"The MSIS is a state-of-the-art degree that recognizes..."
Ed Roberson is the author of seven volumes of poetry, including Voices Cast Out to Talk Us In, winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize; Just In: Word of Navigational Change: New and Selected Work; Atmosphere Conditions, a National Poetry Series winner; and his most recent, City Eclogue. Roberson received the 2008 Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. He has also received a Lila Wallace Reader's Digest Writer's Award.
Reginald Gibbons won the 2004 O. B. Hardison Jr. Poetry Prize from the Folger Shakespeare Library and is the author of many books of poetry, including Sparrow: New and Selected Poems, Homage to Longshot O'Leary, and It's Time. His latest book of poetry, Creatures of a Day, was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award. With the late Charles Segal he translated Euripides' Bakkhai and Sophocles' Antigone. He is also the author of a novel, Sweetbitter, a collection of very short fiction, Five Pears or Peaches, and other works. Gibbons has edited several works of fiction by William Goyen as well as a collection of Goyen's autobiographical writings, While You Were Away. He was the editor of TriQuarterly magazine from 1981 to 1997 and is professor of English and classics at Northwestern. In 2011 he was named Frances Hooper Chair in the Arts and Humanitie ;at Northwestern University. Since 1989 he has also taught in the low-residency MFA program for writers at Warren Wilson College. He has an AB from Princeton University and MA and PhD from Stanford University.
Stuart Dybek is the author of three books of fiction: I Sailed with Magellan, The Coast of Chicago, and Childhood and Other Neighborhoods. Both I Sailed with Magellan and The Coast of Chicago were New York Times Notable Books, and The Coast of Chicago was a One Book One Chicago selection. Dybek has also published two collections of poetry: Streets in Their Own Ink and Brass Knuckles. His fiction, poetry, and nonfiction have appeared in the New Yorker, Harper's, the Atlantic, Poetry, Tin House, and many other magazines, and have been widely anthologized, including work in both Best American Fiction and Best American Poetry. Among Dybek's numerous awards are a PEN/Malamud Prize "for distinguished achievement in the short story," a Lannan Award, a Whiting Writers Award, an award from the Academy of Arts and Letters, several O.Henry Prizes, fellowships from the NEA and the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rea Award for the Short Story, and the MacArthur "genius" grant in 2007.
Susan Harris knows online publishing firsthand. Her work as the editorial director of Words Without Borders, an online journal of literature in translation, includes trips to the Frankfurt Book Fair and exchanges with authors, translators and agents around the world.
Harris brings that experience to her role as faculty adviser for TriQuarterly Online, the international online literary journal. In her hands-on class, Seminar on Journal Publishing, Harris guides graduate students in the creative writing program through the publishing process as they serve on the staff of TriQuarterly Online: students read submissions, correspond with authors, contribute reviews and interviews, and market and promote the magazine. “Students can try out different roles in the magazine and stay involved in subsequent quarters,” says Harris. “It’s also valuable experience for students who wish to have their own work published.”
TriQuarterly earned great respect as a print publication, but Harris says publishing the journal online offers many extra advantages. “One great benefit is that we’re not limited to subscribers and bookstores,” says Harris. “We have readers all over the world.” The online format allows for multimedia discussions, with students contributing audio and video interviews of authors. The content can be easily updated and refreshed with reviews and essays, some written by students. “TriQuarterly Online is part of the literary conversation,” says Harris. “We’re in the thick of things.”
Since the journal went online in 2010, the staff has received about 3,000 submissions. Creative writing students not enrolled in the class can also volunteer as readers, and Harris says that sorting through the slush pile is instructive: “They learn when a story is ready, and that’s something they can apply to their own work.”
Last fall, Northwestern University School of Professional Studies launched an online Master of Science in Global Health (MSGH) in partnership with Feinberg School of Medicine. The degree is the first of its kind to be offered fully online, and aims to provide clinicians, researchers, nonprofit administrators, policy analysts, social entrepreneurs and others with a comprehensive foundation in global health in an interdisciplinary professional program that addresses all aspects of global health — from the strategies behind shaping public policy, to the challenges of delivering clinical care in the field (and everything in between).
To learn more about the program, its curriculum and what an MSGH can offer students, we talked to faculty director Ashti Doobay-Persaud, MD.
Q: What was the impetus behind launching an online master of science in global health at Northwestern?
A: We saw an opportunity to create a program that helps people who have passion for and commitment to global health gain the knowledge and necessary skills to contribute to the big fields in global health — like public policy, service and scholarship. We want people with medical backgrounds or people working in the allied health fields to be able to make a meaningful difference in places where it’s needed, and so we designed this program to help them gain the knowledge and skills they’d need to launch successful careers in global health.
