Before COVID put online education in the spotlight, Assistant Professor of MIS Amy Lavin was already an expert on the topic. She finished her dissertation on the subject last year. It focused on the characteristics of success in an online classroom. “I researched which type of students might perform better in person versus virtually. I also looked into what characteristics of faculty members made for successful online class experiences,” she explains.
For Lavin, success in the classroom is not just theory. She recently won three teaching awards: Fox Honors Faculty Member of the Year, the Full-Time MBA Faculty of the Year, and the MS in Digital Innovation in Marketing (MS DIM) Faculty Member of the Year. These were “all complete surprises,” she insists. But anyone who knows her passion for teaching wasn’t surprised.
“To me, teaching is about building relationships and inviting students on a journey with you,” says Lavin, “I’m lucky because I am able to help students develop their understanding of how technology will enable transformation in their future careers.”
She adds, “When I look back at the great teachers that I had, they all engaged their students in the material, made it real, and helped me figure out how to make sense of it. I’m thrilled that I have been able in some way to do the same for our students.”
Lavin’s path to becoming a professor was informed by her industry experience. After earning her MBA at Fox, she spent several years at a software company implementing education systems in schools. Along the way, she learned a lot about technology. “I wondered how we can use technology to make things better,” she recalls.
She worked at Temple while earning her degrees, and a chance meeting with her old boss brought her back to her alma mater. “He mentioned an open position implementing systems for billing, registration, advancement–basically the business of higher ed,” Lavin says. She jumped at the chance to return to Temple.
Teaching soon followed. “I discovered I really love working with students when I had the opportunity to teach a section of the MIS introductory course,” says Lavin. After three years as an adjunct, she moved into a full-time role in MIS and became the academic director of the MS DIM program in 2015.
One of the many positive comments Professor Lavin receives is that she is the kind of professor that makes them want to be a better student. For her, this is the highest compliment. “Temple students make me want to be a better professor,” said Lavin, “So the feeling is mutual.”