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Home Videos on Teaching DePaul Faculty Oral HistoriesKelly Pope
DePaul Faculty Oral Histories: Kelly Pope

Browse the videos below to hear Kelly Pope, Assistant Professor in the School of Accountancy and Management Information Systems (COM), offer advice to other teachers, explain her favorite assignment, and discuss some of her biggest teaching challenges and influences.


My Biggest Teaching Challenge: Getting Students to Read

Featured Faculty Member: Kelly Pope of the School of Accountancy and MIS (COM).
Music: “July” by Marcel Pequel, courtesy of Free Music Archive. Creative Commons Licensed.
Videographer/Editor: Heather Banas
Interviewer: Zac Brenner

From the Transcript

The biggest challenge that I have with any student at any school—but I think it's going to be a challenge every quarter—is the students believing that they need to read the book.

And accounting is one of those classes that you can't just get by. If you haven't read, it's going to be hard. So really trying to convince the student that the book is your friend, that the book has all the material, and class is really just a summary of what the book is, and you can't just not read and come to class. So that continues to be my biggest challenge. And when I'm able to convince students that reading is the way to go, you'll see a big difference in their grades. I've had students that their first test in my class they failed. They didn't read. The second test they read, they made B's and A's. And so I've seen the difference. And what I do at the end of each quarter is I have students write testimonies to the next class. And so tomorrow, for example, is the last day of class, and so what I'll do at the beginning is, “Tell the next students coming in what do they need to prepare for.” And so typically they'll say, “She's going to tell you to read. I didn't do it at first, but make sure you read.” So I always do these student testimonies at the end. And at the beginning of class, during my first . . . next quarter . . . so I'll teach again in the fall quarter. I'll start off the first day of class and I give them a copy of these testimonies so they can see, this is what this class is like. Because what I've found is a lot of times students make course decisions based on things like—what is the website that students go to? Which I think is completely inaccurate. And if you want to follow that, be my guest. But this is the correct . . . These are the students that left my class, and this is what they say. And so I give those to the students at the beginning of the class so they can know, this is what this professor is like; this is what this class is like; and this is what you need to do if you want to be successful. So that's what I do.




My Biggest Teaching Challenge: Teaching on an Urban Campus

Featured Faculty Member: Kelly Pope of the School of Accountancy and MIS (COM).
Music: “July” by Marcel Pequel, courtesy of Free Music Archive. Creative Commons Licensed.
Videographer/Editor: Heather Banas
Interviewer: Zac Brenner

From the Transcript

DePaul is the first school that I've taught at that's been in a city. So it's definitely an urban campus. And I think being in a city creates different challenges for students than I've typically faced because I'm from the Southeast, and so most of the schools that I've ever been at have been in the Southeast.

And I think in the Southeast you have—or at least the schools that I've been at—you have traditional college age students that have traditional college problems. They don't work fulltime or they don't . . . or they live on campus. So I think at DePaul, because of it being in Chicago, you have a lot of students that commute an hour, an hour-and-a-half away. Because it's Chicago, you have a lot of students that work fulltime. I think as a professor that can create challenges, when you're thinking about assigning group work. Because group work, when you have the majority of your class an hour, an hour-and-a-half away commuting, really can be a challenge. So you try not to do that a lot. Or if you do group work, it's not group work where it requires the students to come in, to get together. Maybe it could be something they can do online together. But I think that's been one of the things that sets DePaul apart, from my experience, is its just being in Chicago, you have just city challenges that I've never really faced before. Because I didn't grow up in a city, and so most of the universities that I've ever been associated with have been in a smaller town, a smaller area. So the students tend to live on campus, and if they have a job, it's a job on campus. So you don't . . . you have different challenges. So that tends to be what sets DePaul apart, from my experiences in the past.




If I Knew Then, What I Know Now: Clarifying Expectations

Featured Faculty Member: Kelly Pope of the School of Accountancy and MIS (COM).
Music: “July” by Marcel Pequel, courtesy of Free Music Archive. Creative Commons Licensed.
Videographer/Editor: Heather Banas
Interviewer: Zac Brenner

From the Transcript

The advice I would offer to someone starting out teaching at DePaul would be to be extremely organized. And when I say that, I mean laying out, from day one, all of your expectations.

