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Professor receives teaching award

Tampa, FL (December 12, 2012) — Professor Rick Kelso says his experience in business reminds him that in this line of work, the student is the customer.

Rick Kelso receiving his award from dean

Students expect professors to help them understand the technical course material, but like customers in the business world, they also expect something beyond that: a personal connection. That personal connection, Kelso believes, is part of what led to him receiving the USF Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award this year.

"Students want their professors to be friendly and caring, help them solve problems, be flexible, and communicate expectations clearly," said Kelso, who teaches in the Management Department. "They also want to understand how what they're learning will apply to their lives."

Kelso, who teaches graduating seniors in the capstone business course that marks students' transition from college to the real world, said he tries to provide firsthand knowledge of how that learning is practical. He worked in mainframe sales with IBM and consultative sales in the training and development field before starting his own executive recruiting firm. Hoping to share what he had learned in the business world during his 20-year career, he entered the higher education field.

Kelso teaching class

"I love to share my passion and excitement about business strategy with the students. It's a great feeling to connect with students and engage them in applying what they've learned," he said.

Clint Snouwaert, a marketing senior in Kelso 's strategic management class, said he appreciated that Kelso brought his business experience into the classroom.

"I think he's probably the best professor I've had as an undergrad," Snouwaert said. "He brings humor into learning, and it makes learning easier."

"We are thrilled to have Rick as a member of our faculty," said Sally Fuller, chair of the Department of Management & Organization. " He is a gifted teacher who really connects with his students – encouraging and inspiring them."

Kelso said he feels that being a business professor allows him to have an impact on the industry by preparing his students to go out and be successful.

"If you think about it, very little happens in the world until a business person makes it happen," he said. "The business graduates from our College of Business are the people that make things happen all over the world. I'm excited to be a part of that."