When Pam Schindler, Wittenberg University professor emeritus of business, found out that she had been selected to receive the 2003 Alumni Association Award for Distinguished Teaching, she immediately thought of her mother, who had instilled in her a love of learning. Throughout her Wittenberg teaching career, which spanned from 1975 to 2014, Schindler strived to pass that same gift on to her students.
“I want to convince each new generation of students that learning should not stop at the end of a project, at the end of a course, even at the culmination of a degree,” she said in an interview following the awards ceremony.
Almost two decades after earning Wittenberg’s top faculty prize and seven years into retirement, Schindler herself still seeks to learn and grow.
“Learning inspires me,” she says. “And helping others tackle problems is inspiring, too.”
She recently completed the 14th edition of her textbook, Business Research Methods, slated for publication by McGraw-Hill in May – the second revision she’s completed since retiring from Wittenberg. She also continues to share her expertise in marketing and advertising strategy as a consultant, primarily with nonprofit organizations.
“I help with research studies, many for organizations that are trying to do their own but don’t really have the expertise to use the tools that are available,” says Schindler, who designed and directed the Wittenberg Center for Applied Management (WittCAM) and the Creative Advertising Partnership. “For example, I’ve worked the last six years with a church, helping it to develop better communication for its fundraising efforts so that it can carry on its various ministries.”
Known for her wide network of contacts, Schindler has many requests to help others with writing a resume, enhancing technical skills, changing careers, or returning to the workforce, and she’s happy to do so.
“I started doing this for my nieces and nephews and then it morphed into something bigger, through referrals,” she says. “Alumni still use me for this as well when they want to change locations or career paths.”
As a professor, Schindler had a reputation for having high expectations of students. Today, her memories of her students and their accomplishments are among her most treasured.
“My favorite memories are always of my students surprising themselves with their own success,” she says. “This happened a lot when I was coaching teams in WittCAM, the Small Business Management class, the Advertising Partnership Program, and the honors classes I taught.”
Schindler held herself to the same demanding standards, adapting her teaching methods to meet the needs of her students. She recalls trying to create sports-related examples to use in one particular class that was made up almost entirely of student-athletes.
“I didn’t follow many professional sports teams at the time, so coming up with sports examples took planning on my part as well as some collaboration with [Associate Professor Emeritus of Business] Wayne Mauer and others,” she says. “I would meet with Wayne early in the morning and he would share specific plays with that season’s sports events – at the time, football and basketball – so that for the concepts we were discussing that day, I’d have at least one example from the past weekend’s events. The students tried to stump me with questions, but Wayne and my father and Sports Illustrated prepared me well.
“On the last class day, students made a comment about how well I followed sports. I confessed what Wayne and others had done. They had not caught on. To this day, when students connect with me on LinkedIn, they mention that class and the concepts they remember because I customized the examples just for them. What they didn’t realize is that I learned as much or more as they did. Later, when I had the privilege of coaching WittCAM teams, customizing examples to questions was the core of how I helped those teams achieve goals for their clients.
“Several members in that class were on the Wittenberg basketball team that year,” she continues. “They would probably laugh if they knew how hooked I’ve been on March Madness games since retiring.”
In addition to following college basketball, Schindler has found time in retirement to hone her interests in photography and quilting, approaching both from a new angle.
“I’m experimenting with merging these two passions together, as I really enjoy architectural photography, and I’m just learning the techniques of art quilting,” she says.
Schindler’s lifelong quest to learn, grow, and embrace change would surely make her mother proud.