Facebook pixel Charla Griffy-Brown, PhD | Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

Charla Griffy-Brown, PhD

  • PhD, Griffith University
  • BA, Harvard University

How would you describe the approach to teaching at the Graziadio School?

As director for the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence, I have been training new faculty and introducing them to core values at the Graziadio School. In this regard, I've developed a framework for translating these values into teaching practice called "REAL." That is, teaching at the Graziadio School is Relational, Experiential, Applied and Learner-focused.

How do you build relationships with students?

Teaching is a relationship between me, the individual student, and the class. This relationship extends beyond the classroom as I evolve into a mentor, advisor, and friend. This happens with the entire group, with teams, and with individuals. Opportunities for this connection are deliberately embedded in my classes. I bring my entire self to the classroom and welcome students to do the same through Facebook, LinkedIn, Yammer, sharing our stories as we move through and experience the digital business world of the 21st century. I'm still in contact with some of my first university students.

How do you ensure your teachings are learner-focused?

I want my students to be inspired by their own individual and collective exploration of technology, innovation, and business. Through cases, class discussions, e-learning, personal examples, personal connection, reflection, multi-media, experimentation, and even humor I provide a culture of feedback and assessment that goes beyond the material to individual learning and growth. I want them to realize that they are capable of lives of great joy and meaning as they embrace their own unique calling of service, purpose and leadership.

Describe the learning experience in your classroom.

I encourage students to not take themselves so seriously by focusing on real priorities as part of their own personal and professional development. This approach is risky, and by taking on this risk, students are taught to do the same. Taking risks builds confidence. Risk is required for discovery (as is failure). I encourage my students to fail, and I endeavor to create an environment in which they can "fail early and fail often." We talk about failure as an essential element of learning and they are given space to practice it. Academic rigor is essential, as is constant feedback and even disappointment. However, I emphasize that the learning experience requires getting things wrong as well as getting things right and learning from both.

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