smart you are—everyone here is smart—but by how much time you invest in class preparation. Be sure to balance your time to also take advantage of the wonderful opportunities at Penn State, both for enjoyment and to add recruitable skills to your resume. Finally, make time for yourself, whether that is through exercise, relaxing with friends, or getting outside.
Last updated November 2022