by Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning
Dean Johnson, College of Business dean, has selected Roger Woods, teaching professor in operations management and engineering management and affiliated faculty with the construction management program, for the Deans’ Teaching Showcase. Woods will be recognized at an end-of-term event with other showcase members and is a candidate for the CTL Instructional Award Series.
Woods has taught 10 different classes with an emphasis on getting students to “Think!”, not just repeat information from lectures. As the primary faculty for BUS2300 Quantitative Problem Solving, Woods teaches business and nonbusiness majors that Excel is not just a calculator, but a communication tool. His emphasis on formatting details sends students off to be critical of other spreadsheets that don’t follow his “Cardinal Rules for Spreadsheet Modeling.” And, Woods’ infamous take-home exam challenges students to incorporate all the concepts, techniques and models in the context of an actual business. In addition to the exam’s 20 versions, each iteration has unique values based on random number generation. As any College of Business alum will note, completing the exam is a badge of honor.
“Students don’t always appreciate his teaching until they have been out in industry — then they get it,” said Jodie Filpus-Paakola, coordinator of academic services.
Woods’ high expectations carry on to other upper-division courses. His hands-off approach to Advanced Project Management allows students to grapple with the question of which methods are appropriate to the presented scenario, instead of just applying all of the tools they have available. Woods also uses a combination of lecture, discussion, in-class exercises and quizzes to engage students in his Six Sigma class, which includes a variety of nonbusiness majors. From Woods’ “Question of the Day” to his useful/useless piece of knowledge, students engage in discussions and class activities. With all of his classes, he uses a variety of markers (black, blue and red) to create points of emphasis, which students appreciate.
“I truly want to thank you for your passion and how much you care about your students,” an alum wrote to Woods. ”Your excitement about the topics you teach fuels our fire and willingness to learn. I would also like to thank you for caring about your students far beyond what your job requires, it really makes all of the difference.”
Mari Buche, associate dean of the College of Business, said Woods plays a critical teaching role in the College: “For the majority of incoming business students, their journey to earning a tech-savvy business degree starts with Roger’s course. For students graduating with a supply chain/operations management degree or engineering management degree, their journey to a successful career is launched by his hands-on upper-division curriculum.”
Johnson emphasized Woods’ rigor combined with his dedication to student-centered experiential education: “While his Quantitative Problem Solving take-home final exam is legendary, students continually rave about his teaching ability and his dedication to the individual student. His Advanced Project Management class has consistently placed well in project management competitions, including first and second place awards this last year. His commitment to student-centered learning and experiential education directly support the College of Business’s mission and reputation.”