Q: There are already a lot of graduate programs out there in public health — how would you differentiate a master’s in global health from a master’s in public health (MPH)?
A: Public health is particularly community-focused. It tackles issues that affect the health of an entire community and develops solutions individualized for that community — but the solutions are not necessarily global solutions that require global cooperation. Global health is a little bit different in that it takes the tenets of public health and applies them to an individual, as well as to a global health delivery system. The skills that you acquire in public health program are very much for big, programmatic interventions, like all-country or all-community interventions. The fields are similar in that they emphasize health, systems of health and health equity, but global health really refers to any issue that concerns many different countries, or is affected by many different determinants of disease, as opposed to those in one particular community or a country. Problems like climate change, tobacco control and maternal and child health exemplify “global” topics.
Q: What type of coursework will MSGH students take?
A: First, they’ll get a foundation in important topics global health. We are working from a competency base that has been proposed by the consortium of universities for global health. Students will be doing some case-based work; there will be a lot of discussion board work for them to learn from one another; and the experience will culminate in a practicum, where they apply their knowledge and skills to add value to an existing program. The curriculum will explore global burden of disease; globalization and health care; social determinants of disease; collaborating, partnering and building capacity in health delivery systems; and global health bioethics — these are the big domains that we’re going to address in all of the classes. We’re trying to thread those ideas throughout the program and some of them are individual classes in and of themselves.
Q: This program is offered at SPS in partnership with Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine. What can you tell us about the makeup of the MSGH faculty?
A: Much of the MSGH faculty are currently faculty members at Feinberg School of Medicine; students in the program will have full access to the same faculty and resources as Feinberg students and residents.
We also tried to build the faculty and curriculum to mirror the realities of working in the global health field. In practice, global health delivery requires working with people from different disciplines: people who work in business, administration, pharmaceuticals, physical therapy — pretty much every field you can think of. We have an instructor from the undergraduate pharmacy school; an instructor who is doing some work from the engineering school; and an instructor who is a medical anthropologist and the president of World Resources Chicago. Students will be learning about policy from a policy person, and learning about pharmaceuticals from someone who has been working to deliver antiretrovirals to people in Nigeria. The curriculum will truly mirror the realities of working in the global health field.
Q: This program is offered exclusively online — what does the online format offer students that a traditional full-time, on-campus program doesn’t?
A: Many of the people that are going to enroll in this program will probably already be in established professions and may not have the flexibility to take full-time, campus-based degrees. This program is designed to help those people accrue knowledge and skills at their own pace, without interrupting their careers or relocating. Also, we’d like to make this available to people in other countries — to make this a truly global program — and that is really best done online.
Q: Who would be ideally suited for this program?
A: Researchers, nonprofit administrators, people already working in policy making and policy analysis, people involved in social entrepreneurship, and particularly people who want to work in non-government organizations (NGO), public health departments, or even government organizations.
Q: What sort of careers does this program prepare students for?
A: The great thing about this degree is that it opens students to a lot of career paths, depending on their interests. Graduates could potentially work in a public health department, an NGO or a government organization. They could return to academia doing research or advance their training in global health — or even gain an academic position in medicine. I also think this is great program for people interested in launching a career in social entrepreneurship in global health. And it’s ideally suited for people who may want to work for some of the major players — like the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control — who need skills to open doors to those organizations.
Q: Do you have any advice for prospective students considering the program?
A: I think it’s always good advice to enroll in a program with an idea of why you want to do the course — to know where you might want to go with it when you graduate. If you are someone who wants to work in the field, tailor what you’re doing right now to apply it to global health. Coming into the program with an idea of what you want to do with it would really help. You get the most out of it that way.
For news and information on SPS's Master of Science in Global Health, click here.
Interview by Lesley Gibson
David Liebovitz, M.D.
Before medical school David Liebovitz majored in electrical engineering. He’s made good use of that hybrid background as chief medical informatics officer for the Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation, medical director for clinical information systems at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and faculty director of the MMI program at SCS. He also sees patients in his clinical practice in internal medicine, supervises residents and conducts research on the use of electronic information systems.
How can medical informatics revolutionize patient care?
Let’s say a physician sees a new patient who’s already received five or six diagnoses and is on nine different medications. It’s beyond the ability of any physician to manage that much information during a 20-minute visit. Medical informatics facilitates and guides medical decision making, increasing the probability of safe and effective care. Tens of thousands of people die from medical errors every year; those are largely system errors that could be significantly reduced with proper management of medical information.
Are there other advantages?
