The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh master of business administration executive program (EMBA) prepares students for the workforce by offering several classes that feature a team teaching environment.
Team teaching involves the pairing of top business executives with skilled faculty, providing a learning experience for students that combines theory and application. This teaching model allows students to learn how to apply what they have learned within the real-world workplace.
Dale Feinauer, assistant dean of graduate programs for the College of Business, considers the combination of an academic faculty member with an understanding of the theory and a business professional who applies them in the real world to be a very effective way for students to learn.
“We see other programs where there’s a guest speaker or there’s a course that’s taught by someone from the private sector. The downside of that is, as much as they know their area of expertise, they don’t necessarily know how to teach or how to structure a course,” he said. “It’s the combination of perspectives between business leaders and faculty that is so very powerful.”
Aside from learning how to apply classroom concepts in the workplace, team teaching also provides students an opportunity to interact with professionals who are in the kinds of positions that they may hope to achieve.
“Students are able to talk to these executives and learn how they got to where they are today―the steps they took and the hardships they encountered in the process,” Feinauer said. “Beyond that, students have the chance to build their network with these professionals. We’ve had multiple EMBA students who have found promotions and new jobs or moved up in another organization because of the connections they made in the EMBA program.”
Feinauer teaches several team teaching classes. One of the executives he pairs up with is Vanessa Wellens, vice president of human resources and communications at Amcor Flexibles North America. Together, they teach a course in talent management.
For Wellens, participating in team teaching courses gives her the opportunity to provide business insights while also meeting professional talent within the region. She also enjoys the uniqueness of the team teaching model and how receptive students are to it.
“There is a keen interest in understanding how they apply what they are learning. They ask very targeted questions and make connections at a more rapid pace as they fine-tune their skills and capabilities,” Wellens said.
Scott Vian, an EMBA graduate student from Indiana, said team teaching is an important part of the program as well as within the workplace.
“Mentoring and being mentored really never stops all the way to the CEO. The insight of the professionals is so important to understand really how companies have evolved,” he said. “As students, we learn from already developed best practices, are engaged in relevant issues of today and explore what is going to be our future world.”