Since early 2015, La Trobe has introduced a team of Professors of Practice. As one of the first Business Schools in Australia to pioneer this concept, LBS is hoping that it will provide their students with the insight into the industry they need, and form a bridge between connections in the industry and LTU Business Students.
Susan Inglis started as a Professor of Practice last June, but has been teaching at La Trobe University since 2013. Coming from a HR consulting background, Susan has worked for small business, government agencies, and the non-profit sector.
“I really enjoy having colleagues to collaborate with,” she says. “Before I started in this role, I worked mostly on my own on specific projects. Here we have the opportunity to collectively work together as a team to improve both student outcomes and relationships with industry.”
At La Trobe Business School, Susan currently teaches in the MBA programme, focussing on leadership and management. She has also taught these MBA courses in Hanoi, Vietnam.
“I’m passionate about helping others to more effectively lead and manage people.” Susan Inglis says. “This includes bringing out the best in individual capabilities and also teaching students how to maximise group cooperation. In my twenty years of consulting experience and in my doctoral research, I’ve recognised the criticality of explicit collaboration processes in the workforce. It’s incredibly valuable if managers understand individual motivators and strengths to bring out people’s best capabilities.”
In her teaching, Susan Inglis makes an effort to provide students with real-life experience so they can apply theory to their current professional careers: “In teaching conflict-management, for example, students are asked to look at a conflict present in their own work life, and apply a conflict-resolution strategies to themselves directly.” The results are often enlightening: “A lot of my students reach a true “aha” moment through this authentic assessment. Undoubtedly because it impacts them so intensely and directly.”
In her eyes, providing Business School students with this type of experience is exactly what a Professor of Practice should do: “Not only should we provide students with the ability to be self-aware, we should also equip them with the tools they need to be responsible leaders in the work-force, recognising the important influencing role they can play beyond their work roles.”
“This is where Professors of Practice are incredibly valuable,” she adds. “These people are highly experienced and can provide an invaluable real-life perspective to complement the theories being taught. They have worked as managers, led teams, and displayed a degree of entrepreneurship that can be enormously helpful and inspirational to students.”