Medical informatics improves communication and acts as a bridge between patients and physicians. In my own practice, patients have online access to some of their records, including lab results with my comments. Information can empower patients and encourage them to participate in their care. Medical informatics also saves money — potentially billions of dollars annually.
How does the MMI program work?
MMI students follow one of two tracks, depending on whether their backgrounds are in health care or in computing and information technology. The program helps students leverage their backgrounds to understand both sides of the equation.
How do MMI students benefit from the program?
There’s an enormous need for a skilled workforce in medical informatics. The time and effort spent in the MMI program should pay off in expanded opportunities for Northwestern graduates.
Jake Setlak, a vice president and planning director at Energy BBDO, a Chicago-based advertising agency, has a few questions for creative professionals. “Can you explain to clients and management, in meaningful terms, the difference between one technology platform and another? Recommend one tactic versus another? Lead a digital design project?”
Setlak is a member of the advisory board of Northwestern University School of Professional Studies’ new Master of Science in Information Design program. The program was created to help web, design, copywriting, marketing and other professionals develop into digital media generalists who understand all aspects of a comprehensive digital strategy and can apply creative solutions to complex communication challenges.
What is Information Design?
The field of information design has grown rapidly in recent years in response to the proliferation of data and vast new data sources. Institutions and businesses of all types are acutely in need of professionals who can translate this information into compelling visual forms and narratives, particularly within digital media — think of web design, phone apps, online course design, infographics or even the interface at a gas station pump.
“Information design has been around in some form for thousands of years, but the advent of ‘big data’ has expanded the field,” says Eric Patrick, an associate professor in Northwestern’s radio, TV and film department who will be teaching courses in the new program. “This degree formalizes what professionals across industries need to know about effectively using and presenting this data.”
Hiring Trends Point to Bright Future for Digital Generalists
According to both Patrick and Setlak, hiring trends now favor digital media generalists who can act as integrators across the design and development team rather than those with more narrow digital or creative skill sets with gaps in their expertise.
“We will always need specialists like writers, designers and web developers,” says Setlak. “But today, there’s a growing need for information design experts who can lead collaborative multidisciplinary teams of specialists and understand every person’s role. In advertising especially, it’s no longer just about developing a pleasing image or a catchy phrase. How do we act upon information consumers are giving, and how can that activity be measured?”
Northwestern’s extensive research backs him up. It shows expected strong job growth in the disciplines touched by information design, due in large part to the increasingly important role that digital media play in customer relationship management. According to industry opinion leaders, nearly every type of organization has an acute need for professionals with a “big picture” understanding of information design.
The strong theoretical framework of Northwestern's program and its focus on fundamental concepts makes the degree applicable to many diverse fields and types of organizations — business, the arts, government, healthcare and education, to name a few — and prepares students to approach evolving technologies with a critical eye in order to excel long after they graduate.
Article by Linda Behzad
Faisal Akkawi is the Executive Director of Information Systems Programs at Northwestern University School of Professional Studies. He holds a doctorate in computer science and a master's degree in electrical engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology. Akkawi is an experienced academic practitioner whose leadership and strategic planning skills have allowed for the mentoring of fellow faculty members and undergraduate and graduate students. He is recognized as an innovative thought leader amongst peers in the planning and execution of duties including curriculum development, faculty and course scheduling, faculty and student recruitment, and budgetary development. Akkawi is continuously performing research in cutting-edge and thought-provoking fields including knowledge management, concurrent object-oriented software systems, aspect-oriented technology, and the evolution of technological education.
FA: My goal as an instructor is to match the topic to the class, rather than match the class to my topic. If a student says, "I do this differently at my company," we stop and discuss that student's experience and apply it to what I'm teaching.
Q: Are many students industry professionals?
FA: Yes, and that distinguishes this program. In fact, our students develop a tremendously valuable network through MSIS. I have seen quite a few students be hired by one of their classmates or instructors.
Q: How would you describe this program to someone who is considering a degree in information systems?
FA: The MSIS is a state-of-the-art degree that recognizes market needs, as demonstrated by the fact that we are now engaged in our second curriculum revision in two years! It is a program designed primarily for working professionals who seek a hands-on, laboratory-based experience that will broaden and deepen their knowledge of new and emerging IT. The vast majority of our faculty members are industry leaders — the best at what they do. Classes are offered on nights and weekends, which allows the program to be completed as quickly as one-and-a-half years — although it is flexible enough for students to take up to five years for completion.
Q: Who should apply?
