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Past Winners of the Teacher of the Week

Kimberly Carlson


The Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research (CIDER) recognizes Kimberly Carlson, assistant professor of practice of Management, for her contributions in teaching, supervising, and mentoring students looking to develop their leadership and interpersonal skills. Dr. Carlson’s teaching and student mentoring is guided by a Chinese Proverb: “Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand” (credited to Chinese Confucian philosopher Xunzi, 312-230 BC).

For Dr. Carlson, involved means to interact with ideas, work with them in various ways, and learn how they can be applied in the real world. When she sees a student not only learning but also analyzing content, deconstructing it, and putting it together in new ways for application to situations outside of the classroom, she feels that she has helped that student to become a better person in the future. Her main objective is for students to develop critical thinking skills applicable to any situation they encounter. Developing the ability to observe problems and situations; question underlying assumptions and facts; understand consequences of various actions; and make decisions based on a critical study of the entire issue is key to being successful. If students learn these skills in her class, or while mentoring, she can call her teaching a success.

Dr. Carlson believes that people create their own knowledge and meaning at the intersection of experiences, observations and ideas. With a teaching foundation in three learning theories – Seymour Papert’s Constructionism, Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences and Benjamin Bloom’s Taxonomy, she firmly believes that we all have different learning styles and needs, and that we interpret what we are learning in different ways. Dr. Carlson designs her class with a variety of activities and experiences: mini lectures, small group discussions, a content-related physical activity, and individual synthesis and evaluation through journaling or other self-reflection. She also prepares one or two backup activities in case the original activity is not resonating with the students.

Dr. Carlson believes in student-centered learning. People learn best when they are responsible for their own learning and internalize it. She accomplishes this by providing problems, cases, and projects that the students can work through in order to apply and learn the course material. In particular, each semester students are challenged with a semester-long project as a consultant with a real business or community organization. Course material comes alive as students test out theories and techniques discussed in class within an actual business situation. In the end, the student has implemented and developed three sets of skills: 1) technical skills, such as developing a Work Breakdown Structure, budgeting, and project evaluation; 2) interpersonal skills, such as motivating others, conflict resolution, and team communication; and 3) leadership skills, such as vision setting, boundary scanning, and influencing the team to accomplish a common goal.

Influenced by both theory and teaching experiences, Dr. Carlson’s strengths and values as a teacher are focused on helping students make connections between course content and complex situations they will face in the future, while encouraging them to use their individual strengths and learning styles to help each other make meaning of the world and to learn and grow. She, too, is open to learning and growing each time that she meets a new set of students. It is through her interactions with students that Dr. Carlson becomes a better teaching professional - intellectually, interpersonally, and emotionally.

As one observer noted:
I had the pleasure of sitting in on a class session Kim Carlson taught on creative problem solving. Class opened with enlightenment of theoretical concepts and real application, concisely, but thoroughly presented, that corresponded to material students read before class. Within 5-7 minutes, students were sorted into teams and on their feet … redesigning and improving a bathroom via “Post-It Sticky notes” brainstorming. I’ve conducted interactive corporate training and classroom experiences for over 40 years. This was the first I’ve observed virtually 100% total participant commitment, stemming from Kim’s conditioning those students to experiential learning. Powerful!

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Teacher of the Week

The goal of the Teacher of the Week program is to recognize effective, engaged, and dynamic teachers. Please consider nominating a teacher; the process is clear and concise (no dossiers; see nomination page).

View Past Winners

A list of the past winners is available.