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William is an Assistant Professor at Mount Saint Vincent University in the Department of Business Administration and Tourism and Hospitality Management. He is fascinated by research around how individuals construct and create their social realities, intrigued with the powers of creativity and innovation, and an avid proponent of outstanding service experiences. When not teaching, writing, or researching, he tries to spend time with his family and occasionally paint. He is currently completing his PhD in Management at Saint Mary’s University.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Starting to run when the starting gun fires

First week of a new semester is always an enlightening time. You learn a great deal about students in the first class.

For example, who shows up to the first class? I've had the 'first' class in two different courses this week; roughly 75% attendance in the first class and 60% in the other. Now every student knows when the first day of classes is held - they signed up for the course, right? And they paid tuition. Approximately $550+ if you’re a domestic student and over $1000 for international students. So why not come? Curious.

But to the students that show up, what do I learn from them? Firstly, who is really paying attention and who is going through the motions. Some already have a copy of the course outline and have purchased the textbook. Others seem to be happy having found the classroom and are curious when the introduction class will be over. First impressions are powerful, as they should be in a world in which first impressions are so powerful.

Speaking of, after stating in one class that I would be forming students’ teams for a major project, I was approached by a handful of students asking if they could actually form their own team. I said that it wasn't my habit to make exceptions but was curious why they asked? Their response was "We would prefer not to work with students that didn't show up to the first class. They have already made a bad first impression."

It gives me hope; my students have learned some valuable lessons already.

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