September 19, 2022, Klamath Falls, Ore. – Sharon Beaudry, J.D., already had two decades of success in human resources before she joined Oregon Institute of Technology in 2014 as a faculty member. That industry experience has guided her courses at Oregon Tech in the Business Management department, teaching business law, human resource management, business strategy, business senior projects, as well as several business application classes.
“Moving from industry into an academic position is like starting your career all over again,” Beaudry says. “My teaching at the beginning adopted a corporate training approach, and I soon learned that teaching in higher education was much more complex. I sought out guidance from senior faculty at the institution that not only provided me with the foundations of teaching theory but supported me as I found my teaching approach. I quickly moved away from lecture-based teaching to active learning. This was particularly embraced at Oregon Tech, where innovation is supported in both teaching and research.”
Beaudry’s evolved teaching style and application of innovation and research has impacted other areas of Oregon Tech. The Business Management department is one of the largest at Oregon Tech and supports what the department calls 11 “tech-infused” programs that include Business Management, Accounting, Healthcare Management, IT, and Cybersecurity. This tech-infused approach differentiates Oregon Tech’s business degrees and ties them to the university’s mission.
Beaudry has also influenced the physical teaching spaces at Oregon Tech. Her research focuses on active learning classrooms, and as a member of Oregon Tech’s Commission on College Teaching, Beaudry was instrumental in the movement to advance the classrooms and learning spaces on campus. In 2018 Oregon Tech was awarded a Steelcase Active Learning Center Grant to implement its first active learning center.
“An active learning classroom is a space that supports hands-on learning and student-to-student interaction. So rather than the focus being on a lecturer with front-facing rows, an active learning classroom supports student movement and interaction for discussion, projects, and problem-solving,” she says.
Four years later, Beaudry’s active learning research served as the foundation for the furniture design and process in Oregon Tech’s Center for Excellence in Engineering & Technology (CEET). The CEET building provided Oregon Tech the opportunity to design state-of-the-art, forward-thinking learning spaces, based on current learning research that directly supports student success and the university’s strategic plan.
“This furniture project was a great example of how leadership, staff, faculty, builders, architects, designers, and furniture vendors collaborated to advance Oregon Tech’s mission of hands-on learning,” says Beaudry, who served as Oregon Tech’s project manager for the furniture in CEET. “The CEET building and its spaces continue to receive national recognition and be featured in journals, publications, and conferences. These are great opportunities for Oregon Tech to share how we are leading the way in advancing the educational experience for our students.”
Developing engaging environments is not limited to physical spaces for Beaudry either. “Over the years I have developed many hands-on experiences for students,” she says. “One of my most creative classes includes a term-long simulated experience where students learn about organizational behavior by simulating a climb of Mount Everest. Also, in my human resources class, they don’t just learn about the role of HR, but students get to actually manage all aspects of an HR department while competing against their classmates on metrics like employee morale, turnover, safety, and productivity. This approach helps students understand the details but also take a more strategic view of how everything works together.”
Beaudry now teaches fully online and continues to develop simulated experiences in the online environment. “I have a certificate in Learner Experience Design which helps me to focus on the student’s experience in an online environment. My focus is to design engaging learning environments to support student success and hands-on learning,” she explains.
Teaching online has not slowed Beaudry’s campus connections. She continues to support and advance excellence in teaching and research by passing along her experience through the coordination of new faculty training at Oregon Tech. For several years she has also been a site visitor for the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE) where she traveled both nationally and internationally to review business programs seeking accreditation — a standard Oregon Tech’s Business Management Department also maintains. She now serves as vice chair on the Board of Commissioners for IACBE, working with the board to conduct final reviews of schools seeking business accreditation for their programs.
Beaudry’s education credentials include a Bachelor of Science in Art Therapy/Education from the College of New Rochelle, a Master of Business Administration in Human Resource Management from Northcentral University, and a Juris Doctor from Northwestern California University. At Oregon Tech she held positions as Assistant Professor, Program Director, Acting Department Chair, and Associate Professor.
As a previous recipient of a Fulbright award along with the Oregon Tech Faculty Alumni Engagement Award and the Oregon Tech Rising Scholar Award, Beaudry continues to be a valuable member of the Oregon Tech team and an example of innovation, research, and industry experience applied to education.