Professor of the Year in the Business of Preparing Students
Before starting at Trinity in 1989, White worked in financial consulting, realizing it was imperative to gain experience before pursuing her calling to teach, a call she discovered as a teaching assistant at the University of Illinois.
Over the past 25 years, White has seen her job in teaching accounting and business change as the world of business has evolved. And she continually works to keep the program current.
More recent changes to Trinity’s business program were sparked by the awarding of a NetVUE Program Development Grant in 2012. Faculty and staff from the business department, Cooper Career Center, and Trinity Business Network have been working to develop a model program to support students and serve alumni and business partners with regard to vocational formation.
Specifically, White and her Trinity colleagues have implemented new courses, such as Creativity in Business, Business Planning, and Negotiations; added more experiential learning through partnerships with businesses; and more deeply integrated Christian values into the curriculum.
“What we want business graduates to bring into their profession are vocational qualities and skills that are grown and nurtured through the course work,” said White.
The traits, which include self-awareness/empowerment, ingenuity/creativity, critical thinking/technical excellence, are also evident in White and her fellow business department colleagues who have not stopped at teaching only the theories of business but have created opportunities for students to live out what they are learning in the classroom
Business students have served as “consultants” for local businesses, interned in the community and in Chicago, been mentored by business men and women in various industries, and talked with alumni now working in myriad careers.
“We have been ‘wow-ed’ by the support of alumni and community members,” said White, referring to the more than 125 guest speakers, mentors, internship supervisors, and employers who were involved with students in the 2013-14 academic year alone.
Alumni, in particular, visit classes to share their experiences with current students. “The alumni give back,” said White. “They know their success is not based only on their own efforts but people in the community who provided internships.”
White said her vision, which is shared by her colleagues, is for the department to be further developed into a resource for the broader community. This partnership has the potential for creating even more opportunities for students through mentorships, internships, and careers while also serving businesses and organizations.
“It’s about having people in place,” White said. “People assembled here are creative, energetic, and they bring the experience from their professional backgrounds into the classroom.”
White said she loves both the continuity of her job and the variety it offers, because of the different students, alumni, and community members and because of changes in the business world.
That ever-evolving world tends to make time fly for the long-time Trinity professor. “It doesn’t seem like it has been that long,” said White, “but ‘it’ is always changing.”