The Education of American Businessmen: A Study of University-College Programs in Business Administration

By Frank C. Pierson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 11
FACULTY AND TEACHING METHODS

The most precious resource which any business school can possess is a highly qualified and highly motivated faculty. The schools, however, suffer from a number of handicaps in their efforts to attract top-flight staffs. The search for talent will have to be pushed in many directions, and present faculty members will need help in continuing their own development. The steps which are taken to strengthen faculties also carry important implications for standards of employment and methods of teaching in this field.

One of the striking features of the interviews conducted at business schools in all parts of the country was the difference in general atmosphere found among these institutions. At some schools the work was approached in a rather mechanical or even listless manner; each part of the program was largely isolated from the rest; instruction was continuing much as it had for many years before and few proposals for change were under discussion; little opportunity existed for group consideration of new ideas, and morale appeared to be at a low ebb. At other schools departmental barriers were kept to a minimum, and the work in each area contributed to the program as a whole; there was frequent opportunity for the exchange of ideas, and a spirit of experimentation and exploration prevailed; the result was an enthusiasm and esprit de corps which quickened every phase of the work and gave life to the learning process.

Many elements doubtless contributed to these differences among the schools but the critical factor appeared to be the quality and motivation of the faculties. In the first group of schools, teaching was largely a means of livelihood--instructors met their classes, gave examinations at the proper time, turned in grades in the appropriate form, but the teaching function largely ended there. In the second group, teaching was a continuing exploration--the staff was committed to making the students' experience just as meaningful as possible and to adding new dimensions to the subject itself. To a considerable extent, the differences in atmos-

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