Here's a take on why giving back to educators is important.

Giving Back To The Classroom

In October 2018, I received an e-mail message from a business marketing professor from my alma mater, Illinois Wesleyan University.

Michael J. Kocourek

He was applying for tenure at the University and inquired on my interest in his application process, submission. Honored to be of consideration, I gladly put together a written response to the University's applicant questionnaire process – to much delight, earlier this month, he achieved the status of tenure at IWU.

Working on a computer all day, one of the last things you'll want to do is spend more time on a laptop or monitor before bed. Sometimes a looming deadline, urgent proposal emergency, last-minute design change, or nagging vendor/customer take precedence over our personal lives in what is done after the standard nine to five business hours. This calling was different, it was a request of help, for someone who helped me, seven to eight years ago.

This individual came to Wesleyan as a visiting professor, and hit it off with the students from the word "go." He provided real-life applicable events, examples, and scenarios in the context of the mundane topics in marketing textbooks. From marketing principles, consumer behavior, and marketing statistics, the professor layered these classes together quite seamlessly, although not everyone had the chance to take all three. His passion in the classroom was unmatched to many.

So, there I was, seven years later, recalling classroom memories and examples of his, and painting the most vivid portrait of his classroom experience in this questionnaire. Boy did it bring back memories. What was almost more fascinating was thinking of the concepts and examples shared – such as brand, buyer preferences, and market presence – and experiencing those first hand in work, today.

This individual presented an exceptional level of character. While he was a professional, he also served as a guide to the students each day. Never once, did he take his power and use it in an authoritative or abusing fashion – and that's because the students respected his integrity and teachings each class. He did not have "favorites" within his class and treated all as equals. If you visited him on your hours, those visits were treated in important learnings, but never to create advantages of favored students over others.

Never did I imagine coming to a situation where I would submit on behalf of a professor for professional academic achievement – but the experience was humbling. It's because of professors like him that made my educational background and work so special.

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