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Featured Faculty Profile

       

Kenneth Steinkruger

Senior Professor - DeVry University Chicago
Teaching Field: Business Information Systems
"Training provides some skills that are immediately and directly applicable but that's about it. Education provides the knowledge that a person can use to develop and apply their own skills. Training goes out of date. Education never does. You will get an education at DeVry."

Where I come from

I've taught at DeVry University since 1991. Before that, I was involved with residential real estate development with one of the largest companies in the U.S., as well as with a major local company. I worked in both operations and information technology. This gave me a chance to see things from both 'sides' of the business; that attitude is central to our Business Administration's Business Information Systems (BIS) concentration.

I am a full-time teacher. Between preparing for my classes, teaching my classes, being involved with campus life, and being involved with the University as a whole, I don't really have time for a separate business life. But I do try to keep up with developments in my field. I read a lot, attend conferences, and continually take technical training. A lot of material is available online, which is good since it minimizes travel time and time away from classes.

How my career contributes to your education

I've been where you're going. I've been 'yelled at' (or worse) when things didn't come out right. I can help my students become prepared to avoid that. And I can help them prepare to recover from it when it happens in spite of their best efforts. I'll also tell you all about the benefits of doing a good job - the internal satisfaction, the material rewards, and personal advancement.

What I really like about teaching, compared to management, is that as a manager, I was always trying to get people to do things that really weren't in their best interest. For example, I would want contractors to do a better job more quickly but for less money. As a teacher, I am trying to get students to do things that really are in their best interest. We are on the same side, even if it always doesn't seem like it in the short-term.

Teaching inspiration

I am grateful to all my teachers, even the 'bad' ones; they taught me what not to do. I had very good science teachers in grade school. Mrs. Neff let me do a year long independent study of microbiology so I wouldn't be bored. That's putting a lot of trust in a fourth grader and volunteering for a lot of extra work, grading an individual project like that. In fifth grade, Mrs. Curtis continued the independent study format but insisted that I broaden my horizons; otherwise I might not have studied anything but bacteria and protozoa. In sixth grade, Mr. Yow and his wife spent two Saturdays a month taking our "Science Club" to museums, fossil digs, etc. My high school English teacher, Mrs. Wankel, taught everybody how important it was to write precisely. My high school history teacher, Dr. Ott, had a doctorate but still came back to teach in his home town.

One of my favorite teachers was Dr. Guzman, my graduate advisor. Once he wanted me to read a particular book before the next class, and he drove to a library two towns away through a raging thunderstorm and tornado watch to get the book for me and left it on my front porch. Of course, it was still up to me to read it but he had certainly done more than his part.

In the footsteps of Mr. Yow

In addition to seeing students in class and in my office, I am the advisor of the student club for business students. I attend the twice monthly meetings as well as field trips - like Mr. Yow did for my sixth grade Science Club. As an advisor, I am also involved with our Campus Life office that organizes extra-curricular events for all students.

Service to the University

I am on several University-wide committees and have done some course development for the University as a whole. I co-authored the recently updated Visual Basic online class, and was on a system-wide committee for developing additional labs for the VB classroom. I was "Lab Architect" for new labs for our Web Development, Database and web site integration classes. In addition, I serve on committees that recommend changes to the BIS sequence to keep it up-to-date and integrate the recommendations into course design.

I am a facilitator in the "DeVry Leadership Academy", an in-house development program for all DeVry University managers. I also plan and organize the Chicago campus' "University Day" three times a year, the professional development program for staff members and professors.

The difference between training and education

Training provides some skills that are immediately and directly applicable but that's about it. Education provides the knowledge that a person can use to develop and apply their own skills. Training goes out of date. Education never does. You will get an education at DeVry University.

Why DeVry?

Through consultation with industry and a lot of work among the faculty, we determine the objectives of the course – 'what' to teach. But then the 'how' is up to me, and I like that. Depending on the class and other factors, we can do a lot of different things. And we do.