All eyes locked on her as she slowly made her way to the front of a sea of unfamiliar faces, of people who were going to judge her on something she had never attempted before. However, nerves did not overcome Dr. Rebecca Chappell, director of music business studies in the School of Music at Anderson University, as she skillfully taught her lesson and received exceptional critiques from her judges. Even with her stiff competition of almost 80 professors from prestigious schools, Chappell managed to win the “Outstanding Case Teaching Award.”
In September, Chappell attended the Experiential Classroom XII Conference in Stillwater, Okla., which focused on teaching professors to be great entrepreneurship educators. “I never really thought of myself as an entrepreneur before, but it was pointed out to me that I started Orangehaus Records, Orangehaus Publishing, Orangehaus Entertainment, Orangehaus music business camp and that I even teach a class called ‘Beyond Talent: Entrepreneurship for Musicians,’” said Chappell.
By starting these programs, she helps students apply the skills they learn to real-life situations. Junior music business major Victoria Hall said, “I definitely see her as an entrepreneur because she is always looking for ways to make the programs here profitable and help us to learn at the same time.”
“[Chappell] is very vivacious and fun to be around. People like her in the AU community because she helps students feel comfortable in the classroom,” said Hall. “Her teaching style is very effective because she uses a lot of resources. Seeing examples of what’s going on today in the music business helps us to apply what we learn. She also recognizes talent and helps those people to rise where they need to be.”
Music was a huge part of Chappell’s childhood. “My father was a songwriter, and both of my parents were musicians,” said Chappell. “They had great talent but they didn’t really understand how to make money from their talent, so when I decided I wanted to work full time in the music industry, I wanted to learn ways to teach others how to make a living in music.”
Debbi Brock, assistant professor of business and entrepreneurship in the Falls School of Business, agreed that business skills are important for everyone to learn. “If you’re a music major, art major, dance major, you’re going to be running your own business. Most people don’t work for a company their entire lives,” she said. “You have to learn how to manage your income, finances and career and learn how to market yourself.”
After Chappell decided to attend the four-day conference, she applied for several scholarships to cover expenses, and in September she found herself at Oklahoma State University, ready to learn. “I love that she will take time to go to events like this and learn new things. It creates great opportunities for her,” said Brock.
Out of the nearly 80 professors who attended, less than a handful of teachers did not work in a school of business, including Chappell. “They’ve been trying to open it up and get more involvement from other disciplines because their philosophy is that every discipline should teach entrepreneurship,” said Chappell. “I find that musicians are natural entrepreneurs because entrepreneurship involves creativity and musicians are naturally creative. So I think it works well for that discipline.”
Chappell and the other professors spent the first two days learning about teaching case studies and the Socratic Method. This encourages critical thinking on the students’ part and uses a lot of questioning to come up with the right answer. “I have never used case teaching in my discipline because, outside of entertainment law, there are no case studies for music business. So this idea was foreign to me,” said Chappell. “I wanted to learn how to do it because I thought it was an interesting approach to teaching.”
After learning the new method, delegates divided into two different groups: one group entered the teaching competition and the other entered the curriculum competition, with Chappell taking on the teaching challenge. Bright and early on Saturday morning, Chappell taught her assigned lesson to 20 Oklahoma State University business students and two faculty members, who scored eight different aspects of her lesson using a 1-6 rating scale. The combined scores of the students and faculty members determined who won the award.
The case study assigned to Chappell was about the Intellefit. The Intellefit was a glass booth that customers walked into to have their exact measurements determined so they knew what size clothes would be appropriate for them. Stores like David’s Bridal, Gap, Levi and Macy’s used this technology. The Intellefit is now being used in airports as a full body scanner that checks for weapons and potentially harmful substances. “I had to explain the Intellefit and try to get the students to figure out if it was a good opportunity or a good business concept,” said Chappell. “I asked them to summarize the case, and I asked them a series of questions about it to get them to determine the answer for themselves.”
Even though she had never taught a case study before, Chappell captivated her audience. All of the students gave her between a 5.4 and a 5.9 for all eight of the components they graded her on. The comments she received from them were all very positive: they said her presentation was very engaging, she did a great job of reinforcing key learning points derived from the case, and that it was a great way to explain a topic. These scores, combined with the teacher ratings, placed her at the number one slot for outstanding case teaching.
On Sunday morning of the conference, Chappell received a certificate for the “Outstanding Case Teaching Award.” She was shocked to hear that she won. “I didn’t think I would win!” she said. “I’ve never taught case study before. It’s not a part of my discipline, and I was very intimidated by all of these people from prestigious schools who taught case study all the time in their classrooms.”
Even though she won’t only use case study methods in her classes, the conference still taught her an important lesson. “I’m less preoccupied with content now and more about the implications of that content on music business. For example, if I asked a student to give me an explanation of copyright for published works, another student could Google that and get the answer on their phone before the student could answer. They have a wealth of information at their fingertips,” said Chappell. “So what is my role as a teacher? I need to teach them to ask the question, ‘How does the fact that copyright duration is life plus 70 years promote or prohibit the creation of new works?’ That’s the question they should ask, so it’s those things that I now try to figure out.”
— Alyssa Applegate is a senior from Dayton, Ohio, majoring in communication arts and minoring in Spanish. Applegate is an associate withFifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.