What brought you to Hood College?
My first visit to campus, where I had the opportunity to meet with my future colleagues and students, brought me to Hood College to stay. I was weighing several opportunities when I was invited to Hood for an interview. Upon arrival I was impressed by the beauty of the campus and the proximity to downtown Frederick. I then met all the members of the economics and management department, along with senior administrators. What struck me most when meeting with each of these individuals was the focus was always on the students and how we could work together to meet their expectations for a superior level of higher education. The defining moment for me was meeting with the students over lunch; I knew immediately they were the type of young people with whom I wanted to work. By the end of the day the other opportunities did not really matter, I knew Hood College was the place for me.
What do you value most about your relationship with students?
What I value most about my relationship with students is the opportunity to develop close relationships that will last well into the future. Our small class sizes and mentoring opportunities enable me to forge a deeper understanding of students’ academic needs and aspirations. Further, this small community gives me ample time to learn about student activities outside the classroom. I thoroughly enjoy attending my students’ extracurricular activities, whether it is a play or a soccer game.
Why is teaching your dream job?
Teaching at Hood College is my dream job because of our students and the entire institution’s dedication to these students. While community service and research is important, I love that teaching is our first priority at Hood. Teaching in an environment where students are not the first priority would not be a dream job for me.
If you were to consider another career, what would you consider and why?
Before coming to Hood College I was the president of an international computer software company. I thoroughly enjoyed the excitement and challenges of the business world, from the thrill of competing in the marketplace to the satisfaction of watching employees develop to their potential. If teaching was not an option I would either start a company with friends or go back to the corporate world.
Describe your approach to teaching.
My approach to teaching is to make the course material as engaging and relevant to students as possible. Helping students understand key concepts and theories is an important first step, but it is equally important to help students relate those concepts to current events and situations in their own lives. We all differ in our learning styles, so it is beneficial to use a variety of educational approaches and methods.
What is/are your most memorable moment/s at Hood?
The most memorable and happiest moment during my time at Hood was watching two students overcome significant obstacles to graduate in May. Both of these students seriously doubted they would get their degrees, but with extra work and perseverance they achieved a critical milestone in their lives. Both students said they would not have done it without the support of our department and I will never forget the help my colleagues provided these deserving students. Fortunately, at Hood this type of dedication and support for students is campus wide.
Describe your academic interests and research?
My current academic interest and research is in three areas:
1. International marketing, especially in relation to cultures impact on international buyer behavior. My latest paper in the area was presented at the Harvard Business School in August 2010 and is currently being prepared for publication.
2. Case study development. I believe case studies are a good tool for helping students apply concepts to the business world situations they may face later in life. My latest case was published in the September/October 2011 edition of the Journal of Business Case Studies.
3. My research agenda has expanded for pedagogy, as I want to better understand how to reach all students. A paper discussing how to better prepare business doctoral students to be educators is under development.
When you aren’t working, what are you doing in your spare time?
When I am not working, I love spending time with my family and friends. I met both my wife and most of my close friends at a small liberal arts college, which I have always thought was a side benefit of going to a small school. One of the highlights of my year is taking a weeklong surfing trip somewhere in the world with those same undergraduate friends.
If you would like to contact Professor Van Winter, you can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.