Why I love teaching at The Master’s College

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015
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Imagine returning to your old college -- seeing students learning what you learned so many years ago, maybe even from the same professors, getting the same education you did. Imagine returning to be part of their journey!

That's just what I've been doing for seven years as an adjunct professor at The Master's College. Obviously, I have the best students in the world, and I love my subjects and the school's commitment to Biblically-based teaching.

The Biblical perspective shapes everything about teaching here, from how the material is presented to how professors engage with the students.

Business by the Book


The Bible in a business course? We might not teach accounting out of the book of Numbers, but instructors at TMC bring Biblical truth to the classroom as well as invest in their students personally and spiritually. I love that this happens not only in Bible and theology classes, but every class, even business and robotics.

Here's the mission statement of TMC:

The mission of The Master's College is to empower students for a life of enduring commitment to Christ, biblical fidelity, moral integrity, intellectual growth and lasting contribution to the Kingdom of God.

Image:Why I love teaching at The Master’s College


This has clicked with me from the start, and I've seen it ring true not only in my life, but in the lives of my students and my daughters, two of whom are graduating from Master's this year.

The Master's students


The students are a pleasure to teach -- they all want to be there, and they're eager to learn the material and apply it. Not only that, but they also share their personal passions with me and give me the freedom to pour into their lives. I love that many of my students, even the younger ones, want to get married and have families someday, and I have the opportunity to guide and challenge them in this.

This is what I love about teaching at the College: students don't just get an education. There are many fine institutions that offer this, but Master's prepares students for life by building their skills, character, and spiritual maturity. I experienced this while I was there, I've seen it in my children, and I enjoy being part of that process in my classroom.

The students also get something that was largely lacking in my own education before and after TMC: practical life skills. For example, the central focus of my Intro to Robotics class is critical thinking and problem-solving; I'm teaching 18 Computer Science majors, and we've enjoyed putting these concepts into motion.

In the same way, my Technology for Business Decision-Making course equips future managers with an understanding of technology tools and how to make decisions in management -- this way, they learn something more than theory.

Where I came in


In entered college at 16 and I excelled as a computer science major; however, my emphasis was all on the technical subjects, and I was hardly prepared for life outside of technology. I had to pick up other essential life skills over 30 years in business.

Later, I graduated from The Master's College with a degree in Organizational Management (OM). At the time, there were no classes that even mentioned technology at any point in the curriculum. To me, this was incomprehensible -- so in my business communications course, when we had to give a persuasive speech, I chose to persuade the College that the OM degree should be expanded to include courses in the use of technology. After all, there are no businesses that are not in some way impacted by technology, so I strongly felt that managers and workers need to understand the basics at the very least.

My speech may have ruffled some feathers at the time, but I moved on and graduated. I went on to earn my Master's degree in Information and Knowledge Management from CSUN; while I was there, I received a call from Wayne Dell, the chair of the OM program, who asked me to come back to Master's and teach. Together, we created Management 430: Technology in Business Decision-Making, which I've been teaching for seven years.

Someday, I would love to be a part of TMC's Business Department and teach students business and life skills for the 21st-century professional, including self-organization, managing projects and actions, and how to prevent information overwhelm. These skills aren't normally taught in any college, but 34 years in business have taught me that they're invaluable.

Having graduated from The Master's College myself, I'm well aware of the impact that a TMC education made in my own life. Now, seeing it through my daughters and their friends, I'm thrilled to able to return and invest in the lives of students.

Afterword


When I say "Biblically-based teaching," I mean that everything taught at Master's is founded on Biblical principals, not necessarily that everything taught can be traced back to chapter and verse. God's Word might not tell you how to build an award-winning robot or implement a budget tracking system, but it will give you principles for how to make those decisions and treat the people involved.
Not long after my Introduction to Robotics course started, it got its very first press coverage!

Three years ago, I was interviewed by Jason Cremeen, a student writing for The Master's Piece, a student publication of The Master's College. What I love about this article is how Jason emphasizes that this course is not an engineering program for computer nerds only -- it's a hands-on critical-thinking course for anyone.

You can read Jason's article here.

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We had a great first session of my Intro to Robotics class last night at The Master's College! I have 17 upper-division computer science majors, and I think they're even more excited about this course than me!

The students were so engaged last night that I asked them whether they'd like to stay an extra half-hour, and every one of them said yes.

After the lecture, we spent time in the lab building our test robots. It's going to be a lot of fun helping them move from inanimate software development to moving parts!

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For more info on the course, see here.

Starting this evening, I'll be teaching Intro to Robotics at The Master's College once again. I love having this opportunity to teach students critical thinking and problem-solving in a very hands-on way -- by building robots that solve puzzles and attack each other!

I created this course at Master's a couple years ago. At the time, a few students from the College made this (admittedly silly) video to show in Master's chapel to promote the course:

Of course, this video is not wholly accurate. Students never watch cartoons in my class (though they have been known to eat M&M's).

