CBU professor brings management training experience into the classroom

Published Feb 09, 2018

Riverside – With a warm smile and friendly laugh, Dr. Gaynell Vanderslice encouraged her students to dig deeper for answers during a classroom assignment. As students brainstormed and wrote on oversized poster papers that hung throughout the classroom, Vanderslice praised their efforts.

Vanderslice, assistant professor of business management at California Baptist University, is passionate about teaching and sees it as a calling. Vanderslice started as an adjunct professor at CBU in the fall 2016 semester and then became a full-time instructor in the fall 2017 semester.

After working more than 20 years in organizational leadership and management roles, she now brings that experience, knowledge and passion to the classroom. Vanderslice said her teaching style is more as a facilitator. For her, learning is in the discussion.

“I want the students to be leaders who are invested in helping their team members grow,” Vanderslice said.

Vanderslice worked for more than 19 years as a manager in the information technology department at ESRI, a geographic information system mapping software company. Part of her job responsibility was to train supervisors on new technology. The supervisors would then train the employees. The goal was to ensure employees could be successful in their roles when new technology was rolled out, Vanderslice recalled.

“What I’ve always done is train people, regardless of the title or the role,” Vanderslice said. “I was always vested in training individuals who wanted to advance their skills.”

Vanderslice wants her students to enhance their critical thinking skills. For instance, in one class, the students created a company, assigned titles and identified issues that might occur in a company, including layoffs. She gives the students an opportunity to co-create their learning experience and to make decisions regarding classroom engagement.

“I will share with them, ‘I want you to make decisions [in the classroom] because when you get on the job, your leaders are expecting you to have ideas, make decisions and bring them to the table,’” Vanderslice said. “This is where they can practice becoming familiar with that.”

Vanderslice said she considered teaching later in life, but then God opened the doors at CBU.

“We can have a plan, or Plan B as I call it,” Vanderslice said. “Then there’s the Master’s plan and I learned that they are not the same.”

Beyond her work experience, Vanderslice said her management philosophy has been developed by biblical principles. From a biblical standpoint, people are created to be relational, visionary and creative, she explained.

“Leaders are there to help enrich the lives of others, to work collectively and collaboratively and to encourage knowledge sharing at all levels,” Vanderslice said.