FA: Technology is part of every aspect of our lives today. This program fits people who want to understand how to communicate with technology, people who want to advance their careers in technology and those who want to switch careers. If you are a doctor who wants to use technology to analyze data, this program will help you. If you are a manager or CEO who is integrating technology into your company, this degree is for you. If you are in IT and want to know what's new in the field, this is the program. These are just a few examples — MSIS attracts a wide range of professionals.
Gabriel John Schofield
Behind every great organization is a great IT leader. Gabriel John Schofield is that person at Symphony Asset Management, a boutique, cutting-edge capital investment management company situated within San Francisco’s booming technology and business scene. As director of application development, he is responsible for the daily development, integration and support of the firm’s operational and analytical systems. And when he’s not working with diverse professionals across his firm, Schofield is involved with industry groups that define and maintain financial messaging and data standards.
Q: What are the most satisfying or challenging aspects of working in the industry?
GJS: The pace of change can be relentless: clients have become more demanding as the distinction between business and consumer applications has blurred. At the same time, sectors like healthcare and financial services are grappling with increased regulation and the shift to the cloud, while the general ubiquity of data have created new privacy and security challenges.
Q: What might surprise people who are considering IT?
GJS: The degree of career specialization and the shifting demand for particular skills. To stay relevant, you need to take a lifelong approach to learning. I was able to earn multiple graduate degrees and certificates — in business and finance, not just IT — without interrupting my career.
Q: What makes for great IT leadership?
GJS: The ability to collaborate with business leaders, align IT goals with business objectives, facilitate interdisciplinary discussion and draw on a strong network of peers.
Q: Any advice from “the trenches,” so to speak?
GJS: Focus on business outcomes, always clarify assumptions that you make about business requirements, structure projects in order to deliver incremental business benefits, and communicate with your stakeholders frequently.
Q: What would you be doing if you weren’t in IT?
GJS: I considered medicine, but the series of career decisions that led to IT seemed very natural. I’ve been lucky to enjoy an engaging, challenging and intellectually stimulating career.
Gunther Branham remembers when a major system at the company he worked for was crashing at least two times a week. He took over the problem and solved it through “pure communication, and a little tech wizardry” — just one of the moments that earned him CIO-level responsibilities at the Fortune 100 company where he worked for many years across global corporate functions. He led teams in everything from systems planning, budgeting, and delivery, to outsourcing, ecommerce and tech center startups. Now focused on teaching, he also volunteers as a mentor for tech startup ideas and proposals.
Q: What are the most satisfying or challenging aspects of working in IT?
GB: Getting the balance right — giving the client fast delivery, new technology, high value and compliant solutions. Bringing in the right technology at the right time. A challenge can be when you have to say that it’s not the right time.
Q: What might surprise people who are considering the industry?
GB: The amount of business skills that are involved: how do you do a financial spreadsheet? How do you finance business software? For computer science people, it’s a surprise to find out how IT really fits into a company’s business structure and strategy.
Q: What makes for great IT leadership?
GB: Being able to speak to the business side of an organization and interpret their needs. Also, understanding that IT is not a magic problem solver and resisting the impulse to acquire every new kind of technology.
Q: Any advice from “the trenches,” so to speak?
GB: Figure out the kind of company you want to work for and what you enjoy doing. Don’t beat your head against the wall trying to make something fit — consider your own personal preferences, skills and goals.
Q: What would you be doing if you weren’t in IT?
GB: My bachelor’s degree was in physics, and I love science, so I might have pursued a PhD and geared my career toward research and development in an entrepreneurial context. But I’m very happy with the path I’ve chosen — computing is my baby.
Jeffrey M. Gott
If students aren’t sure about the realities of IT management or business analysis before they take Jeffrey Gott’s classes, they find out soon. After 35-year career in senior-level IT management, mainly at a global Fortune 500 healthcare company, Gott knows what works and what doesn’t. Across an incredibly wide range of functions, he brought diverse departments together, ensured positive outcomes even when business problems were tough, and developed a great eye for the kind of skills and traits that make for a good IT leader. Recently retired, he is now focused on teaching and sharing that wisdom and experience with students through case studies and IT management topics taken straight from his long career.
Q: What are the most satisfying or challenging aspects of working in the industry?
JG: There are always new things to learn. As an IT professional you are the service situated in the middle of different disciplines or departments, so you know what’s new and important in finance, manufacturing, law and human resources. At the same time, it’s a challenge to bring people together.
Q: What might surprise people who are considering IT?
JG: I didn’t find that IT in a business setting was surprising in any way, perhaps because I started as a bench technician and worked my way up while earning my degrees. I didn’t expect to have a 360-degree view of so many business functions — the different sides of human resources, law, finance, etc. — but that has only helped my career.
Q: What makes for great IT leadership?
