My current Ph.D. research is deeply personal. I spent a year, from January 1969 until January 1970, in Pleiku, Vietnam, during the Vietnam War. Pleiku is in the Central Highlands, less than 50 miles from the Cambodian border. At the time, it sat squarely on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, the major supply route for the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) into the South, in support of NVA troops and the Vietcong. For about two decades, I had wanted to return. I saw the devastation we created during the war – to the countryside and to the lives of the people. I wanted to see how the Vietnamese were doing. In early 2012, I had an opportunity to travel to Hanoi, Vietnam, to teach business classes for seven weeks for Keuka College. I took that opportunity I have been teaching annually in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) since 2012. Finally, I had the opportunity to see Vietnam 40 years after the war, and to give something back to a new generation of Vietnamese business students.
Prior to starting to teach in 2012, I had spent 37 years in business. For most of those years, I was a senior marketing and sales executive, in Fortune 500 and global companies. Teach college business courses came naturally. I had mentored subordinates throughout my career. I had given dozens of business workshops, both in my salaried executive career, and as a consultant from 2001 through 2012.
My instinct, starting with the first Keuka College course I taught, which was a business leadership class, was to incorporate projects for the students that would enable them to apply what they were studying in lectures and in their textbook. After a year of teaching in Vietnam, I realized that I needed to gain a deeper understanding of the processes of teaching and learning, resulting in my enrollment in fall 2013 in the Curriculum, Instruction, and the Science of Learning Ph.D. program within the Graduate School of Business, State University of New York University at Buffalo. I was – and remain – driven to understand the variety of experiential or active learning processes through my Ph.D. studies and subsequent research.
The image below is a screen shot of a Google map showing the route to Cambodia from Pleiku, Vietnam.