Faculty Spotlight – Adjunct Faculty Member Leslie Miller

Faculty Spotlight – Adjunct Faculty Member Leslie Miller

Dr. Leslie Miller is an organizational psychologist with more than 20 years of experience researching, teaching and working directly with organizations to help them acquire, develop and retain the talent they need. Her areas of expertise include developing selection and development instruments and practices, conducting assessment-based coaching and implementing impact evaluation studies.

Leslie has taught doctoral, master’s and undergraduate organizational behavior, psychology and research courses as a faculty member at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, and the University of Oklahoma, in addition to working with thousands of individuals and a number of well-known organizations, such Novartis, U.S. Cellular, Lockheed Martin, Caterpillar, Verizon, Raytheon, AirTran Airways, Disney Cruise Lines and NBC Universal.

Recently, we had the chance to speak to Leslie about her work as an adjunct instructor in the College of Professional and Continuing Studies Organizational Leadership program.

How long have you worked for PACS, and what is your favorite course to teach? 

I’ve worked for PACS since 2015. My favorite course to teach is LSAL 5553 Assessment-Based Coaching. I love this course because it focuses on what is “hot” in the industry today and is very practical, with immediate application for students. 

Tell us a little more about your education.

I have a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Maryland in College Park. I have a master’s degree in Experimental/Cognitive Psychology from Washington State University. I have a B.S. degree in Biology from Washington State University (I originally planned on going to medical school).

What do you do outside of teaching for PACS? 

I am an organizational and research psychologist and own my own consulting business (LanneM TM, LLC). I have more than 20 years of experience teaching, researching and working directly with organizations to help them acquire, develop and retain the talent they need today—and in the future—to achieve desired business results and support business strategy.

I’m an active researcher and have served as the lead researcher to develop the foundation for several industry competency models housed within the Department of Labor’s Competency Model Clearinghouse at CareerOneStop. I love writing and recently published the 6th edition of my college textbook—Foundations of Psychological Testing: A Practical Approach—for which I received the prestigious SAGE Cornerstone Author Award.

In 2021, I will publish an invited chapter, co-authored with Dr. Ruby Daniels, on psychological assessment in Springer’s new International Handbook of Psychology Learning and Teaching. 

What do you enjoy about being a faculty member at OU?

When I worked at Wilson Learning Corporation, I learned that high performance of an individual, in any organization, is not sustainable over time unless the individual has a high degree of fulfillment. I truly believe that what I love most about being an instructor at OU is the high degree of fulfillment I get from facilitating the learning of students who are passionate about learning and collaborating with other OU faculty who share my passion for making a difference.

In my courses, I come across so many students who truly want to learn (versus just get through school and earn a passing grade). These students demonstrate curiosity and actively work to apply their learnings. They ask lots of questions, reach out to me for help, participating in our bi-weekly live office hours, carefully review and apply feedback. I also have the pleasure of working with so many passionate administrators and faculty who are 110% committed to student learning and making the experience of all PACS students an outstanding one.

What is your best teaching tip you would share with other instructors?

That one is easy! Be visible in the classroom and stay engaged with each and every one of your students. Demonstrate, through action, that you really are committed to their learning and love what you do. Being visible and staying engaged with students doesn’t have to be hard or take a lot of time. For each course and unit, I have a Word document with a list of all of my announcements, applications and standard discussion responses. I just tweak them as needed based on the uniqueness of each class and student.

What advice would you give to other instructors for balancing teaching and other responsibilities? 

In addition to teaching for OU, I also teach face-to-face classes for Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. I also have my own consulting business where I work with clients daily. To balance my responsibilities and stick with my personal mission to “Work Hard and Play Hard,” I have a set schedule for my OU teaching–everything is built into my calendar. First, every morning, I check the Canvas Inbox/email for student questions. I block time on Monday mornings to post announcements. On Tuesday mornings after a unit ends, I grade all assignments. On Thursday morning and Friday morning, I engage in discussion. Repeat…

Is there a student or class that has influenced or made an impact on your life in any way?

Indeed! As an instructor, I am very dedicated to student learning. I try and do all that I can to help students learn and grow and achieve the learning objectives for each of my courses. We have very clearly defined assignments and specific grading rubrics. Both are intended to help students not only gain knowledge and skills, but to help students be successful in the course.

[The student that has] impacted me the most modeled what it means to be a dedicated student. Why? She showed me that everything that I try and do for my students is valued. She consistently followed guidelines, asked lots of questions, leveraged feedback consistently and attended the live office hours. As a result, she earned almost a perfect score on all assignments. She made me feel like all of my hard work paid off.

Each quarter OU Extended Campus recognizes a faculty member for their course expertise and contributions to an exceptional student experience. Recipients are evaluated on their course engagement and utilization of best practices, based on the PACS online teaching evaluation rubric and student feedback.

For more information about the Organizational Leadership program, or to learn about additional educational opportunities for working adults, visit the OU Extended Campus website.

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Myk Mahaffey

Michael Mahaffey holds degrees in journalism and psychology. He is a writer and editor with more than a decade of experience writing for print and digital publications, including award-winning coverage of the rodeo industry. In his spare time, he writes fiction, in addition to tinkering with graphic design and photography.