Profile: Colleen Sharen and Melissa Jean

It’s “Business as Usual” at Brescia

melissa_jean colleen_sharenBusiness professors Colleen Sharen and Melissa Jean are an amazing duo. Together they regularly win national case competitions, teach nine different courses between them, and stay current with teaching methods. This makes them committed and innovative teachers with an eye to what today’s business world needs from employees of the future and what students should strive to learn at university.

In her classes Colleen focuses on marketing, market research, entrepreneurship, strategy, organizational behaviour, and brand management and brings 15 years of corporate experience to her teaching. As she says, “This gives me the ability to tie theory to real-world business practices. With small classes at Brescia, students are able to participate actively in their own learning process. The lecture style is not common here. Rather we adopt a seminar-style approach, with lots of activities, exercises, and case studies. This means the students become very engaged in the learning process. Brescia is also unique because our Bachelor of Management and Organization Studies is the only program on campus that includes courses in brand management and entrepreneurship.”

Colleen also affirms that the experiential learning experience that Brescia offers fills a need for most employers. “We are learning that most managers spend approximately 70% of their work days in meetings, listening and communicating with others. We teach these skills, along with the gentle art of persuasion and debating, in the knowledge that our students will be well equipped for the boardroom and the work environment when they graduate.”

Melissa Jean focuses on accounting, business communications, and field studies courses in which students work with real businesses. She says, “These field studies would simply not be possible with big classes. Our size makes these classes both possible and meaningful. Students have spent time at the London Children’s Museum and other small businesses from the community, most recently a mother/daughter fair trade bath products company called Sweet Leaf Bath Co. Following these visits, they come back to class and write papers about their findings. Our small department size also enables all of the professors to co-ordinate tests and assignments so that we don’t completely overload our students. We don’t want them to have all of their tests on one day or all assignments due at the same time. And we try to get involved with their co-curricular activities too. The Pink Ties is a great student club that bridges a few disciplines and enables students to learn through doing. They have hosted fashion shows that feature proper business dress; they provide sessions on resume and cover letter writing; and they have even tackled dining etiquette. Two of our business professors serve as faculty advisors to this active student club.”

Brescia also offers a multi-disciplinary approach to the teaching of business. Both Colleen and Melissa find that the study of business is enhanced when students take a range of other courses along with their business courses. Business pairs well with subjects such as psychology, political science, and sociology. In fact, a business major at Brescia can be combined with a major in any other subject, including leadership.