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Featured Faculty Profile

       

Nicholas Powers

Professor - DeVry University Chicago
Teaching Field: Marketing, Business
"DeVry students are happy to be in college. They get really good teaching here that opens up their eyes to the opportunity to make a great career for them. They may have known that before they came here, but they truly realize it once they are here."

Where I come from

As an undergraduate at Loyola, I double-majored in political science and economics, and was thinking of going to law school. Then I started working and found I liked business. I earned a Master's in Business Administration shortly after that, in evening classes.

I started teaching at DeVry University part time in 1992, then came on full time in 1996. I teach Marketing - a wide variety of business courses. For the last couple of years, I have been teaching project management, managerial accounting, budgeting and forecasting. When we had an Operations Department here, I taught operations management, logistics, and total quality management. I have been a licensed realtor for about 14 years, but I focus primarily on my teaching.

Why I like my job

I enjoy seeing students learn and progress. I enjoy the challenges of teaching myself, improving my own delivery and the curriculum. I enjoy seeing the Business Department grow. We started out very small, and now we're the largest department at DeVry University Chicago. I think I can take some credit for that. The person I report to, Professor Vasilou, is very, very good. Under his direction and with his help, the Business department has flourished.

Keeping up with the times

I stay on top of the business world by working as a realtor, researching and investing in stocks, and reading the Wall Street Journal and many business publications. I am also a member of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, which raises awareness of Chicago's strength as a global city with global connections. I bring a lot of that information to the classroom and keep the students up to date on what's going on in the real world and how it relates to what they're studying. It also teaches them how to interpret the news. They enjoy that.

My best teacher

I've had a number of good teachers. One that stands out was my U.S. history teacher in high school. I didn't appreciate him at the time, but subsequently I realized that he was very good. In his class you had to think through scenarios, and we had essay questions that required thought rather than just spitting back information. That's very effective. Learning how to think is essential for success. Now I try to bring that approach to my classes.

Eyes open to the opportunity

DeVry University students are happy to be in college. They get really good teaching here that opens up their eyes to the opportunity to make a great career for them. They may have known that before they came here, but they truly realize it once they are here.

The ideal classroom

With its interactivity and problem-solving potential, the classroom is the ideal learning environment; online study augments what you learn in the classroom. We have small classes - my courses typically enroll 25-30 - instead of big lectures. DeVry University has an informal atmosphere that students find comfortable, and they are encouraged to apply what they learn to their lives. They add value in the classroom.

The help desk

Students come to my office for help with the subject matter or for career advice. If they are having trouble, I help them figure out what to do. I push them to improve themselves, and they do it. Some struggling students make turnarounds - that's exciting. I also do advising at registration.

Why DeVry?

What sets DeVry University apart from traditional four-year colleges is its small class size and its career focus. We offer a wide variety of courses, like a university, but DeVry University professors spend much more time on teaching and less on research than most university professors. We constantly revise and update courses so they work better for students.

A prime example is taking a course that's been taught in the basic 15-week format and adjusting it for an 8-week optimized format, where a portion of the coursework is done online. You have to determine what part of the course makes sense to move online, and develop ways to stimulate online discussion. Over the years I have been heavily involved in that, for the courses I teach and even some courses I don't teach. Being able to learn a body of material in half the time is a major benefit for our students.