Bob Stauffer, and instructor with the OU College of Professional and Continuing Studies, is our faculty member honoree for third quarter of 2021. We recently visited with him about his background, experience and impact as an instructor with PACS Organizational Leadership program.
How long have you worked for PACS?
I was hired in 2017 to teach part time in the PACS MAOL program, due in part to my applied business experience as a business owner and entrepreneur.
Tell us a little more about your education, professional background and experience, including what you do outside of teaching for PACS.
After graduating from high school, my first job was working the graveyard shift in a casket manufacturing factory. Not wanting to make this my career aspiration, I earned a bachelor's degree in Information Technology Management and, shortly thereafter, was hired by Booz Allen Hamilton as a technology consultant. While at Booz Allen I earned my MBA, then in 1995 I started my own management consulting firm which I still own and lead today. My primary client from Booz Allen Hamilton until today has been NASA.
If you can't give 100% passion, don't teach, because students deserve 100% of our effort. I am investing in the future of each of my students by teaching them to think critically in subjects of advanced study and to grow their leadership competency so they are equipped to responsibly lead in their professions.
NASA may be a nonprofit organization, but I leverage my for-profit business experience to help streamline, optimize and modernize its operations. NASA is at the forefront of keeping our nation a global leader in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research. My efforts in the business management of NASA help align the funding, skills, resources and systems necessary with program directors, so they may execute the agency's myriad of missions enabling low earth orbit space operations, planetary exploration and deep space observations of celestial phenomena.
I earned my DBA in 2015, which substantially advanced my access to, and interactions with, executive leadership in my Fortune-level commercial client engagements.
What is your favorite thing about being an instructor at OU?
Giving back to the next generation of business practitioners is my passion. I have had extraordinary opportunities to deliver tangible value to my customers' organizations, which has resulted in career success and a recognized domain expert in my profession. I enjoy sharing my experiences with students, teaching them what has worked in business and what has not, so they learn from my mistakes and successes. My experience has also been purposeful when helping design new courses for the MAOL program.
What is your best teaching tip for other instructors?
If you can't give 100% passion, don't teach, because students deserve 100% of our effort. I am investing in the future of each of my students by teaching them to think critically in subjects of advanced study and to grow their leadership competency so they are equipped to responsibly lead in their professions. They are the future executives of our country's for-profit corporations, future executive directors of our nonprofits and future leaders in federal and state governments. They are worthy of my undivided attention and the best I have to offer.
What advice would you give to other instructors for balancing teaching and other responsibilities?
Working full time and teaching part time requires a commitment. Whether we engage with students early in the morning before we start our 8-5 workday, or we do it in the evenings after our workday, we must be committed each day to accomplishing both successfully. I would not be successful at accomplishing both without the support of my wife and family, as they recognize the importance of educating the next generation of practitioners and leaders.
What is your favorite course to teach?
LSAL 5223 Financial Leadership is my favorite course to teach. Most students avoid this course until the very end, believing it is an advanced financial management course in the study of elasticity, capital asset pricing and weighted average cost of capital models. It pleases me to watch their reactions when I put their reservations to rest and begin teaching conversational finance, not equations. By the end of the course, students have the skills to competently evaluate the strengths, weaknesses and overall financial performance of a publicly traded company.
My favorite axiom to share with students is that those who understand not just how but why money influences everything in an organization, those who can prepare budgets, those who can quantify the benefit of one project over another and those who can speak in the language of finance will have career success over those who do not or will not.
Is there a student or class that has influenced or made an impact on your life in any way?
During the course design of the undergraduate and graduate PACS courses in Ethics in Leadership, I remembered what I was taught in MBA school, that cutthroat practices and backstabbing was the success path to upward mobility, that there was no room in the organizational hierarchy for second place. This perspective contrasted significantly with my 25 years of business ownership experience. Not once did I ever compromise my ethics with a client or backstab a colleague to advance my own position or disparage the accomplishments of my competitors, so potential clients would favor my proposal over theirs.
By my reckoning, I have been fantastically successful operating ethically and adhering to the highest levels of professionalism throughout my career. From my perspective, I see a sea full of opportunity in the national and international markets, enough for all business executives to succeed if they are willing to work hard to write winning proposals and earn the work. There is no need to shortcut the process by engaging in unethical practices.
Anything else you’d like us to know?
All that I teach in my courses comes from real-world applied experience. My wife and I own two management consulting companies, a commercial real estate company, a residential real estate company, a high-tech start-up and a charitable nonprofit. It is from this base of working knowledge that I get to share what I know about business, leadership, management, finance and ethics with my students.
Each quarter the OU College of Professional and Continuing Studies recognizes a faculty member for their course expertise and contributions to an exceptional student experience. Recipients are evaluated on their course engagement, utilization of best practices and student feedback.