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The UST Academic Mall and My Teaching Philosophy

By Dr. Shuoyang Zhang–Being an educator is a noble profession. Human civilization depends upon the transcendent transmission of wisdom from generation to generation. It is an honor and a privilege for me to play a small role in this grand process.

This is the 11th year of teaching since I first started in the summer of 2004. So far I have taught a total of 12 different courses and 32 classes in 4 AACSB accredited institutions, including 5 undergraduate and 7 graduate courses, covering a wide range of topics from marketing to management and entrepreneurship. In addition to receiving positive student evaluations, I was honored as one of the Beta Gamma Sigma Most Influential Faculty Members—at the Colorado State University prior to joining UST—“who provided them (students) with outstanding instruction, training, mentoring and nurturing to expect nothing less than excellence and confidence in their hard work on each of the challenges that they will face in the future.” From 2012 to 2015, I have accomplished 9 new preps at the Cameron School of Business. I love what I do as a teacher. It invigorates me at so many different levels.

On my first day at UST, Dr. Barry Wilbratte, the Dean of the Cameron School of Business at the time, gave me an orientation and showed me around the campus. When I learned about the symbolism of the Academic Mall, I instantly felt a deep resonance and a strong sense of identification with the values represented by the architectural structure. It was a profound moment in my life that I will never forget. Here I would like to share my teaching philosophy with you.

(click on image to enlarge)



Figure 1. The UST Academic Mall and My Teaching Philosophy

As an educator, I am on a mission to help the students become holistically “good” human persons—not only in their intellectual excellence, but more importantly in their moral excellence—who are prepared to serve the local and global community.

I believe the purpose of teaching is to facilitate students’ own active learning. I have faith in the potentials of each and every student and I try my best to bring forth his/her potentials through motivation and inspiration. When students are empowered to take initiatives and challenges, I watch their learning and achievements take place, in awe.

I believe learning should by no means be a pain and by all means a joy. The pursuit of truth and goodness is an ecstatic experience for me, and I want my students to feel it, too. I create a welcoming and fun environment in my class in which students feel comfortable and stay engaged.

I believe learning takes place through interactive relationships and human connections. I cultivate a sense of community in my class that grows throughout the semester and last beyond. This helps students to consider the bigger community in a more global level.

The Academic Mall is the artistic depiction of the balance and integration of faith, represented by the Chapel, and reason, represented by the Doherty Library, in dialogue regarding various subject matters. I find it to be the perfect analogy for my teaching philosophy (see graph above). The different aspects of my teaching philosophy guide my instructional methodology. I look forward to sharing more with you in the future.


Shouyang Zhang, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Management & Marketing, Cameron School of Business

University of St. Thomas

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