Marketing professor honored for engaged teaching
By Adriana Geday | Student reporter
Stacy Neier Beran, PhD, senior lecturer of marketing, was recently honored with the Kolvenbach Award for Engaged Teaching.
Named after the Rev. Peter Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., the 29th superior general of the Society of Jesus, the award recognizes Loyola faculty who promote active and collaborative learning and the application of classroom theory to real-life situations through hands-on, service learning, and outreach experiences.
“Kolvenbach talked about the importance of bringing the gritty reality to our students, of engaging them with humanity,” says Neier Beran. “The truly important answers can’t be looked up in the back of the textbook but require deeper engagement. I believe that is the true value of engaged learning.”
Neier Beran received the award in January 2017 at the Focus on Teaching and Learning Conference, sponsored by Loyola’s Center for Experiential Learning, the Faculty Center for Ignatian Pedagogy, and the Provost’s Office.
Here, she discusses the importance of engaged learning in the classroom, the benefits students gain from this teaching style, and the great honor of being recognized.
Why do you practice engaged teaching?
It is our role and our obligation as educators to create meaningful collaborations with students. This way, students will have a better foundation to go outside of the classroom and return the good somebody else has given them as a part of their educational experience.
To me, having students engage in our community becomes more important than the restrictions of a class syllabus.
What do students gain from this approach of teaching?
The three key benefits for students are curiosity, grit, and empathy.
Curiosity is essential as students will encounter situations that do not play out how they assumed they would. Students must have that spark of curiosity to ask questions and dive in deeper.
Grit is having the resilience and perseverance to push through an unexpected scenario, knowing that someone else’s passion is on the other side. This also means having the discipline to focus on holding yourself accountable to commitments to the community.
As students progress through courses that involve engaged teaching, they develop a stronger sense of empathy towards the community they support. Through empathy, students feel enthusiasm to take that extra step that makes the difference to many stakeholders, including both clients and participants in research projects.
Why should the business community care about engaged teaching?
If we can honor the humanity that is a part of all business activity, we can begin to develop the civically engaged leaders that we need in this world. Our business leaders must connect to this humanity. Practicing engaged teaching and learning through service and research leads us in that direction.
At Quinlan, we talk about being the business school that the world needs. That statement—and the idea of having a head for business and a heart for the world—is something that has really stuck with me.
What does this award mean to you as a professor?
I am at a loss for words. It is a tremendous honor to be recognized, especially under Kolvenbach’s name. I will always cherish it, as the award recognizes the genuine love I have for my students and for Loyola.