And since we're on the subject of teaching...

Pop quiz!
Which TMC faculty and staff did you see in the video?
How many different robots were shown?
Bonus: whose lab was this shot in?

I look forward to sharing more about this class!

A fuller description of the course is available at masters.edu.

I've recently graduated from the Eric Mack school of self-taught welding for beginners. I have completed my first major welding project welding the frame for the deck of my new computer desk.
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Now, I need to learn how to properly finish the metal, including sanding and painting. I'm thinking of either finishing the bare metal with a clear sealer or perhaps painting. I have zero experience with metal finishing but YouTube is my friend and I'm willing to learn.

If anyone has links to share or experience to offer by phone that would be great!
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Last week I shared how Kathleen and I met and how we've been making music together for the past 25 years. Today is the anniversary of our engagement.

Kathy shares the story of our engagement as she experienced it:
I had just come through the worst graduate class created on the face of the earth - Anthrolopogical Linguistics. It was the last class I needed to have my clear teaching credential. I'll tell you what, I just did not understand that class. I could not figure out how one African tribe's dialect differed from another's, and why I should care. In 20 years of teaching, I've never needed any of that information. Oh well, that aside. I had just finished the final exam. That's the background information you need to know.

We had arranged to have dinner with a couple with whom we sang in choir. Their daughter was going to be in my kindergarten class the following school year, and they said they wanted to get to know me better. Janet said she would stop by and pick me up, and we would pick her husband up from work before meeting Eric at a restaurant for dinner.

Janet's husband, Steve, was a flight instructor out of Burbank airport. On the way to the airport, about three blocks away, Janet's car broke down - I later learned this was not part of the plan. We walked the rest of the way.

When we got inside the lobby, I told her I was going to find a phone and give Eric a call to tell him we would be late. As I walked across the lobby, I looked out the big picture window and saw Steve and Eric standing outside. I expressed my surprise, and Janet steered me out to where the plane was parked.

Eric pulled out a rose, and told me we were going on an airplane trip to celebrate the completion of my class.

Steve and Janet promptly put on their "Peter Pan" and "Tinkerbell" identification tags, and we were off.

We flew to Santa Barbara, and Steve took the plane to the end of the runway. There was a restaurant there, The Elephant Bar, and we were dropped off. Steve and Janet taxied away. Now I was really confused. Why were our friends, whom I thought were celebrating my class being over, going away?

We were taken to a corner table, where I was presented with another rose - by the way, did I mention that I received roses throughout the day? At work, and in my apartment. Well, the love of my life asked me to marry him, and I was shocked that he pulled off this surprise. I knew the proposal was coming - after all, he had already asked my father, and several times over the previous weeks he would say, "Now, IF I were to ask you to marry me, what would you say?" He really had me believing that it would happen the following weekend, though.

Of course, I accepted, and was given a beautiful engagement ring. The silly waiter snapped a picture of us, and himself, and we had a delightful dinner.

When we finished, Steve and Janet were waiting outside with yet another rose. Did I mention that I love red roses?

We then did something I always wanted to do, fly over the coast and Los Angeles. We even flew down to Long Beach and over the Queen Mary.

Now, along the way, we stopped at the Oxnard landing strip, and were greeted by Eric's friend, Rick. He toasted us, from his tailgate, with sparkling cider and another rose.

When we arrived back at Burbank, we were greeted by another friend from church, who presented me with another rose, and he drove us back to Eric's condo. There, we were set up with more sparkling cider, cheesecake, and more roses!

To say the least, I was absolutely blown away with the attention to detail and love that went into this. So many people worked together to help me feel special, and they did a fabulous job!

So, Eric, thank you for asking me to marry you 15 years ago today. The years have been full of the good and the bad, but I'd do it all over again to be with you. Love you lots!!!

Posted at 5/26/2005 8:57:14 AM by Kathy Mack

The next day, we celebrated our engagement by spending the day at Disneyland.
25 years ago I was pursuing a pretty girl in the choir. I'm still pursuing that pretty girl in the choir 25 years later.

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Although we sang in the same choir, we never met until one night when half the singers were out sick and Peter Beers asked everyone to move to the center, which put me right next to this very pretty girl. I promptly introduced myself and struck up a brief conversation with Kathy (sorry Peter). She seemed nice, was very pretty, and appeared to be single -- all good signs for me. Thinking we could go out for a soda (remember when folks used to do that?), I politely asked her what she was doing after choir. She responded that she was going home to bake cookies for her children. Ouch! Next week, all the choir was healthy, so we moved back to opposite ends of the row. Needless to say, I didn't pursue her further at the time.

It turns out she really did have children -- wonderful children, more than 20 of them in fact! (What I didn't know was that she was a kindergarten teacher, and very nice, and very pretty and single.) Many months later I spoke with her again, and once we got that sorted out, I watched for her at rehearsal and on Sundays. Then, I asked her out again. But that's another story for another day.