How Pamplin Is Changing the Classroom

What’s more important than getting an A in a college course? Learning! It may be contradicting, however, learning and passing a class aren’t always related. Purely reading a textbook word-for-word can’t amount to long-term learning. In fact, a study found that undergraduate students are 1.5 times more likely to fail with traditional teaching in comparison to interactive teaching.

The Pamplin College of Business interrupts this trend of traditional lectures. Instead, professors have implemented new, collaborative approaches to teaching the next generation of business professionals in hopes that their students will do more than just pass a course, but actively learn.

Professor Don Gresh has utilized transformative learning by adapting a different type of textbook for a marketing course. He believes the best way to digress a topic in class is relating course-work to current events. Gresh uses USA Today as a platform to widen his students’ knowledge. While students are still learning concepts and foundations of marketing, they get the chance to apply these in everyday situations in the news.

“I’m amazed at the positive feedback I receive from students, who tell me that the current events we go over in class, have either come up in interviews, company visits, or general conversation(s) with employers. When these things happen, learning and retention is near its peak... All of this cumulatively tells me that the students are highly engaged and energized about our various topics from class,” stated Professor Gresh. “When they are interested enough in something to reach back to you well after graduation, regardless of what it is, to either tell you about it, or thank you, it’s the biggest reward in teaching.”

In contrast, Professor Skripak in the management department still uses a textbook and has modified it to be specific to his course. Skripak shortened the traditional textbook, updated the chapter topics, and made it available to every student at no cost. Professor Skripak added, “It's more likely that students will actually read the textbook.” This textbook gave the students more applicable situations for their specific course and maintained a more conversational tone.

Many students do most of their learning in the classroom, however, one professor has taken teaching outside the regular setting. Judge Josiah Showalter teaches Legal Environment of Business which explores the way businesses operate in the private and public setting of the U.S. law. Instead of studying the implications of the law within the walls of a classroom, Judge Showalter encourages students to attend his circuit court in order to apply these concepts learned in class.

Judge Showalter noted, “I enjoy trying new avenues to motivate students. A lot of people have the perception that the law really does not apply to them. However, the law impacts almost everything we do. That is why I offer students the opportunity to go to court so they are familiar with the process and the applicability in both criminal and civil settings.”

The Pamplin College of Business is truly reshaping and changing how the classroom functions. With students’ interests in mind, professors are adapting to every generation to make learning more impactful to each student.