Ken B. Cyree

Summary of Teaching Philosophy

My teaching philosophy is to apply the material and concepts in the text and classroom to the real-world as much as possible. I feel that the application of the concepts learned in class is the most important part of the college experience. I attempt to promote critical thinking-- questioning why and how certain concepts are important. I believe students should be able to apply classroom concepts to abstract concepts that they will face in the workplace. While definitions and terms are important for framing an intelligent conversation about a topic, without application the knowledge is only trivia.  I am "difficult" from the student's perspective in that I attempt to make students think and not memorize or learn by rote.  I make sure that students get some questions that are not in the book and provokes thought.  This is my philosophy simply because that is what students will be doing on their jobs.

To accomplish my goal of application to the real-world, I use outside sources such as the Wall St. Journal in class. I begin class meetings with a discussion of topics from the Journal  or other source that I find interesting and applicable. Class concepts, terms, definitions, and theories are applied to the article to see if the classroom theory agrees with the real-world observation. Where real-world events differ with theory, discussion is prompted to explain the differences.

Another area where I believe I differ with colleagues is the area of employment. Particularly in senior level courses, I try to discuss job related issues with the students. Many students feel lost and alone when entering the job market. We discuss possible employment, likely areas that will be available in the future, pros and cons of certain jobs, and expected salaries. Not only does this alleviate some stress for the students, it allows a careful examination of certain finance related industries and whether or not a student wants to work in that field.

In summary, my teaching philosophy is to prepare students for success in the real-world. I feel that a student’s greatest achievement at the University of Mississippi is the ability to apply concepts learned in the classroom to real-world problems. If students are not able to succeed in the real-world with the skills learned in the classroom, I believe we have failed as educators.