Ngozi Oriaku

Elizabeth City State University

2016 Excellence in Teaching Award Winner: Ngozi Oriaku, Elizabeth City State University

Ngozi Oriaku is a tenured professor in the Department of Business and Economics where she teaches undergraduate courses in management, international business, and human resource management.  She joined Elizabeth City State University in 1988. With nearly thirty years of teaching experience, Oriaku is very passionate about finding the most effective ways of motivating and sustaining intellectual growth and promoting active learning among the students that register for her classes. She is committed to developing new teaching methodologies and incorporating state of art technologies to ensure that every student can learn and understand course materials. The creative activities in her classroom are well-known among her students. A typical class might be found in team structure, lecture series structure, or project presentation structure. She enhances her teaching styles with classroom discussion forums and the use of blackboard forum management. For Oriaku, her role as educator is about opening hearts and minds, and changing lives for all those involved in the process.

Over the past two decades, Oriaku has served and continues to serve the university in its academic mission and growth. She has been actively involved in the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accreditation of academic programs, which has reshaped and positioned the Department of Business and Economics and its graduates to be absolutely competitive in today’s marketplace. Oriaku has also served extensively in departmental and university committees, and in community outreach projects. She has served as chairperson of the Department of Marketing and Management and Interim Dean of the School of Business and Economics. In addition to advising students, she has also mentored student organizations such as Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) and the UNC Social Entrepreneurship Team for regional and national competitions with several trophies for first, second, or companionship awards.

With her focus on international business, Oriaku has participated in faculty development activities in several countries, including Indonesia and Thailand. She has conducted professional presentations in many national and international conferences. Her recent research publications focus on the challenges of small businesses in developing countries, the effect of foreign direct investment in developing countries, the impact of podcasts in student learning outcomes, and instructional technologies in classroom.

Oriaku earned a PhD in international affairs and development from Clark Atlanta University, an MS in business management from Norfolk State University, and a BS in business administration from the University of District of Columbia in Washington, DC.

Q. The Teaching Awards were established in 1994 to underscore the importance of teaching and to encourage, identify, recognize, reward, and support good teaching within the University. What does this award mean to you?

A. It is wonderful to be recognized as one of the best teachers at Elizabeth City State University. It also portrays an appreciation of my dedication in my profession. It makes me believe strongly that hard work and determination in any endeavor pays off in the long run.

Q. What was your path into the teaching profession?

A. I started my teaching career at Elizabeth City State University as a lecturer on tenure track. I continued to further my education in order to become an effective teacher, after the completion of my doctoral degree program. I was promoted to the rank of assistant professor, associate professor, and full professor. Over many years in my teaching, research, engagement in community outreach involvements, and several job related training, I was selected to attend the UNC Bridges program on leadership for women in higher education in 2003. This training really shaped and helped me to become an effective teacher. Although, I have contributed tremendously in corporate world as a leader, my exposure also convinced me to train others to become effective leaders.

Q. Besides this award, is there one particular achievement in your career that makes you especially proud?

A. In my career over the years, I have educated many students who became global leaders and productive citizens in their respective careers. For example, some are the Dean of Students Affairs, CEOs of accounting firms, bank managers, CEO of hotels and resort centers, and vice presidents of Human Resources. In addition, I have prepared and coached many students who participated in the outreach projects using soft skills approach to present the projects before corporate executives on free enterprise economy. This has given me tremendous joy and sense of satisfaction.  My relationship with students is not only as a teacher but as a mentor and a friend. Student rapport and interaction with me inside the classroom as the teacher has been one of the most enjoyable aspects of my teaching.

Q. What teaching methods do you use to engage students?

A. One aspect of my teaching methodologies is to help students develop their own critical thinking skills. I believe that transforming students to understand course material and the subject matter are to assign problem-solving cases and real life outreach projects that engage students to take responsibility for their own learning. I am very passionate about finding the most effective ways of motivating and improving intellectual growth among my students.

I use team approaches, lecture series, article reviews, discussion forums, team projects, podcasts and blogs to present course materials. I constantly evaluate my teaching performances by assessing how well I presented my course materials, how students reacted to the course materials, and how to improve my teaching presentations to maintain student focus and interest and these methods have proven successful in the classroom.


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