Faculty Spotlight- Dr. Shandon Gubler
Written by: Catarina Prisbrey and Erin Moulding
Shandon Gubler, a faculty member in the School of Business at DSU, is an excellent example of integrating “Active Learning. Active Life.” into the classroom. Dr. Gubler’s experiences while going through school and choosing his career molded him into the innovative and inspiring leader he is today. These experiences also contributed to his current pedagogy, named “Hire Ed.”
Gubler is a naturally ambitious, studious, and well-rounded individual. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance, and a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Economics from Brigham Young University, and Bachelor of Arts in Accounting from University of Utah. He went on to earn his MBA with an emphasis in Accounting at University of Utah, and later a PhD from Brigham Young University in Education in Corporate and Government Agencies. Gubler’s purpose was to learn as much as he could to figure out his career path. While pursuing his undergraduate degrees, Gubler had intentions of being a great student and his study habits reflected this ambition. Nevertheless, he still struggled to reach his goals. Through the method he calls, “brute force of will-power, and study, study, study,” he got into graduate school. This was very frustrating for him.
Near the end of attaining his MBA, Gubler unexpectedly received an offer to teach at Dixie College but was hesitant to accept, feeling that he was not adequate as a learner. Nevertheless, with two weeks to go before the beginning of the semester, his wife convinced him to accept the position, and he began reviewing course materials for the first day of class. In this short amount of time, Dr. Gubler was amazed at what he learned as he studied to teach
his students in the classroom. Once the semester started, he was down-right astonished at how much he continued to learn as he went through the process of actually teaching students for the first time—this was the birth of Hire Ed.
The Learning Pyramid, which shows student content retention rates for each teaching method, was something that Dr. Gubler didn’t know about during all of his days as a student. He struggled as a learner because the traditional methods being used didn’t resonate as easily with him as they did with others. In developing his Hire Ed pedagogy, he focused on the three modes with the greatest retention rates: teaching, practice doing, and discussion.Dr. Gubler teaches StrategicManagement and Business Ethics here at DSU, both of which engage his Hire Ed pedagogy. The pedagogy has three elements: (1) Study to Teach, (2) Teach to Learn, and (3) Learn to Apply. Students are required to find a mentor who is a CEO, or in a leadership position, and teach them a lesson each week of the semester. The student then gets feedback on that lesson (Reverse Mentoring). While studying to teach their mentor, students prepare more diligently. They also report back to Gubler each week on the discussion. While teaching, students continue to learn as they gain new insights and connect classroom topics to real world examples. And when a student thoroughly learns about a topic in this manner, the content “sticks” and they are more likely to apply it in their lives.
Hire Ed is integrated into the Dr. Gubler’s classroom through a flipped-classroom model with minimal lecturing and more discussion and coaching. Student groups teach the class on the chapter and case study of the week, which takes up a majority of the class time. After the presentation, there is time for students to share what they learned from their CEO meeting. Modeling a class this way leads to greater student preparation, learning, and attentiveness. It also opens up engaging discussion opportunities for the whole class to participate in, therefore leading to a greater understanding of what was taught.
The main purpose of Hire Ed is for students to learn effectively, have synergetic outcomes, and be prepared for their future career. Over the years there have been great results—even better than anticipated! Not only do students learn more effectively, but they’re essentially auditioning for a job through reverse mentoring. They showcase technical knowledge and soft skills through experiential learning. Professionals also have given great feedback because Hire Ed can help with the job recruiting process.
A challenge this model faces is finding a mentor for students. At times, there’s a mismatch between their career plans and their mentor’s area of expertise. Dr. Gubler is working to find a solution by systemizing Hire Ed similar to Uber or Airbnb. With this system in place, professionals interested in mentoring students can be matched for more useful connections to the right employers. Although the universal platform is not in full effect right now, students still benefit greatly from meeting with any mentor over the course of a semester. Hearing the perspective of a professional on how the business world functions is priceless information at this stage in life. Students have many positive things to say about their time in either Business Ethics or Strategic Management. Here’s their feedback:
- “Really enjoyed Dr. Gubler’s enthusiasm in class and his willingness to help students. He led some great class discussions and always provided great case examples to help us understand.”
- “The passion he teaches with helps keeps class engaged and enable us to feed off of his energy. Assignments were graded fast! I love that! He also had awesome feedback.”
Along with his success in the classroom, Dr. Gubler is recognized for the difference he is making on and off campus, as he has received awards and nominations for teaching, research and service—including DSU nominations for the Distinguish Teaching Award and Teacher of the Year. He regularly attends and presents at teaching conferences and workshops to improve as an instructor, such as the DSU Teaching and Learning Conference and the Conference of the Experiential Learning Leadership Institute. Dr. Gubler has also been working closely with software developers on a Hire Ed mentor-mentee technology platform. The Center for Teaching & Learning is proud to have Dr. Gubler on campus, a shining example of how self-reflection and creativity lead to improved student learning. Hire Ed has a bright future ahead of it and we look forward to seeing it grow.