Can you imagine analyzing the strategies of technology companies in class, only to have a finance director at Microsoft pop into the discussion? Or zooming with a supply chain manager at a factory in China after a lesson on supply chain sustainability? How about talking to an alum who is already a VP of product development even though they’re still in their twenties?
These are the kinds of real-world connections Assistant Professor of Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship Andrew Earle prides himself on integrating into his classes. For Earle, keeping class engaging and exciting, and focused on how skills can serve students outside the classroom, is key to a positive and productive experience.
“In my class I encourage them to think bigger, be innovative, challenge themselves, and take calculated risks,” he said. “Our students are really willing to work hard. They need guidance, encouragement–and sometimes permission to dream big."
This approach to teaching is only part of why Earle received this year’s Paul College Excellence in Teaching Award for tenure track faculty. Each year, the college recognizes faculty who “motivate, challenge, and inspire students to succeed both in and out of the classroom.” Winners are selected from a pool of nominees put forward through letters of recommendation from both their peers and their students.
“Andrew is a highly skilled and inspiring teacher who consistently brings intelligence, enthusiasm, and caring to the classroom,” Management Department Chair Peter Lane said. “He continually works at improving his teaching and course designs in order to provide our students with exceptional educational experiences. Andrew is the type of teacher that makes a student’s time at Paul College special and valuable.”
Earle describes the early undergraduate version of himself as “intensely interested in anything and everything I was studying, but not a very good student.” Without a little help from professors in realizing his potential–and a jolt of discipline from joining the Army National Guard–he’s not sure where his college career would have taken him. His teachers saw something in him and helped nurture it.
“I grew up in a family that did not emphasize academic achievement, so I had to catch up with my peers in terms of the basic habits of being a strong student. My professors could have written me off as just another average student struggling to get through, and some did, but others didn’t,” Earle said. “With their guidance and with my growth as a person, I finished my undergraduate program well-prepared to start my professional journey.”
“I make a point of reaching out to any student who is struggling. I think because I see a bit of me in them. Conversely, I also like to give podcast and book recommendations to students who already think my class is really interesting. Try to stoke that fire.”
This personal dedication to student success and enjoyment is definitely noted by those who take his classes.
“Professor Earle is probably one of the best professors at UNH. He really cares about his students and is passionate about the course content being taught,” wrote one student in a Fall 2020 course evaluation. “His mindset of making sure his students leave the class with knowledge rather than a letter grade is exactly why he is a successful professor.”
Other students noted that Earle’s courses were well structured and designed, with assignments that challenged them in ways that really helped them grow.
“Easily my favorite professor at UNH,” wrote another. “This class really made me THINK. I feel that is the purpose of education... I loved class and our discussions. Thank you!”