Carlson School building exterior

Exchanging Ideas and Experiences

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

A Force for Innovation

In recent years, the demand by business schools for new faculty has never been greater. Outstanding faculty allows us to make more contributions in research, teaching, and assistance to the business community. High-quality faculty is a tide that raises all boats. Our school, our students, and our community all benefit. 

Since 1969, students in the MA-HRIR program have annually presented the Herbie Award to one outstanding instructor. Named after legendary HR academic Herbert Heneman, the Herbie is given to those faculty members who represent the absolute best in teaching. For the past two years, this honor has been given to Curtis L. Carlson Professor of Industrial Relations John Kammeyer-Mueller.

When Kelly Dahlman, ’16 MA-HRIR, reflects on Kammeyer-Mueller as an instructor, the first word that comes to her mind is energetic. “He teaches in such a lively, witty, and engaging manner that students hardly remember they are in a class until they realize it’s time to go,” she says, adding that Kammeyer-Mueller also takes care to humanize himself as a professor. “He shares about his life and asks students about their world, which creates a culture of trust in the classroom.”

Kammeyer-Mueller says that he most looks forward to exchanging ideas related to students’ personal experiences at work. “Students at Carlson are especially good at using concepts from the academic literature to evaluate and manage their own work lives,” he says.

Dahlman took Staffing, Training, and Development from Kammeyer-Mueller, knowledge that has served her well in her post-graduate life. After leaving the Carlson School, she joined General Mills as a human resource business associate. For her first rotation, she moved to Joplin, Missouri, where one of General Mills’ refrigerated dough plants is located.

She says what she appreciates most about Kammeyer-Mueller’s class was that, in addition to teaching foundational content, he developed methodical, critical thinking in his students. “Through this type of thinking, we learned to not immediately jump to a solution for a task, but to understand the issue, the principles behind it, and the opportunities that could arise through varied solutions,” she says.

As an example, Dahlman says when she interned with General Mills in 2015, she brought her notes from Kammeyer- Mueller’s class to help her approach her project of developing a training program for the flour mill. “As I was working on this project, I recalled Professor Kammeyer-Mueller’s teachings about how individuals learned and transferred knowledge,” she says.

Dahlman says what she remembers most about Kammeyer-Mueller is how she looked forward to his class. “I thought his classes were captivating because of his unbridled enthusiasm and how he could seamlessly teach content in an entertaining and educational manner,” she says.

Kammeyer-Mueller has still another takeaway he tries to instill in his classes. “My main goal in class is encouraging students to be willing to question their own assumptions and the assumptions of others—especially mine!” he says.