President Thomas Krise plans to leave the president’s office and go to the classroom at least once a year.
Krise is currently teaching English 213, Management Lessons from Literature, a course that uses literary texts as if they are business case studies, so that he can get to know students better.
Krise is among about one-fifth of university presidents who teach, he said.
“I find you have a very different view of things from the classroom than you do from the president’s office,” Krise said.
Being in the classroom allows Krise to get to know what students think and what they are able to do.
“Not only is the reason I’m in higher education because I love teaching, but it’s to be engaged with students,” Krise said.
When Krise co-taught a course last spring, some students were surprised Krise was their professor.
Since Krise co-taught the class, his name wasn’t listed when students signed up.
“Quite a few of the people who showed up the first day of class last spring were a little surprised and wondered what I was doing there,” Krise said. “But that was just the first day.”
But students expected Krise this J-term, since since he is the only instructor.
Sophomore Ryan Chynoweth said he enjoys having Krise as an instructor.
“You realize he’s a pretty cool guy,” Chynoweth said.
When Krise started the course, he asks students if they have questions about anything, which Chynoweth said he liked.
Chynoweth said students asked how Krise met his wife, Patricia Krise, and other non-academic questions.
At this point, students tend to ask more administrative questions than academic, Krise said. After this, students tend to view Krise as their instructor, instead of as the president of PLU.
About a quarter of the way through Krise’s courses, he asks students what he should start, stop, and continue doing.
This helps him improve his course.
“He’s a lot busier [than other professors] but it’s still an awesome class,” Chynoweth said.
While teaching, Krise schedules all his presidential responsibilities around the course. Like other professors, Krise has office hours as well.
Krise said he is impressed PLU students are interested in subjects other than their majors.
“People bring in examples from other disciplines they’ve taken,” Krise said. “That’s the great thing about our students. I hope [the students] are getting as much out of it as I am.”