Cameron Receives Midwest Business Teaching Award
Elizabeth Cameron is a “master teacher” according to her professional peers.
The Alma College business administration professor received the 2011 Midwest Academy of Legal Studies in Business (MALSB) Master Teacher Award during the MBAA International Annual Conference.
Other finalists in the teaching competition were from the University of Notre Dame, Indiana University/Purdue University-Fort Wayne and Minnesota State University-Mankato.
“I’m very humbled to be the only finalist from a small school and the recipient of this coveted award,” says Cameron. “This award is truly the result of team effort. My management and law classes were instrumental in helping to develop strategies that work. The support Alma College has for joint faculty-student research is greatly appreciated.”
During the conference, which draws faculty from all 50 states and 25 countries, Cameron and two of her students, Ali Cnudde and Shelby Gray, had the opportunity to demonstrate the teaching technique she uses at Alma College. Richland junior Bobby Kaczanowski provided technical support.
Although Biology Professor Kay Grimnes originally developed this technique, which uses a guided reading strategy, Cameron modified it in order to more effectively engage business students.
“This is the Internet generation — students are digital learners, so they want immediate communication,” she says. “As a result, they have a difficult time spotting the most important information from volumes of material. The guided reading strategy technique helps them find that information.”
Because students come to class having already learned definitions of business terms, Cameron says she’s able to jump right into exercises, application and discussion. As a result, students are more engaged.
“I’ve had many students remark on how different my classes are than other classes because of the engagement level,” she says. “The feedback I’ve received has been overwhelmingly positive. Students use and like the strategy.”
In addition to increased class participation and discussion, Cameron has seen a significant increase in her students’ overall grades. She also has noticed a decrease in test anxiety.
Cnudde, a recent graduate from Bay City, took Business 326: Business Law II without the guided reading strategy and received an average grade, despite perfect attendance and strong class participation.
The following semester, she took Business 325: Business Law I with the strategy and received an AB grade. The difference in her grade had much to due with the strategy, which she says forces students to actually read the text book and complete their work before class.
“The strategy allows you to see what is important in the chapter,” says Cnudde. “It was extremely helpful for me, as it helped me develop my critical thinking skills.”
Not only has the guided reading strategy made a difference in her students’ lives, but it also had an impact on Cameron, who says it has helped her fall in love with teaching again.
“Alma students push you as a faculty member,” she says. “They make you stay on top of your field because they’re so curious. They ask challenging questions, so realizing I need to teach how this generation learns has made a difference in my teaching. I’m happier, and my students are, too.”
Posted: Thu, April 28th, 2011 at 8:02AM