Professor Mary Beth Klinger was recently named among the Top 25 Women Professors in Maryland. Serving as a faculty member for the Extended Studies Virtual Site, she shares her insights on teaching, pursuing your master’s degree and what the future holds for virtual learning.
What master’s degree program courses do you teach at Florida Tech?
I teach Applied Project Management (MGT 5020), Advanced Information Systems Technology (MGT 5154) and a special topics course on Knowledge Management (MGT 5070).
What do you like about teaching online and what do you think the future of online learning holds?
I enjoy the opportunity to work with students from all over the world. Students with different backgrounds, education, professions, etc. join together in an online class and establish a diverse community of learners. This motivates students to excel as well as think about their place in this dynamic and global world of business. I believe that this helps to promote the knowledge and understanding of course concepts and how these concepts are applicable in the global marketplace as well as students’ personal lives.
How would you describe your teaching philosophy or style?
Teaching is an opportunity for me to empower and inspire students. My goal is to engage students by providing meaningful learning experiences that can be transferred into the business world. I understand students have a variety of learning styles so I use strategies and methods of instruction that encourage them to become involved with the content through discussions, reflection, and active participation. I believe it is important to provide contextual and applied learning opportunities to develop and foster critical and creative thinking skills.
Of the field(s) you teach, what do you think are the best opportunities out there for graduate students and how is it evolving?
I am an advocate for higher education and instill this into every student. As an experienced instructor with multiple educational credentials, I understand that education opens doors. Thus, I encourage students to stay focused and on task within the course, because a single course builds onto a program and core knowledge, and finally graduation and solidifying your place within a profession. I continually remind students that if they can remain focused on their goals, a graduate degree from Florida Tech will offer them opportunities in their profession and within this global marketplace. The degree is well worth the hard work, sacrifices and effort it requires.
In your opinion, what are some of the ways students can set themselves up for success in their field of study?
We all need to be students of life-long learning. It is a never-ending quest to develop oneself. Students who enroll in a graduate program at Florida Tech have made a commitment to be successful in the program. It is not an easy journey, especially with work, family and outside commitments. Being successful in the graduate program requires the student to be focused, organized, self-determined and committed to the class. As the professor, I expect students to come to the table ready to learn and hungry for new knowledge. This means being challenged and questioning their past knowledge with the new and advanced information that the class is presenting them. I am excited when students join the class with enthusiasm and are ambitious to learn and explore this new global world.
In your opinion, what is the value of a master’s degree?
A graduate degree indicates mastery in one’s field. It is not an easy degree to obtain, nor should it be. Earning a graduate degree signifies significant learning, understanding and most importantly, application of concepts and ideas in one’s profession. The value of pursuing a master’s degree comes from a more in-depth knowledge and synthesis of critical components of the student’s chosen field. The details are important and how you interpret, articulate, utilize and apply the new knowledge and information gained becomes paramount.