McKendree Marketing Professor Wins Excellence in Teaching Award

Lebanon, Ill. — Dr. Jean Scheller-Sampson is known for the innovative “real-world activities” she incorporates into her undergraduate and graduate level management and marketing courses at McKendree University. She is one of approximately 100 St. Louis-area educators who recently received the prestigious Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award for 2011. Honorees from the kindergarten to college level are chosen for their passion for teaching, impact on student learning, knowledge and creativity.

“Her classes are highly interactive, interesting and relevant to today’s global issues,” said Dr. Christine Bahr, McKendree provost.

Before she became a college professor, Scheller-Sampson was a corporate human resource manager, and a bank and warehouse employee. Throughout her career, she has been a passionate advocate for hiring disabled workers. The 1983 McKendree graduate, a Maryville resident, has taught at her alma mater since 2004.

“She demonstrates an unwavering commitment to incorporating active student learning and real-world activities in all of her classes,” Bahr added. “Dr. Scheller-Sampson requires her students to conduct research, analyze data, and communicate the relevance of their findings to professional audiences.”

“Our students are used to getting up in front of people,” Scheller-Sampson said. She often takes them to professional conferences and the annual Intercollegiate Business Ethics Competition at Loyola Marymount University. She coordinates McKendree’s study abroad exchange program with the Paris Graduate School of Management, and advises the Phi Beta Lambda future business leaders’ organization, as well as transfer students for the School of Business. Her sports marketing students put their skills and talent to work on various campus projects.

“We have some great students,” Scheller-Sampson said. “It’s important to prepare them. They need to be able to learn to fail where it’s safe, so they know it’s OK and not to be devastated. They need to know what it’s like to work in the real world.”

During one class exercise, the professor temporarily confiscates her students’ cell phones. “I see students sweat when I do this. They panic. But they have to learn how to communicate and work together in groups,” she said.

“In addition to her excellent teaching skills, Dr. Scheller-Sampson is widely known among students for the care and concern that she demonstrates for each of them,” Bahr noted. “Many seek her out to serve as their academic advisor or internship supervisor. They know that she will treat them fairly and help them grow academically, socially, and professionally.”

“When I see a student that just ‘gets it,’ there’s no other feeling like it,” Scheller-Sampson said. The mother of five children, ages five to 15, admits she feels “very melancholy” as she watches her former students receive their diplomas during the university’s commencement ceremony.

Six other McKendree University alumni and current or former students also received Emerson Excellence in Teaching Awards for 2011. They are:

- Kyle Gordon ’98, a social studies teacher at Collinsville High School

- Ginger Ogden Johnson, a chemistry and biology teacher at O'Fallon Township High School

- Jamie Moll ’95, a third grade teacher at High Mount School in Swansea

- Charles ‘Chuck’ Noud, an instrument music teacher at Coolidge Middle School in Granite City District 9

- Laura Pruett, MAED ’08, a fourth and fifth grade teacher at St. Jacob Elementary School in the Triad District 2

- Scott Schlapkohl, a physics teacher at Alton High School