My Philosophy of Education/Training
“Good, the more communicated, the more abundant grows.”
— John Milton, English Writer
“Carpe Diem! (Sieze the Day!)”
I love to teach university students! Early in my career, I received a number of job offers to become a full time external corporate consultant and/or company executive. Although financially lucrative, I felt these opportunities would clearly interfere with my calling in life: to engage in rich learning exchanges with thinking students who seek a better world. So I’ve been based here at BYU ever since, but also been able every few years to enjoy occasional visiting professorships in other parts of the world: Michigan, Hawaii, Switzerland and Brazil.
Courses I teach tend to emphasize both conceptual material (theory) and practical, hands-on application. We use a combination of classroom methods including cases, lectures, experimental exercises, video clips, and small group work. The use of this mixed methodology builds on the premise that learning comes not only from reading/writing, but also from interaction, debate and dialogue.
At the outset of each semester, I try to convey to students that I hope to enable them to see alternatives, to engage in divergent thinking, not convergent scholarship. As such, I will be pushing other views than the typical BYU conservative, Republican-dominated view. Instead, I hope to open up other perspectives. My personal values are not left-wing or on the right. Rather, I’m allied vertically with those at the bottom of the pyramid, against those at the top. My lot is cast with the have-nots, the disenfranchised, the poor, peasants, minorities, labor, women, blue collar workers, etc.; those who are marginalized in society. Thus, my role at times is to be a provocateur.
This may offend some students who see themselves as future candidates for the top of the pyramid. Typical BYU students are often exposed to 30-60 hours, or more, of university courses that emphasize top-down views, masquerading as “neutral,” objective theories. But, in fact, they are heavily biased. Many students begin to believe that the dominant opinion is the only valid idea. I prefer to enlarge students’ understanding by suggesting that other perspectives are also valid, in fact, critically needed in today’s world. University knowledge is to be critically analyzed, not canonized. A victim of the Nazi concentration camp makes the view from below clear:
“It is an experience of incomparable value to have learned to see the great events of the history of the world from beneath; from the viewpoint of the useless, the suspect, the powerless, the oppressed, the despised, in a word, from the viewpoint of those who suffer.” — Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Every course I teach attempts to raise one’s consciousness about assumptions and values. I also emphasize service learning and the building of high-ethics organizations. My hope is that through greater awareness and the development of new conceptual frameworks, students will be better equipped to improve human society, whatever their chosen occupation may be. As we jointly create a genuine learning organization, the classroom becomes an incubator for trying new things, thinking differently, and generating innovative paradigms.
The sections that follow consist of various course syllabi, feedback from students, both anonymous and some that are identifiable, service learning experiences, my articles on education and university service, as well as other links to education and learning.
Academy of Management
American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Psychological Association
American Sociological Association
Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
American Association of University Professors
Industrial Relations Research Association
Union of Concerned Scientists
Society for the Study of Social Problems
Association for Workplace Democracy
International Industrial Relations Association
The Inter-American Society of Psychology
Industrial Cooperative Association
Delaware Valley Federation for Economic Democracy
International Association for the Economics of Self-Management
International Sociological Association
Latin American Council on Self-Management
International Communal Studies Association
Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics
International Association of Business and Society
Credit with Learning Exchange
Manuscript reviewer for the following:
Journal of Management Education
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
Journal of International and Area Studies
Cornell University Press
Prentice Hall Publishing Co.
Addison Wesley Co.
Co-editor, Journal of Microfinance
SAM Advanced Management Journal, Board of Editors
Co-editor of a special issue of Policy Studies Journal
Graduate level courses—Organizational Development and Change, International Business, Spirituality in the Workplace, Power and Politics in Organizations, Diversity and Management, Leadership Philosophy and Style, MBA Organizational Behavior, Third World Development, Consulting Processes, MBA Ethics, Business and Society, Industrial Democracy, Social Entrepreneurship, Civil Society.
Undergraduate level courses—Introductory Organizational Behavior, International Management, Public Management and Ethics, Democratic Management, Honors, Leadership and Global Change Agentry, TQM and Manufacturing Productivity, Religious Values and Economics, Small Business Start-up Skills.
