From the adjunct: Pair genuine instruction with fascinating tales
Q&A with Bill Carter, partner at Fuse
February 19, 2018
Bill Carter has been a partner at Fuse for more than 20 years and helped build the Vermont-based sports marketing agency into a leader in the teen, young adult, and millennial market. He has worked as an adjunct professor in marketing at NYU, George Washington, and other colleges. In a Q&A with SportsBusiness Journal, Carter shares his influences as a teacher and how he approaches the responsibility as an adjunct.
Why did you decide to teach?
CARTER: Teachers and coaches were the most influential and important figures in my life in high school and college. I credit English teacher Father Lloyd George at Loyola Blakefield high school for my love of writing and creativity, and head lacrosse coach Hank Janczyk at Gettysburg College for my understanding of leadership. It always felt natural to follow in their footsteps and teach what I knew.
What did you think the time commitment would be? What were you told?
CARTER: Every teaching opportunity I have had over 20 years — from NYU to St. John’s to George Washington and others — have each been unique in their time commitments. I listened to professors who told me to expect to spend three or more hours out of the classroom for every one hour in the classroom. For me, that rule has proven mostly true.
How did you begin planning it out? How much time did you commit at first?
CARTER: The planning has been different for each class. For example, I taught a sports marketing class at St. John’s that had been taught previously and used a textbook. That structure certainly reduced my preparation time, so I was able to spend more time out of the classroom organizing guest speakers to join us. I taught an event marketing class at Champlain College in Burlington, Vt., that had never been taught; I probably spent 40 hours creating that class before I ever stepped into the classroom.
What was the biggest eye-opener for you?
CARTER: What was an eye-opener for me, but wouldn’t be for a “real” professor, was that there is always an “easy” and a “hard” way to teach. It’s easy — and possible — to show up with little preparation and just talk about your experience. The students will enjoy it, but that’s not really teaching; to me, real teaching is hard work that wraps genuine instruction inside those fascinating tales.
What were the positives? What were the challenges?
CARTER: Everyone will say, “the students” here. And while I enjoyed the students and still remain in touch with many former students now in our industry, my real answer is a little more selfish. A real positive is the improvement in my own work that came from standing up in front of a group [once or twice] per week and accurately explaining key sports marketing concepts. I am better as a presenter, speaker, and marketer when I am teaching.
The challenges are pretty clear: It’s hard to be a good instructor when you have a day job!
What is your advice to others looking to get into it?
CARTER: My advice is to ask yourself whether you are going to make teaching a priority six days per week or only on the days you are in the classroom. Truly great instructors — like Stan Brand of MiLB, who teaches law at Penn State’s Dickinson campus — are reading and taking notes every day to bring the most current info and examples (and their interpretation) into the classroom. I strive to reach that level, but I often fail. My advice is to set the bar as high as Stan.
Are you doing it still? What are you better at?
CARTER: Yes, I co-taught a class with Mark Hyman at George Washington University last semester. Partnering with someone as smart as Mark is the key! Not only did he do most of the heavy lifting, but he knew what I could do and what I couldn’t base on time and expertise. My in-classroom teaching may not be better than 20 years ago, but I am better at selecting the classes that I can be successful teaching.
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