And that can be as small as giving an assignment and telling the students how long the assignment is estimated to take; letting the students know if you turn it in on Monday, you're going to get it back the next class meeting. Just laying out your expectations, and laying out the course from the first day. And I think that would be my biggest advice. I think that when students don't have the answers to how a course runs, that can lend itself to being a disaster later. So just letting them know what your expectations are, and then getting their feedback. Something that I do every quarter, right after my midterm exam, is I do a survey on Survey Monkey, and I ask ten questions, just to really find out: Do you feel like class has prepared you for the test? Do you feel like you had enough material for the test? Have all of your questions been answered? When you send an email to the professor, do you get a response quickly? So why I do that, really to get their feedback, but really for me to make any changes that I need to make, going towards the next test. So I think another piece of advice would be seeking student feedback early, during the class, as opposed to waiting to the end of the course and doing the evaluation. Because if you think about it, if you want to make a change to make your teaching better, you want to do it while you're in the class with those students, as opposed to at the end when you find out everyone loved you or everyone hated you. But if you found out that everyone hates you mid-point, then you can make changes, and by the end everybody'll love you. So soliciting student feedback—and it may be an unofficial survey—but getting that I think has been key for me. And any changes that I make, typically I make them at the mid-point in class. And I think the students appreciate that because they feel like their voice has been heard, and their voice has been respected. For example, I did the student survey several weeks ago, and one of the things that the students said is, “We would really like an out of class review session, like on the weekend.” So this past Saturday we did a review session. I didn't think anybody would come, but I had like 35 students that came. I have 40 students in my class, so the majority of the class came. So I think that they recognize if you tell Professor Pope something, if it makes sense she'll listen to it. So I think the survey has been key; like getting that mid-point student feedback is key. Because by the time you get the evaluation, it's too late. And so if you want to make a change, find out early. So those would be my two pieces of advice.




My Biggest Teaching Influence: Family Traditions

Featured Faculty Member: Kelly Pope of the School of Accountancy and MIS (COM).
Music: “July” by Marcel Pequel, courtesy of Free Music Archive. Creative Commons Licensed.
Videographer/Editor: Heather Banas
Interviewer: Zac Brenner

From the Transcript

My father's style as a professor was really trying to get to know the student, and breaking down that barrier where a professor seemed like you couldn't talk to them, or you couldn't ask for help.

So just knowing how people felt about his style really influenced my style. I wanted students to feel like you can ask any question; it's not going to be a dumb question, we'll talk about it. So I always try to make my classroom feel very open. So, and I make sure my students know one another. And I also let them know something about me, because I think a lot of times students feel like professors are unreachable, and I wanted to make sure that barrier was definitely not there. So I think that influenced the way I interact with students, and that really shaped how I do things now.




My Biggest Teaching Influence: Inspiration through Innovation

Featured Faculty Member: Kelly Pope of the School of Accountancy and MIS (COM).
Music: “July” by Marcel Pequel, courtesy of Free Music Archive. Creative Commons Licensed.
Videographer/Editor: Heather Banas
Interviewer: Zac Brenner

From the Transcript

What inspires me to keep teaching is I have the ability to change whatever I want to change. So if I'm getting bored in class, I can develop a new project. If I want to have an outside speaker, I can contact an outside speaker.

So it's the autonomy that I really like, that really inspires me to keep doing what I'm doing. It's the innovation that you can have. The sky's the limit as to what you want to do. If I just want to just teach out of a textbook and just show PowerPoint slides—which I don't do—but if I wanted to do that, I could. Or if I want to have a different guest speaker come in every Tuesday, I could. So it's the fact that you can have innovation, autonomy and influence, all at the same time.




My Favorite Assignment: The Cookie Project

Featured Faculty Member: Kelly Pope of the School of Accountancy and MIS (COM).
Music: “July” by Marcel Pequel, courtesy of Free Music Archive. Creative Commons Licensed.
Videographer/Editor: Heather Banas
Interviewer: Zac Brenner

From the Transcript

I hear about it in the halls when I hear students talking and walking around. And they say, “You're baking cookies in an accounting class?”

So that's typically how they respond. But it really touches upon so many issues that we talk about in Managerial Accounting. So believe it or not, it helps them learn the topics better. Because they pretty much set out . . . figured out a product that they're going to make; they've developed a business plan. And they have to think about the product costs; they have to think about how much it's going to cost to make it; they have to think about how much they would sell it for; and then they have to think about packaging; and then they have to think about distribution. So it has a lot of different concepts incorporated in the project. But yes, they do bake cookies in accounting. So that's typically the surprise; like, “We're really going to cook something? I haven't had a cooking class in a long, long time.” And especially when I have student groups that have mostly males in the group, and they have to bake cookies or bake a cheesecake—but it really helps them learn the concepts.




My Favorite Assignment: The Corporate Presentation

Featured Faculty Member: Kelly Pope of the School of Accountancy and MIS (COM).
Music: “July” by Marcel Pequel, courtesy of Free Music Archive. Creative Commons Licensed.
Videographer/Editor: Heather Banas
Interviewer: Zac Brenner

From the Transcript

When I assigned the cookie project . . . and my ability to be able to tell if they know what they're doing is when they do the corporate presentation. And what's great about the corporate presentation is not only am I there, I typically invite colleagues from other departments.

So I've had marketing professors come in, management professors, and fellow accounting professors. And when they hear the students' ability to talk about all these concepts together, that sort of lets me know that they really know what they're doing. And they typically do a great job, and my colleagues at DePaul are typically impressed with their ability to grasp the concepts. Because when a marketing professor comes into an accounting class and can understand what they're talking about, in terms of the production, the operations, and of course the marketing, then I know that they really understand the material.