Some college students learn from people who are knowledgeable in their field. Benedictine University students learn from leaders in their field.
Therese Yaeger, Ph.D., who earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Organization Development from Benedictine University in 2001, teaches in the University’s Master of Science in Management and Organizational Behavior and Ph.D. in Organization Development programs.
Yaeger brings more to the classroom than just a sterling academic pedigree. She is also an acknowledged leader in corporate organization dynamics and the creation of high-performance organizations, and was recently named the division chair for the Management Consulting Division of the National Academy of Management.
The academy is a leading professional association for scholars dedicated to creating and disseminating knowledge about management and organizations. Founded in 1936, the Academy of Management is the oldest and largest scholarly management association in the world.
Today, the academy is the professional home for more than 19,000 members from more than 100 nations.
“I think it is extremely important for teachers to be actively involved in organizations that promote excellence in the fields they represent and help its members stay abreast of the dramatic changes unfolding in research and education,” said Yaeger, who also served as president of the Midwest Academy of Management in 2010.
However, Yaeger’s professional activities in the organizational behavior field extend beyond the academy. She has also served as the executive board member of the Southwest Academy of Management, and is a registered consultant through the International Society for Organization Development.
“My participation in these professional organizations allows me to bring my external and professional roles into the classroom, from the latest research to the latest in what and how topics are addressed in our field,” she said.
Benedictine students do not have to look far to tap into that research. Yaeger has authored more than 100 papers and articles including eight books in the field, and frequently presents at national and international conferences such as the European Group and Organization Studies Conference, the O.D. Network and the American Psychological Association.
Her favorite topic is global organization development.
“I really enjoy teaching Global Organization Development, because the topic shifts from theory and concepts to practice and real application,” she said. “I don’t know of another school that delivers the course. We combine current theory and research, and then bring experts into the classroom to share OD challenges and learnings with students.
“This is where students and practitioners make business connections that go on long after the class ends.”
Yaeger stays in touch with many of her former students, who are leaders at such successful organizations as Allstate Insurance Co., State Farm Insurance Co. and Central DuPage Hospital. She believes it is a teacher’s responsibility to go beyond theory and research and help students implement the material in practice.
Yaeger also believes that students should go to school to do more than just earn a degree.
“Graduate school should go beyond ‘getting the degree’ to enjoying the attainment of knowledge,” she said. “Benedictine University students realize that knowledge is here for them to gain.”
Gaining knowledge and building relationships that go beyond the attainment of a degree are two goals toward which Yaeger encourages all her students to strive forduring their Benedictine careers.
“Graduate school takes education from the broad to the focused,” she said. “While they are ‘focused’ on the coursework, students should try to enjoy Benedictine University and their classmates’ backgrounds and contributions. In the Benedictine classrooms, we often make friends for life.”