Since first taking on a teaching role at ANU in 2017, Katerina Kormusheva has shared her passion and deep industry knowledge with a student cohort of more than 300 postgraduates across two marketing courses in the ANU College of Business and Economics (CBE).
To prepare students for the world of business, Katerina scaffolds learning by diminishing the social and cognitive congruencies between learner and teacher, and learner and real-world business. To achieve this, she applies Situated Cognitive Theory in the design of her course, in addition to near-peer teaching, creating an authentic learning cycle for her students. She completes the experiential learning cycle by providing her students with out-of-classroom exposure.
Katerina was awarded the International Academy of Marketing 'Malcolm McDonald Essay Prize' in 2015, in the process becoming the award's first recipient outside the United Kingdom. She was also the recipient of the Highly Commended Paper award at the ANZMAC Doctoral Colloquium in 2016, and was part of a team recognised with an ANU CBE Award for Excellence in Innovation in 2016. In 2019, she was awarded an ANU Vice-Chancellor's Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning (Early Career).
In 2019 Katerina was a recipient of an Australian Award for University Teaching - Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning.
Q: What motivates and inspires you in your teaching?
Globally, questions have been raised globally about "curricular inadequacies" into the relevancy of business education in general, and MBA programs in particular. I read the book "Managers, Not MBAs" by management guru Harry Mintzberg, and I had to agree that programs do not always equip students with the skills needed to function in the organizations that hire them. So, when given the opportunity to teach, while being a PhD student and working in the software industry, I challenged myself to improve student's skill development and work-related knowledge. I pondered how I could utilise the experience I have gained and the networks I have built across three continents, to help achieve ANU's strategic vision of empowering our brilliant graduates.
Q: What do you enjoy most about being a teacher?
The classroom atmosphere and the interactions with the students are a source of energy for me. I find every class is uplifting and inspiring, with the exchange of ideas and discussions.
Q: How do you motivate, inspire and engage your students in and out of the classroom?
I brought the classroom outside into the real business world, and the business world into the classroom. For each of the lecture topics, an industry guest speaker presented to the students and had a 20-30 minute Q&A and discussion session. The guest speakers are top level executives and leaders in their field, strategically chosen to represent a full picture of the different spheres of real-world applications: a government ministry, a for-profit international privately-owned business, two not-for-profit non-government Australian organisations and a small entrepreneur from local business.
The enthusiasm and generosity of the guest speakers was immense, with three of the speakers traveling from Sydney especially for the lecture and staying overnight due to the evening timing of the MBA class. One speaker brought in a 25kg suitcase with three virtual reality headsets, so that our students could experience the 3D material that his company had developed. Speakers often overstayed their allocated time to answer the numerous student questions. One speaker called his wife to pick up the kids he was supposed to pick up from Boy Scouts so he could continue answering student questions. Another speaker provided his LinkedIn connection to all students (157) and offered to help them with job applications.
In learning about the marketing of a raw resource, students embarked on a field trip to regional NSW. They met third-generation wool growers, attended their 22-year-old traditional festival and visited their farm. The students learned about the economic and historical importance of the wool industry in Australia, heard about the United Nations framework for food and fiber from one of its co-authors, touched rams for the first time and learned about the whole process of wool growing from end-to-end. They learnt to appreciate what drives the success of Australian wool farmers and the economy. Addressing real world problems in an environment beyond the classroom engaged the students in learning authentic tasks within specific communities of practice, which helped them apply constructs and supports their professional growth.
In the words of the students, the trip delivered the relevant and current knowledge required and helped them develop professional skills, such as critical analysis and effective persuasion, that are essential for their job market readiness.