As Kettering University Online’s (KUO) Program Development Manager and Senior Instructional Designer, I have the pleasure of working with our Contributing Faculty members, and Faculty Mentors, many of whom are subject matter experts for the courses they teach. Coming from a wide range of educational, career, and geographical 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, we are happy to shine the Faculty Spotlight on Contributing Faculty Member, Dr. Sandra Hindo. Dr. Hindo currently teaches Metrics for Lean Production Improvements.
Following are excerpts from our conversation:
JL: First, thanks so much for making the time to chat.
SH: My pleasure!
JL: The first question I always ask is - Where did you grow up?
SH: I was born and raised in Metro-Detroit! Michigan is the best out of the 50 states, and I am proud to call myself a Michigander! I say this because I am now a Texan and I think Austin is lovely too, but hopefully in the future I will make my way back home.
JL: Which degrees do you have and from where?
SH: I received all of my degrees from Wayne State University: BA Psychology & Political Science, Masters of Public Administration, and Ph.D. in Political Science (Major: Public Administration). I loved every minute I spent at Wayne, especially sitting in all of the great libraries there and reading books.
JL: In brief, how would you describe your teaching philosophy?
SH: Don’t settle for mediocrity! Strive for greatness and achieve it! I believe that students, regardless of past difficulties, handicaps, or learning disabilities, are capable of excelling in their coursework when taught in a systematic, step-by-step fashion that takes into account their learning styles and how their minds absorbs information. It goes without saying that my passion is in student success. I tell my students that I am here to help them succeed but they must also play their part and be fully engaged.
JL: Online courses have been becoming more popular. What were your first thoughts about teaching online?
SH: Online students are dedicated! I have said this once and will say it again - take an online class and see for yourself how much harder you have to work to succeed in comparison to a traditional classroom. Yes, it is harder and only students who are determined and independent succeed!
JL: What has surprised you most about teaching online?
SH: I was really surprised about how much fun it is! I feel like I am having live, in-person, conversations with my students via their discussion posts.
JL: What would you say about your Kettering students?
SH: Kettering students make my life EASY! Kettering students are super professional, and high achievers. What else can I say? Each discussion post is like reading a thesis with the works. They include in-text citations, references, etcetera. They exceed my expectations. As I read my students’ posts and papers, I am reminded of how Kettering students are just in a class of their own. The dedication, professionalism, and heart they put into their assignments makes me proud to call them my students.
JL: I see that, at one time, you served as a writing mentor for students. So many students struggle with parts of the writing process. In which areas of writing and research would you advise students to improve upon?
SH: Yes. I used to work as a writing mentor for BSW and MSW students at Wayne State University’s School of Social Work and I loved every minute of it! I consistently remind my graduate students to go visit the Writing Center. I guarantee every time you go, you learn something new and it is FREE! I tell my students that while they are in school, they should gain new writing skills every week. If you haven’t visited the Writing Center, start NOW.
JL: I also see that you have a love for statistics. Many people say they dislike statistics. How do you work with those students who struggle with or feel intimidated by statistics?
SH: I break everything down into easy to understand terms. I leave no step out. When working with statistical software, I demonstrate each step slowly followed by lots of practice.
JL: What advice would you give to someone who is taking his or her first online course?
SH: I would say “You got this”! I would tell the person that she or he belongs to a group of smart, hard-working professionals, who are all striving to reach the next level in their career. I would also explain that their professor and classmates will be with them every step of the way, supporting and cheering them on. Finally, I would say, “take it in and enjoy every minute of it, even the stress”!
JL: What is the best advice a professor ever gave to you?
SH: Keep it simple. Make one point only. Maintain the focus. We tend to think elaborate, fancy writing will impress others. On the contrary, simple writing is the best!
JL: I love that answer! Yes! Simple writing!
JL: What do you like most about mentoring students?
SH: As Oprah says, the “Aha moments.” When students are stuck, not figuring it out. Then, we break it down to baby steps, and all the pieces of the puzzle start coming together. Aha!
JL: Are there any particular career achievements or highlights you would like to mention?
SH: My greatest achievement is helping my students become success stories.
JL: What are some of the fun things do you like to do in your spare time?
SH: I love hanging out with my two big babies! I love taking them to the public library and seeing the excitement on their faces during story-time and puppet play!
JL: Do you have any pets?
SH: When I was a kid, I had fish. I took joy in their daily feedings. Nowadays, I got the two cutest puppies ever – my son and daughter! I love it when my daughter holds tightly onto me while I pace around the house putting her to sleep, and my son who rips the book out of my hands during bedtime and reads the animal names to me! Every night I give him a kiss and tell him, “I love you Leonardo,” and he responds with “I love 2.” They think I am the best thing on earth … how awesome! I think the same about them!
JL: Who has influenced you the most in life?
SH: The two best people on earth: my mother and father. No matter how old I get, there is nothing better than hanging out with my parents. My kiddos would agree that Grandma and Grandpa are cool cats
KUO honors and appreciates Dr. Hindo for her contributions and highly regarded work with students.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are interested in becoming a student, visit Kettering University Online for information about our graduate degree programs.