JG: Staying focused on the business process and having enough interest in it to grow the business, contribute new ideas and take responsible risks. Accepting that all of your ideas are not good ideas.
Q: Any advice from “the trenches,” so to speak?
JG: Develop a broader understanding of what’s rewarding to you personally. It’s also a big transition to move toward managing people; a good analyst might not be a good manager. But most companies have several different career tracks for people with solid IT skills.
Q: What would you be doing if you weren’t in IT?
JG: My first degree out of high school was an associate’s degree in electronic engineering. I might have pursued engineering further, if I wasn’t in IT. I love technology and learning, and the industry fulfills those interests.
“Teaching at Northwestern is a special experience for me. I like using my teaching skills, and my students are enriched by learning about what I’m doing in industry.”
William Sunna is a master builder — of data warehouses, that is. “Data warehouses contain highly summarized information that can be used to make smart business decisions,” says Sunna. With years of experience providing data solutions to Fortune 500 companies in the insurance, retail, and financial services industries, Sunna understands his clients’ needs. “A big retailer can collect point-of-sales information and generate summarized reports about where and how a product is selling,” says Sunna. “Insurance data can be used to determine pricing and to document it for regulators.”
Sunna is equally at home in the academic world. He earned a PhD in computer science from the University of Illinois at Chicago and has presented and published research on ontology alignment in various domains of knowledge such as geography and medical research. Sunna brings his academic and industry experience to Northwestern’s Master of Science in Information Systems program, where he teaches Computer Information Systems Project. Students in the course work in groups to develop large-tier information systems. “They have to prove they are capable of taking a complete project from beginning to end,” says Sunna. “It tests everything they know.”
The classroom doubles as the conference room. Sunna suggests a project, usually a business problem. “I tell them, ‘I’m your customer. Here’s what I have in mind,’” says Sunna. “Each team comes up with a different design solution and way of doing things. That makes it interesting.” Sunna says students learn as much about communication as they do about software development: “In the academic world things always go according to plan. In the real world, things can go wrong. Project management can be just important as database management.”
Albert Hunter is professor of sociology and is affiliated with Northwestern's Institute for Policy Research and the Transportation Center. He has previously taught at the University of Chicago, Wesleyan University, and the University of Rochester. He has held visiting appointments at Yale, the London School of Economics and Political Science, the University of Paris, and the University of Edinburgh. His teaching and research interests include urban sociology, community, ethnicity, culture and literature, urban politics and civil society, and research methods. Hunter has won a number of teaching awards. He most enjoys a tutorial teaching style that includes a mix of brief lectures and more thorough discussion of texts and readings. He also encourages first-hand primary research relevant to course topics. Hunter has published numerous books and articles, including Symbolic Communities, The Rhetoric of Social Research: Understood and Believed, Foundations of Multimethod Research, and most recently Pragmatic Liberalism: Constructing a Civil Society. He has served as editor of the Local Community Fact Book, and Urban Affairs Review, and chair of the community section of the American Sociological Association. His current research includes a restudy of Zorbaugh's The Gold Coast and the Slum, a study of the elite suburb of Kenilworth, a study of neighborhood response to gangs, a study of local ethnic institutions, and a comparative study of civil society in the US and the UK. He also serves as chair of the City of Evanston Plan Commission. His undergraduate degree is from Cornell and his PhD is from the University of Chicago.
Henry Binford, associate professor of history, is a specialist in the study of cities and urbanization. He is the author of The First Suburbs: Residential Communities on the Boston Periphery, 1815–1860. He is at work on a study of 19th-century slums. Binford has received Weinberg College Outstanding Teaching Award, the Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Charles Deering McCormick Professorship of Teaching Excellence, and the National Faculty Award of the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs. His PhD is from Harvard University.
Daniel Born is vice president for postsecondary programs at the Great Books Foundation in Chicago and editor of its quarterly magazine, the Common Review. His scholarly interests include the novel, religion and American fiction, and Romantic prose and poetry. He is author of The Birth of Liberal Guilt in the English Novel: Charles Dickens to H.G. Wells as well as various articles and essays in scholarly and mainstream publications. His PhD is from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, where he studied with Alfred Kazin and Irving Howe.
Angela Fontes has a dual appointment as an assistant professor of Human Development and Family Resources at Illinois State University, and a senior economist in the Statistics and Methodology department at the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago. Fontes' research centers on family financial well-being and utilizes national, federal data sets including the Survey of Consumer Finances, the Survey of Income and Program Participation, and the Consumer Expenditure Survey. She is the project director on several major projects with the U.S. Census Bureau, and works with a broad range of public and private clients on analytic research. Fontes' research can be found in journals such as Health Affairs, the Journal of Family and Economic Issues, the Journal of Women, Politics and Policy, Financial Counseling and Planning, and the International Journal of Transportation Research. Prior to NORC, Fontes worked in predictive analytics and market research consulting for five years with Chamberlain Research Consultants and Leo Burnett. Her clients included Wachovia Bank and Phillip Morris USA. Fontes earned her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in consumer behavior and family economics.
