Published 03/28/13

Bringing real-world experience into the classroom

Lori Coakley, Ph.D., associate professor, management

Associate Professor of Management Lori Coakley, Ph.D., has received awards for teaching excellence at both the undergraduate and graduate level, mentorship of students and faculty, and service and leadership on campus. She teaches classes in organizational behavior, leadership, and international management, and is on the faculty of the Hassenfeld Institute for Public Leadership. Her ongoing consultant work centers on organizational behavior and strategic management issues, and she brings this practical experience to the classroom.

“My consulting helps me engage my students at a different level, because I can challenge them with the same questions I’m being challenged with,” she says. “When faculty members use practical approaches, students understand that it’s not just theory in a textbook, but that they’re actually going to apply it when they leave Bryant.”

"When faculty members use practical approaches, students understand that it’s not just theory in a textbook."

Coakley believes that the concepts and skills of management are best learned by simulating real-world situations. Students in her courses analyze and discuss demanding aspects of management and collaboratively work out results, often discovering that problems have more than one solution. “I challenge them and work them hard in the classroom,” she says. “I also have high expectations and ask them to step up and work at a level they may not be comfortable with initially.

“What makes Bryant University unique, in terms of the Management department specifically and with any of the business disciplines, is that we provide so many opportunities for students to compete in front of entrepreneurs, CEOs, and CFOs, and really demonstrate what they’re made of.

“We also have an Introduction to Business class where students go out into the community and interact with businesses in a way that challenges the way they think, and we follow that with several different types of courses that are equally rigorous. The fact that we have students constantly moving back and forth between theoretical and practitioner types of activities gives them that cutting edge. That’s different from what other schools are doing.”