|Simms Marries Business and Liberal Arts|
Don’t bother showing up to Dr. Michele Simms class thinking you will listen, take notes, ask a few questions and leave the same person you were on the first day.
An associate professor of management and marketing in the Cameron School of Business, Simms embraces the liberal arts tradition of the University of St. Thomas and teaches across the disciplines. Her former students describe her classes as transformative, inspiring and life-changing.
“I like to think that I teach business as a liberal art, which is considered heresy in some business circles, but not at UST. ” Simms said. “I am so grateful for the opportunity this University has given me to teach in the business school and with colleagues in the Honors Program, Catholic Studies and Women’s Studies.” She takes heart in the number of students who take on time-consuming semester projects and continue their work and volunteering several years after graduation. Her business ethics class, with its focus on vocation, sustainability and social entrepreneurship, has been as defining for her as it has for some of her students.
As one example, what began as Afowiri “Kitz” Fondzenyuy’s 2006 MBA class project on ethics and corporate social responsibility, eventually opened the door to a career in philanthropic nonprofit management and the opportunity to help to improve health and educational services in his native country of Cameroon, Africa. Fondzenyuy has nurtured the class project seed into Amom Charity, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that aims to provide literacy support, youth development, recreation and sports, need-based scholarship programs, financial assistance, and management and technical assistance to educational institutions in rural Cameroon.
“The Cameron School of Business has changed my life by helping me find my passion in life,” he said. “Dr. Simms taught us about social responsibility and entrepreneurship, and she gave us opportunity to go out into the real world to use our business education to make a difference.”
Simms sees the triumph in all levels of student success, ranging from the student who finds her true career calling and changes her major to those who started their own international nonprofits after completing her class. “I believe that’s what education is about,” Simms said. “It’s helping students to find their voice, to connect who they are with what they do.”
As co-director of the Center for Faculty Excellence, Simms helps provide faculty with resources and services that foster and support their success in teaching, research and service throughout all stages of their careers. “Faculty development is key to any University’s success. We are very fortunate at UST; the administrative support the Center receives is generous and communicates to our faculty that they matter.”
For more information about the Cameron School of Business, visit www.choose-ust/mba; for the Center for Faculty Excellence, visit www.stthom.edu/cfe