After much internal dialog and deliberation, as well as some coaxing from colleagues in industry and at my university, I decided it was time to make a big change to MKTG 477.
Instead of 16 students on four teams of four students each, I’m planning to admit 25 students to work on five teams of five students each. That might not sound like a big deal, but it is a very big deal. And, I fully understand if my former students are against this idea since “small class size” is a frequently mentioned statement on my teaching evaluations. Trust me, I like the small classes too, but…
I get so many applicants each year and I really hate turning away so many qualified students from such a great learning experience. It feels like telling someone who is hungry that they can’t have anything to eat.
Even with a larger class, I will still have to send rejection letters to quite a few great students. But by moving to an enrollment of 25, at least I can offer this experiential learning opportunity to nine more students compared to past years. Before moving to 25, my Department Head gave me his word that I can go back to 16 in 2017 if this doesn’t work with 25 in 2016. Keep your fingers crossed that I can deliver the same quality of the experience with a larger group. For example, I once again hope that 100% of my students pass the AdWords Certification to become an AdWords certified professional. A great book to help with the certification exam is Learning Google AdWords and Google Analytics.
Enrollments in MKTG 477 were always kept low in order to deliver a flipped-learning and coaching-oriented teaching experience that included engagement opportunities with the practitioner community. While moving from 16 to 25 may not seem like a big change, it will affect about 30 different aspects of the course delivery. Most notably, with more students and teams, I will have less time to devote to each student and team. Instead of 25% for each team, my time will be reduced to 20%. But I hope we can make up for this lowered level of support through my MKTG 477 alums. Last year for my 2015 cohort, I pilot tested a Professional Mentor Program whereby each MKTG 477 student was paired with a MKTG 477 alum. The program received rave reviews from both students and alums. This year, when I asked alums to volunteer as mentors, I had 21 alums fill out my JMU GOMC Interest Form within the first hour! Within the second hour I had more than enough alumni interest to cover a Professional Mentor Program for a 25 student class. Thank you to my wonderful group of MKTG 477 alums for your continued support in making this course such a special experience. I’m really going to need you this year!
Through brainstorming discussions with one of my recent alums, Patrick Cusumano from Workshop Digital, I have a really good way to use the new fifth teammate. So, in addition to our usual Team Leader, Account Manager, Strategist, and Analyst, we will be adding Brand Manager into the team mix. Look for the Brand Manager to have a very exciting role in personal branding, team branding, a service project for their client, and quality control with many different stakeholders. I shared the concept with Morgan Moore, Lauren Crain, Dan Froehlich, and Brea Zeise (2015 AdWords Business Americas Winners) during our visit to Google last week. They were enthusiastic about the idea and think it will work out quite well.
Sadly, a few of our traditions will need to change, such as our end of year Duke Dog picture in the exact same pose. Somehow I don’t see that being the same, but I will challenge my 2016 class to find a way to treasure our past while making room for exciting changes and future growth.