2013 Faculty Awards: Q&A with Michelle Harrolle

May 1, 2013
By Bill Krueger

The Alumni Association is honoring 21 NC State professors with the 2013 Faculty Awards for their outstanding work in the classroom, in the laboratory and in the field. We talked (via email) with some of the recipients about their work and the keys to being a successful professor.

Today we’re visiting with Michelle Harrolle, an assistant professor in the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management in the College of Natural Resources. Harrolle is one of seven professors being recognized as Alumni Association Outstanding Teachers.

michelle-harrolle_smWhat prompted you to become a professor? I love teaching and always have. Thinking back to my childhood, my friends and I would play school and I always wanted to be the teacher. Teaching is in my nature and a part of who I am. My road to becoming a professor began in 2006 when I was a collegiate head swimming coach at Providence College. I realized I enjoyed the teaching aspects of being a college coach.

What are the keys to being a successful teacher/professor? First and foremost, I believe teachers truly need to care about their students. I always want to see my students succeed. The second most important part of my success has been my willingness to change and adapt. As society changes, so do our student. I enjoy adapting my teaching techniques (e.g., encouraging students to use laptop and tablets in class) and developing strategies to improve my teaching and student engagement (e.g., using student response systems in class).

What gives you the greatest satisfaction as a professor? When students are critically thinking and they have that “a-ha” moment, I am a very happy professor. I love it when former students come back after graduation and tell me they have used financial ratios and break-even analysis within their professions.


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