Thomas W. Miller is faculty director of the Predictive Analytics program. He has designed courses for the program, including Marketing Analytics, Advanced Modeling Techniques, Data Visualization, and the capstone course. He has taught extensively in the program, offering courses in modeling methods, machine learning, and web analytics. Before joining the faculty at Northwestern, Miller spent fifteen years in business IT in the computer and transportation industries. He also directed the A. C. Nielsen Center for Marketing Research and taught market research and business strategy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Miller is consulting editor to Pearson Education in practical data science. His books with Pearson include Data and Text Mining: A Business Applications Approach and Modeling Techniques in Predictive Analytics. Miller is also co-founder and director of product development at ToutBay, an IT firm specializing in the delivery of data science services. He has consulted widely in the areas of retail site selection, product positioning, segmentation, and pricing in competitive markets, and has worked with predictive models for more than thirty years. Miller holds a PhD in psychology (psychometrics) and a master's degree in statistics from the University of Minnesota, and an MBA and master's degree in economics from the University of Oregon.
A teacher who interrupts a European vacation to respond to a student’s email — and apologizes for not replying a few hours sooner — clearly never puts her students out of mind.
“When I emailed Dr. Rothleder asking if she would be my thesis adviser, I was impressed that she got back to me the very same day — and then she even apologized for not getting back to me sooner,” says Matt Wos (MPPA ’09). “And then she explained she was overseas. She was checking her email from Italy!”
Wos is hardly the only student for whom Dianne Rothleder, the 2011 SCS Distinguished Teaching Award winner, has gone above and beyond. Rothleder is known for her quick and detailed replies to student questions and requests — as well as for passion for her subject, spot-on blend of challenge and encouragement, openness to opinions, and lively discussions even in online courses. In fact, the comments below from her students could be responses to the question, What makes a great teacher?
Rothleder has been a lecturer in the Master of Arts in Public Policy and Administration (MPPA) Program since 2004. She currently teaches The Legislative Process (both the on-campus and online classes), Political Theory and Public Policy, and Scope and Dynamics of Public Policy. A PhD in political science alumna of the University of Chicago, she also teaches part-time at Loyola University Chicago. “I teach part-time as a full-time job,” she quips. “I’m an academic through and through.”
Rothleder is the second person in her family to receive the continuing education best teacher award. Her husband, Andrew Cutrofello (PhD89), now a tenured professor at Loyola, received the award in 1989 when he taught philosophy at the former University College. “He is thrilled about our matching crystal paperweights,” says Rothleder, who received her award at a faculty meeting in September.
In her own words: Dianne Rothleder on teaching
My teaching philosophy? Knowing the importance of harboring deep respect for students as human beings; for helping students see complexities, puzzles, and difficulties even when things look kind of simple at first; for reading and presenting multiple perspectives on any and every topic so that every thought one carries is destabilized. Aiding students in a journey from received opinion, through destabilization, to something that one day might be more securely held, is a Socratic ideal. Destabilization is risky and uncomfortable, yet the most important thing.
If I do anything right as a teacher, it is to allow safe space for students to read, question, and think through massive amounts of material to see that multiplicity and uncertainty reign; to make space for people to pursue their own interests while encouraging them to wonder about the insights of others.
I am passionate about the topics I teach. I love Congress as an institution. I have had numerous students who start out thinking Congress is corrupt and a dysfunctional mess, and by the end, they have a deep respect for how members of Congress represent their districts, try to carry out their responsibilities, and contend with pressures, informational issues, scheduling issues, and a range of structural limitations. They end up seeing there is a lovely logic to the way congressional structures play out.
Continuing ed students are amazing. Many have real-world experience that helps shed light on the texts. They all have less time than full-time students, they take their classes at night when everyone is just a little more tired, and yet they do amazing work. The scholarship they produce in their theses has frequently changed my thinking.
My successes as a teacher are all caught up in the worth of the texts I’m privileged to present and the students I’m privileged to encourage. From Socrates to Sarah Binder, from John Rawls to John Kingdon, the texts and the students make the class.
