It is a most humbling experience to be nominated for the Lindback Teaching Award. It is gratifying to know that my students consider me worthy of this honor, especially since most of them would describe my courses as “challenging” and “tough” instead of “easy” and “relaxed” when they are taking them. I enjoy the opportunity to teach not only business students, and those who intend making a career in Finance, but also students from all across campus, with diverse majors in Engineering, Nursing, the Arts and the Sciences, in the Summer Business Institute (SBI), offered by the Villanova School of Business. I love teaching financial concepts and sharing my enthusiasm with all my students, and find it gratifying when students are inspired, start enjoying the material, and decide to pursue additional courses or a career in Finance after taking my classes.
My teaching philosophy is quite simple: Present rigorous material in a manner that is easy to follow. Students often find financial concepts challenging at first, and my goal is to simplify this material, and communicate it in a way which is easily understandable. I emphasize the application of this material through practical examples, and relate it to current events in the Business and Financial world. On the other hand, I challenge students, and expect them to work hard to master financial skills. I encourage them to truly understand concepts instead of memorizing examples, so they can think critically, and be able to solve problems beyond what they may have practiced. I try to inspire them to learn financial techniques that they will need not only to perform their jobs, but that will help them as they navigate through financial decisions in their own personal lives, such as being able to manage their mortgages, or illustrating how beneficial it is to start saving early for retirement, because of compound interest.
I hope my passion for teaching and sincere approach to student learning comes across to the students. I teach by example and show students that I am willing to put as much or more effort in to the course, as I expect of them. I give multiple midterms during the semester, so that students can master the subject area well, in smaller doses. I am available to students outside class, and spend a considerable amount of time helping answer their questions, holding extra office hours and review sessions. My exams are challenging, most of the problems are open-ended, and I make it a priority to return all exams and other graded material promptly to provide quick feedback to the students.
I believe strongly that my role as an educator doesn’t end in the classroom. A most enjoyable part of my vocation is to mentor and advise students. I coach students to be successful in the competitive field of Finance. I emphasize the importance of internships, job experience, and networking during their college careers, and I work hard to convince them that they are able to compete with the best students from across the country. I take pride in their job offers and acceptances and we, as a university, are advantaged by their successes as they represent Villanova University to the outside world. I write numerous recommendation letters for students and alums across the University’s various colleges for scholarship and fellowship opportunities, study abroad programs, graduate school and job applications. My students know that I will be here for them long after they are no longer in my class. I stay in touch with students after they have graduated and I continue to be a resource to them. It is a wonderful experience to hear about their professional and personal successes, years after they have left the Villanova campus, when they come back to recruit other Villanovans.
Even though it can make me unpopular, I also emphasize the utmost importance of Ethics and Academic Integrity in my classes and want the students to realize the value of high moral standards early in their educational journeys, to discourage serious lapses later in their professional careers.
Over the last few years, I have chosen to serve as a Faculty Advisor to a business society, and a multicultural student organization on campus, as well as a Safe Zone volunteer in order to help provide a positive experience to ALL students at Villanova. I have also served as a Faculty Mentor in the University’s Faith and Learning Scholars Program, where student scholars “explore and discover the intersection of faith and learning”.
I treat my students with respect, and maintain an open and honest relationship with them. I attempt to get to know them outside of class. Having seen my daughters transition from college to graduate school and the professional world, has given me a greater appreciation for all that goes on in the lives of my students; I know that my time with them is just one of many factors that comprise their busy schedules. But, I hope that I am able to make a positive contribution to their academic and professional careers, through my roles as an educator, advisor, and mentor.
Teaching Philosophy Gunita Grover, Ph.D.
Read professor Grover's philosophy on teaching here.