On top of her aforementioned professional and personal responsibilities, she also instructs adult learners at the University of Phoenix. She eagerly spends evenings on campus interacting with students and teaching Organizational Behavior and Management to the working professionals of Indianapolis.
For many like Sheryl, the urge to teach does not stem from a need for added income or another resume bullet point; rather, they take pride in enabling others to succeed. And she sees her teaching as a way to stay abreast of current issues in health care management while building her knowledge of business theory.
Responding to shifts in student demographics
Fortunately for adults looking to earn a bachelor's degree, instructors such as Sheryl are finding that many colleges now cater to faculty with full-time jobs. In fact, working faculty practitioners are in high demand due to a fundamental change in the dynamics of post-secondary education.
The definition of a traditional college student is under revision thanks to the growing number of adult learners embracing the promise of new career opportunities through higher education. According to a 2002 report by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, only 27 percent of college students fall within the 18- to 22-year-old age range.
Based on this, learning institutions are focusing on students who have schedules filled with business meetings and carpool obligations instead of fraternity parties and road trips.
Working professionals are more demanding of service, curriculum and instruction than traditional college students, and they generally take a different approach to education. Most adult learners are not receptive to lecture-focused, "direct your questions to my teaching assistants because I have research to finish" style instruction.
Instead, they thrive in intimate open-discussion classroom sessions in which students volley ideas and opinions among one another and learn from the professional experiences of their peers.
Because working adults are filling college classrooms at near-record rates, colleges are seeking accomplished working professionals to serve as instructors. Practitioners with the appropriate academic credentials can offer expertise according to their experience, while allowing for more peer-to-peer learning.
Educators with a blend of advanced academic preparation in their field and significant practical experience are able to credibly facilitate the marriage of theory and practice in the classroom. As professionals and instructors, they deal with emerging industry trends daily and develop lessons plans that are significant to the current marketplace.
Most important, this information is based on local practices, which ensures that classroom discussions are relevant and strategies can be applied the following day.
Change lives, starting with your own
For most educated business professionals who balance full work schedules and a personal life, the prospect of being a part-time instructor may seem daunting. However, changes in educational systems have made teaching schedules much more manageable.
Since adult students are just as busy with their professional lives as their learning practitioners, forward-thinking institutions are offering flexible evening courses, weekend sessions and even the possibility of partially instructing classes through online correspondence.
Business instructors find that teaching significantly improves their work IQ because they are regularly exposed to the latest industry strategies and theories as a part of their lesson plans. Few would disagree that one of the best ways to learn is by teaching. More to the point, faculty members typically find themselves practicing what they preach in order to provide applicable real-life insight to their students.
Take a moment and explore how teaching can benefit you personally and professionally. As Sheryl Joyner will attest, although the immediate reward of teaching is helping others grow and succeed, you might be surprised at how much you learn from the experience.
Simon Lumley is vice president of Indiana operations and Indianapolis campus director for the University of Phoenix. University of Phoenix offers accessible higher education options uniquely tailored for Indianapolis' working business professionals. Reach him at (317) 585-8610 or email@example.com. For more information log onto www.phoenix.edu.