When William Lester decamps from his home in Jacksonville, Alabama, to Moscow in March 2013 to lecture and do research on Russian civil society as a Fulbright Scholar, he and his wife, Sharon, will bring their entire family — including seven children ages 3 to 20 — along for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. He will also continue to teach at Northwestern. Being 5,000 miles from campus will not be problem, says Lester, who teaches in Northwestern’s Master of Arts in Public Policy and Administration (MPPA) online program.
Distance learning attracts students from around the world and connects them with the best and brightest faculty, like Lester. An organizational theorist with a PhD in political science from Texas Tech University, Lester focuses his research on leadership, public administration, and public policy. After Hurricane Katrina he added disaster response to his areas of interest. “Katrina was followed by a colossal failure of systems,” says the Gulf Coast native. “When I didn’t see some of the research I wanted being published, I jumped into the fray myself.” The author of dozens of publications and a 2008 presenter at Minnowbrook III — the elite gathering of public administration scholars is held only once every 20 years — Lester says that his theoretical work is practice-oriented. “I enjoy working on theories and developing new insights that bring the theories into real world application,” he says. “I want to see meaningful systemic change.”
At Northwestern Lester teaches Foundations of Leadership and Strategic Policy Implementation. Even in the remote format, Lester says he really gets to know his students: “Online learning can be superior to the classroom in some ways. You can’t hide in the back of the class. Everyone has to participate.” Lester interacts with students around the world. His MPPA students have logged in from Israel, Afghanistan, and Mexico and have included an aide to a U.S. Senator and executives of nonprofit organizations. “Teaching energizes me and keeps me fresh,” says Lester. “I apply my research and experience to my teaching, and my teaching gives me ideas for my research.”
Karriem Watson is a research manager in the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Watson has more than 13 years' experience in clinical research, having worked as a clinical research associate, project manager and coordinator in both academic and industry settings. His research focuses on community engagement in clinical trials and capacity building of community partners, and addresses issues of importance regarding enrollment of diverse populations in clinical trials. He is also co-founder and co-president of AcaMED Clinical Research Associates, LLC where he focuses on training investigators and clinical research staff on successful protocol design, execution and recruitment. Watson completed his medical doctorate at St. Luke School of Medicine in Monrovia, Liberia and completed an MS in basic medical sciences at Wayne State University College of Medicine. He also holds an MPH from the University of Illinois at Chicago's School of Public Health.
“I call it my five-minute rule,” says Dan Migala, MSA instructor and sports entrepreneur, consultant and author. “Everyone has at least five minutes, and I help students get that time with people in the industry. They’ll always get a seat at the table, and the rest is up to them.”
If Migala has the connections, it’s because he has worked or consulted for nearly every level of sports franchise, including the MLB, NHL, NFL, NBA, LPGA and Cricket Australia. He has written several books on sports marketing and currently publishes The Migala Report, a newsletter thousands of executives turn to for the latest industry trends and practices.
But success isn’t just about networking — it’s also about creativity. Changing the Chicago White Sox game time to 7:11 for sponsor 7-Eleven? That’s Migala’s idea. The right field foul pole at Petco Park that’s a giant replica of TaylorMade’s R11 driver? That’s Migala’s, too.
“It’s as competitive off the field as on,” he says. “My course helps students learn to think creatively and innovatively, to focus on what they can do differently and what brand stories they can tell. I give them the confidence to think like an owner. In fact, my course operates more like an ownership forum than a traditional graduate school class.”
Migala pulls directly from his experiences with the Chicago Bears, the San Diego Padres and as a co-owner of the Class A Ft. Myers Miracles. “I share the successes, and the failures — because those are just as instructive,” he says. “I help students think like professionals and build on the wonderful set of core skills the program provides.”
“When I teach the Capstone course, I want students to know: I took this course myself, so I know exactly how it can shape your career,” says Drew Russell, an instructor in the MA in Sports Administration program and currently vice president of sports properties at Intersport, a leading sports and entertainment marketing company based in Chicago.
Russell is an MSA alum with more than 15 years of experience in the sports marketing industry and was named to the Sports Business Journal “Forty Under 40 — Class of 2013. Prior to Intersport, he spent several years in sponsorship marketing at Wunderman, a global ad agency, and had a stint at ESPN. He brings that diverse experience to students as they work through the Capstone project — the final requirement of the MSA program.
“My own capstone project became a real event at Intersport — an outdoor college hockey double header held at historic Soldier Field with a total of 18 days of related activities,” he says. “I want to encourage students to hone in on their interests and open their minds to all the industry has to offer.”
Russell has learned that “there’s always money available for a good idea, or a new take on a tried-and-true concept.” That enthusiasm and know-how have helped him build a portfolio of premier, televised events at Intersport and a successful career in sports marketing.
