By Jennifer Levy, MA
Program Development Manager/Senior Instructional Designer
As Kettering University Online’s (KUO) Program Development Manager and Senior Instructional Designer, I have the pleasure of working with our contributing faculty members, many of whom are subject matter experts for the courses they teach. Coming from a wide range of educational and career backgrounds, KUO faculty unite in the effort to link transformative experiential education to rigorous academic standards with real-world applications for learning that lasts a lifetime.
This time, I chat with Dr. Mitchel Miller. Dr. Miller was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and received his BA from Brooklyn College, MBA from Pace University, and his DBA from Nova Southeastern University. Entrepreneur, educator, author, and practicing Certified Financial Planner, Dr. Miller took some time out of his busy schedule to talk with me. The following are excerpts of our conversation:
Jennifer Levy: Tell us a bit about your professional background.
Dr. Mitchel Miller: In a previous career, I was a corporate executive and senior manager for twenty-plus years with global, integrated professional service firms such as KPMG LLP, Arthur Andersen LLP, and Lincoln Financial Advisors. I have been privileged to serve as Vice President for a private, Miami-based, $150 million financial services organization and for more than 14 years was a regional consultant and manager for a publicly held corporation.
Jennifer Levy: You have been teaching several courses for KUO - Financial Management, Strategic Management, and Marketing Management for a few years now. What is your teaching philosophy?
Dr. Mitchel Miller: My teaching philosophy exists in the form of a commitment statement - I am unequivocally committed to the academic, professional, and personal success and well-being of every student and strive to:
- Remain student-centric, attentive and responsive to student needs and concerns.
- Ethically and competently practice my facilitative role to the best of my ability.
- Help students achieve their success goals, student learning outcomes, and their acquisition of strategic, career-focused skills and knowledge.
- Be a role model and to mentor my students.
- Continuously and constantly seek to encourage, nurture, and coach students to maintain positive attitudes of mind, while striving to cultivate their critical thinking skills in order to shape both their human and intellectual capital.
Jennifer Levy: What do you enjoy most about teaching online and teaching these particular subjects?
Dr. Mitchel Miller:I enjoy the time flexibility, the creativity, and the ability to express myself in writing. I enjoy connecting with students and observing their critical thinking in action.
Jennifer Levy: How would you describe your Kettering students?
Dr. Mitchel Miller: I find Kettering students to be motivated, mature, and intelligent.
Jennifer Levy: Myths and misinformation tend to surround online learning, particularly when compared to face-to-face learning. Some examples of this are that online learning is easier, takes less time, and that online students cannot meet with their instructor. What advice would you give to the potential KUO student who has never taken an online course?
Dr. Mitchel Miller: I would advise students starting their first online course to examine their time management skills and to begin their work early in the week. It is also important to acclimate themselves to the online learning environment, especially if they have no prior distance education experience. Finally, I would advise students taking their first online course that online learning requires more, not less time, than traditional in-seat courses. Also, students can meet with their instructor using Collaborate, a video conferencing tool in Blackboard, the learning management system used by KUO.
Jennifer Levy: Let’s switch gears a bit and talk about financial skills. A recent study by the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign noted “nearly a third of young adults were found to be financially precarious because they had poor financial literacy, lacked money management skills, and income stability” (Science Daily, 2018, para. 1). As a Certified Financial Planner, what are the financial skills you see students, and people in general, in need of the most?
Dr. Mitchel Miller: I agree. Students and people in general, are in need of financial literacy skills. Low financial literacy is the most observable deficiency in a large number of individuals during all phases of the life cycle. Low financial literacy results in less-than optimal financial decision-making, resulting in choices that adversely affect one’s quality of life and standard of living.
Jennifer Levy: What advice would you give as the first few steps someone could take to get their personal finances in order?
Dr. Mitchel Miller: As a Certified Financial Planner and counselor, I advise that the first steps to better managing one's finances is to prepare a budget, to control expenses, and to live below one's income means.
Jennifer Levy: What is the best financial advice you ever received?
Dr. Mitchel Miller: The best financial advice I ever received can be summed up in four phrases: 1. Cash is king; 2. Build economic strength by saving and investing; 3. Financial planning pays off in the long-run; and 4. Be a wise steward of your scarce economic resources.
Jennifer Levy: Let’s change topics once again and talk about soft skills in the workplace. It seems now more than ever, employers across industries are looking for candidates with soft-skills in addition to their finance or technical skills. Some soft skills in high demand are planning and organization, the ability to negotiate conflict, listening skills, and the ability to have empathy. In the past, employers looking to hire people with financial talent may not have prioritized these skills sets. What would you say are additional soft skills students should work on cultivating?
Dr. Mitchel Miller: Important examples of soft skills include effective communication, teamwork, and problem solving. From my perspective, the ability to communicate orally and in writing are paramount. For example, employers seek candidates who can think 'on their feet', who are articulate, and can orally present their concepts and ideas. I would also say that teamwork is an art form sought by diversified-oriented employers; being able to work well with others is important as teamwork enhances organizational decision-making. Employees exhibiting teamwork skills will remain in demand.
Jennifer Levy: Finally, on a lighter note, what are some of the things you like to do when you are not teaching?
Dr. Mitchel Miller: My hobbies include all aspects of wellness, including strength training, cardio, and Pilates.
KUO honors and appreciates Dr. Mitchell Miller for his contributions and highly regarded work with students and for taking the time to chat!
Interested in Teaching for Kettering University Online?
At KUO, we are grounded by our past while innovating our future by designing, delivering, and supporting transformational educational experiences for a diverse global community. KUO is proud to announce that they received a perfect score, 100/100, for credentialing and training online faculty from The U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings for 2018!
If you are interested in becoming a member of our award-winning faculty, or a subject matter expert for course development, send your curriculum vitae and cover letter to Dr. Christine Wallace at email@example.com.
Science News. (2018, August 24). Many young adults lack financial literacy, economic stability, study finds. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/08/180824135007.htm