Inspiring Teacher: Kate Tulibaski, lecturer

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Kate Tulibaski teaches and advises in NDSU’s College of Business. Her students learn about organizational communication, behavior and leadership. They create board games to creatively apply course material and present leadership seminars to various groups.

Tulibaski earned her bachelor’s degree from Augustana College, her master’s degree from South Dakota State University and doctorate from NDSU.

What is your teaching philosophy?

I aim to make things “sticky, not tricky” because when students can apply and explain things in simple ways, it’s a sign that they truly understand it and will then start seeing what was once just a concept exist as something tangible in their everyday lives. To help with this, I try to involve students in the learning process and let them know that while I may be the formal instructor, their experiences are valuable teachers to others in class, too. I want to process and apply things together, and we can only do that if they’re willing to share what they’ve experienced and ask questions.

What is the most common trait or traits of successful students?

The most successful students show up physicallyand mentally and are willing to ask questions or participate. Because technology is at our fingertips constantly, trying to multi-task or becoming distracted is often tempting. The students who are the most successful allow themselves to unplug when they need to and focus on the active process of learning by asking questions and participating in class discussions.

What have you learned from your students?

I think one of the most important things that I am constantly reminded of is related to my teaching philosophy – that they already know a lot more than they think, so I need to actively allow them to be part of the process. They know so much, and I can help refine that and develop their knowledge and skill. They’re not blank slates, and I love that about my students.

Who is a teacher who inspired you as a student and why?

I’ve been lucky to have many great teachers who have inspired and challenged me, but the two that immediately come to mind are on opposite ends of my educational journey. The first is Mrs. Fenske, my second-grade teacher. She didn’t just teach us the basics, but she taught us about hard topics that were broader than my small town, and she did it in a way that so many years later, it’s still memorable. The other teacher is Dr. Amy O’Connor, my dissertation adviser at NDSU. I also had her for a couple of classes. She taught me that if you set high expectations for students, they’ll rise to them. Her classes were challenging but equipped me with the confidence to know that as long as I was willing to put in the time and effort, be curious and ask questions, I could think about things differently and learn differently. She made me completely rethink organizational life and it’s ultimately led to where I am today and where I want to keep going professionally.


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