“I hope to help students find their passion and avoid taking a limited view of the industry,“ he says. “There are great opportunities out there. Really apply yourself in the program, bring a little creativity and remember that sports is, at its core, a business. That will open doors for you.”
“I’ve been a Chicago sports fan since I was a child, and I try to never miss a game,” says Frank Recchia, certified public accountant, vice president with McGraw-Hill, and instructor in the Master of Arts in Sports Administration program. “But I also really enjoy understanding how businesses work and making them successful.”
Recchia has been doing that for more than 25 years, and often his two passions have overlapped. Recchia worked as an auditor with Coopers & Lybrand (now PriceWaterhouseCoopers) and then for the Chicago Tribune Company during the many years when it owned the Chicago Cubs. He then went to McGraw-Hill, a global college educational publisher, to oversee financial operations. He and his co-instructor, Bill Waters, Senior Director of Finance for the Chicago White Sox, help students understand the unique, real-world challenges of sports business and finance.
“Students not only learn basic economic theory and budgeting and accounting concepts, but also how to read and analyze financial statements and understand why revenue and expenses in sports are different from corporations with shareholders — there is ticket pricing, player compensation, stadium leases, agents, partnerships and bond issues,” he explains. “At the end of the day an organization not only needs a solid balance sheet, but also good strategies to stay profitable. We discuss that with a sports angle whenever possible.”
Many students enter the program with minimal finance or accounting knowledge. But Recchia and Waters use understandable terms and real-life examples, as well as guest speakers and group presentations on sports topics.
“We ask students to analyze an organization’s financial condition or help them build a better brand, and they get really engaged,” he says. “They become very comfortable asking the tough financial questions and putting it all together. They’ll tell us, “I can’t believe how much I learned!”
“I might work on sponsorship platforms with 12 different NFL teams tomorrow, then on NASCAR initiatives or on Olympic marketing projects the next day.” That’s how sports marketing expert Jeff Bail describes a typical day as vice president of Van Wagner Sports and Entertainment. “I help clients better understand how to grow their business, strengthen their brand, and effectively become involved with, activate, and leverage sports and/or entertainment platforms.”
Bail brings that same deep experience to his courses as an MSA instructor. One of the industry experts who helped create and build the program, Bail began his career at Nabisco managing consumer brands such as Grey Poupon and Hawaiian Punch. He saw a need for bringing that type of classic packaged goods marketing sophistication to the sports industry, and later held senior management positions in various sports marketing agencies — even owning his own agency for several years. Bail’s sports marketing programs have fueled brands such as York HVAC/Johnson Controls, Inc., GMC Truck, Gatorade, Sara Lee, Pennzoil, Whirlpool, Frank’s RedHot and Nicor Energy — to name a few.
“In the Fundamentals class, I ground everything we do in classic, strategic marketing,” he says. “I bring real-world, real-time perspective and share whatever deals I’m working on with students. The relevancy is second to none.” Bail takes an integrated approach to marketing — sales promotion, advertising, public relations, digital/social media and experiential marketing are included — and brings in guest speakers from his extensive professional network.
Students have picked up on the value Bail brings to class, and they respond to his sincere interest in their career success. In fact, he was honored during a Northwestern football game as one of the most popular Northwestern faculty members.
“I’m always getting emails from former students — even eight or ten years later — looking for advice or sharing their success stories. It’s very gratifying to hear a student say, “thank you — you changed my life.’”
“Consider the issue of doping in competitive cycling,” says Jill Weinberg, one of the instructors in the MSA program. “Society says it’s bad, but inside that environment it was not necessarily considered deviant. In fact, you are a deviant if you didn’t dope. So how should we think about it?”
Thinking critically about social issues in sports, and getting students to make broader connections about the industry relate directly to Weinberg’s background. In addition to her law degree, Weinberg earned MAs in the social sciences both at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University, and is completing a PhD in Northwestern’s Department of Sociology with numerous publications and fellowships under her belt. She also was a Division I athlete on the Boston University Women’s Rowing Team, so she relates the course topics to her own experience.
“We read, discuss and write about a wide range of topics such as the culture of fandom, economic exploitation, stereotypes and the myth that sports leads to upward mobility for minority groups,” she explains. “My goal is not to convert students to sociology, but raise awareness about how a sociological framework can help them make informed decisions in their careers. When a team threatens to move, students appreciate that this occurs according to a pattern they learned about — they feel like fortune tellers.”
Weinberg also exposes students to a rigorous writing schedule: “Students have different backgrounds, but everyone will learn to write better. You will learn a lot about the culture of sports, and in the process your writing will be brought up to professional standards.”