by Colton Campbell

Dr. Faye McIntyre, dean of the Richards College of Business and Sewell chair of private enterprise at the University of West Georgia, needed only four words to tell why three of her faculty members received an annual award given by students from across Georgia.

Photo of University of West Georgia WebMBA professors Dr. Brad Prince, Dr. Charles Hodges and Dr. Jon Anderson.
L-R: Dr. Brad Prince, Dr. Charles Hodges, Dr. Jon Anderson

“They’re just really good.”

The professors – Dr. Charles Hodges, finance; Dr. Jon Anderson, management; and Dr. Brad Prince, management information systems – received Georgia WebMBA Outstanding Faculty of the Year awards this year. Only seven faculty members received the award, which is voted on by students.

“The fact that we had three winners is phenomenal,” McIntyre said. “It’s a testament to the tough selection process we have in place for WebMBA professors, so we only have the best of the best teaching in this program.”

Georgia WebMBA is a consortium of six Georgia universities that offer a master’s degree in business administration completely online. Once accepted, a student is placed in a cohort with approximately three dozen other students and takes all 10 courses in the program with the same group of students.

At the end of the program but before graduation, students are asked to identify their single most influential professor. Each cohort – of which there were seven this year – chooses a specific faculty member as its winner.

Three cohorts of the seven chose UWG professors, one of whom was management information systems professor Prince.

Prince credits taking time to “be a real person” to his students for his receiving the award.

“I want to make sure they know there’s a real person on the other side of the computer looking at their work and offering feedback,” Prince said. “We talk about issues in their current workplace or things they’ve seen in the past, and I can make suggestions that they can implement the next day at work. That’s really powerful to me.”

Hodges, who teaches finance in the WebMBA program, said he’s glad to have created a course that adds value to a student’s curriculum.

“I think if you can create that value-add in a caring environment with a challenging course, students are going to return the favor and reward you with recognitions like this,” Hodges said. “If you look at the list of the winners over the last several years, you’ll see that this award typically goes to faculty members who use technology efficiently, and that’s something we pride ourselves on at UWG.”

McIntyre said UWG does a “terrific job” of providing resources for faculty members so they may stay engaged with students while teaching online.

“It can be challenging, when you’re teaching a group of students online, to maintain that level of engagement that you can expect from a traditional in-person class,” McIntyre said. “Fortunately, our faculty members have done a phenomenal job ensuring that students who take the classes online are just as engaged as those who take the courses in a lecture hall.”

Anderson, who teaches strategic management in the WebMBA program, said the students he’s had in the past decade have been of “really high-caliber.”

“It’s rewarding to have my efforts recognized with an award like this,” said Anderson, who received the award for the first time this year. “I think I stood out among my peers because I found ways to connect the content I was teaching with areas the students are interested in, which helped them become more engaged and passionate about the process of completing their degree.”

UWG helped found the Georgia WebMBA program in 2000, with the first cohort of students beginning the program in January 2001.

Prince echoed his two colleagues’ sentiments when he called the award “humbling.”

“For students to remember me is really special to me, and I’m glad that I was able to make that connection with them in a positive way,” Prince said. “This is really one of the most rewarding awards that a faculty member can receive because it’s voted on by the students, and that means everything to me.”

Posted on December 7, 2017