- To build a sustainable student movement for alleviating global poverty through a type of Mormon Peace Corps.
- To aid students in the quest for leadership and change skills in organizational life.
- To help students achieve congruence between good organizational theory and gospel principles and values.
- To inspire students with a greater vision of how they can not only “canonize” what is known, but learn to analyze it and to explore what is not known, thereby solving some of humanity’s most serious problems.
- To empower students so that collectively we can change the world.
Current and Recent Projects:
“All good things take time to develop.” —Lewis Mumford, Social Philosopher
- Helped design and launch the Academy for Creating Enterprise (ACE), training program to empower returned native missionaries in Cebu, the Philippines, with business skills and microcredit loans to help them create a better future.
- Launched a new NGO, H.E.L.P. International, to assist victims of Hurricane Mitch, helping to raise $116,000 and creating 47 new village banks for some 800 poor women benefiting 4,000 people. It has now been restructured as H.E.L.P. International and has sponsored programs not only in Honduras, but in El Salvador, Peru, Venezuela, Bolivia, Guatemala, and Brazil (raising over $600,000).
- Assisted with board development, banquet/auctions of the Ouelessebougou-Utah Alliance in Salt Lake City and Provo, raising some $300,000 annually for development projects in Mali, West Africa.
- Founded and organized the International Development Network (IDN) leading to our first Symposium held at BYU, April 1, 1999 (with some 25 charity groups) and others since.
- Helped LDS leaders in Zimbabwe design a charitable program to prevent and/or alleviate the devastating African tragedy of HIV-AIDS, providing consulting, student interns, and evaluation of this organization, known as “Raising the Generation.”
- Assisted a group of LDS executives create the Native American Mentoring Enterprise, (NAME), arranging for a group of my graduate students to help the founders prepare an organizational structure and training materials to teach young Navajos leadership and life skills.
- Supervised an in-depth assessment of an LDS-related NGO, Liahona Economic Development Foundation (LEDF) in Nigeria carried out by a team of 3 students, after which we began to raise funds in Utah for microlending in West Africa.
- Mentored BYU students to do a project aiding the Goshute Tribe near the Navada-Utah border, performing a feasibility study for setting up a microcredit program through the Utah Microenterprise Loan Fund.
- Oversaw two dozen students in the Fiji Distance Learning Program, operated by graduate students and undergraduates serving in the South Pacific. This was done in cooperation with the Church’s CES administration, offering courses to young Fijian adults and returned missionaries so that with OB, management and computer skills, they will qualify for better careers and a positive future.
- Created a partnership between former Mexican mission presidents and my BYU students who traveled to Mexico to help create Cumorah University, consisting of several educational institutions to train returned native missionaries so they may enjoy a higher quality of life. This effort has now expanded to include the creation of the Hispanic University for Latinos in Utah.
- In contrast to the above long-term sustainable programs, I also sponsored numerous other short-term student service projects including assisting the First Hope Orphanage in Nepal, collecting eye-wear for rural Mexicans, Utah Valley March of Dimes, Starlight UK, the Utah Valley Food and Care Coalition, the Rose Foundation Schools in Guatemala, helping an orphanage in Cabo Verde, Mexico, aiding the Alma Success Academy in Guatemala, establishing a school in Northern Honduras, and so forth.
- Some two dozen BYU students, faculty and staff launched a microenterprise assessment, training and development program, SOAR China, in South and Western Regions of the Peoples Republic of China.
- My students and I have created five documentary videos on our projects in Latin America, as well as nine web sites, six newsletters, and several power point presentations on programs in Mali, Nigeria, Honduras, Peru, El Salvador, Venezuela, Cumorah University in Mexico, Thailand, China, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Uganda, Nicaragua, and Western Samoa.
- Three colleagues and I formed a new nonprofit foundation, Action Against Poverty, to facilitate the start-up and growth of dozens of NGOs doing Third World relief, education, healthcare, and economic development. We also assisted in building the Timpanogos Community Network and the Provo Economic Coalition with local activist groups working to foster community social change through companies, government agencies, banks, and service agencies.
Education is not filling a bucket, but lighting a fire. —William Butler Yeats