Where am I?
Jennifer Byerly, an instructor and curriculum designer for Fontbonne University’s College of Global Business & Professional Studies, has 18 years of experience in business strategy, finance, operations and project management. She received the 2010 OPTIONS Outstanding Faculty award, presented to two adjunct faculty members for their contributions to the college’s business programs and curriculum, involvement with the university, and exceptional student evaluations.
Byerly, who teaches economics and strategic planning courses to evening and online adult learners, believes teaching is one of the best ways to learn and she clearly loves to do both. “Teaching is a symbiotic relationship,” Byerly said. “I take the time to get to know my students and learn about their interests. I then continuously challenge myself to tailor the material in ways that are meaningful to them.”
One way she accomplishes this is by incorporating topical business issues into her courses. Byerly mentioned her students gain satisfaction from the realization that what they are learning has practical applications in the real world. Byerly also makes the effort to adapt her teaching to a variety of learning styles so individuals can develop confidence to master the course content.
Frequently, students come into her quantitative courses intimidated by the subject matter. But Byerly asks the students to have an open mind for the course material and is able to immediately relate the material on a personal level to their current situations and future goals. Byerly commented, “It’s a powerful combination. Students start to view the course as a script for their future, rather than just as a class for their degree program.”
On a different level, balancing a career and family life, which includes two young children, also helps her connect to her students and the challenges they face when pursuing a degree.