The Baker Orange

Schwerdt goes from the corporate world to the classroom

Instructor+of+Business+and+Economics+Paulette+Schwerdt.+Image+by+Riley+Swickard.
Instructor of Business and Economics Paulette Schwerdt. Image by Riley Swickard.

Instructor of Business and Economics Paulette Schwerdt. Image by Riley Swickard.

Riley Swickward

Riley Swickward

Instructor of Business and Economics Paulette Schwerdt. Image by Riley Swickard.

Story by Riley Swickard, Writer

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When Paulette Schwerdt left the corporate world, she had plenty of options. For Schwerdt, appealing to her business consumers had become tedious. She wanted to find a new group of consumers: students.

Schwerdt, who is an instructor of business and economics, worked as a manager for investor relations at Garmin from 2002 to 2008. Her corporate work experience includes business management, human relations, financial analysis and accounting.

She said that on her last night at Garmin, she worked until 8 p. m. and checked out on the time system for the final time before checking into a classroom.

“I learned about all different kinds of businesses,” Schwedrt said. “The good thing is that I can bring that to the classroom and say ‘Well, this is what I’ve seen, and this is what I’ve seen managers do, and these are the mistakes they’ve made.’ And ‘These are the good things I did and the mistakes I’ve made.’”

Schwerdt began teaching part-time in 2007 and soon became full-time in 2008. She said that during her corporate management work she especially enjoyed helping people “develop and figure out their way.” So, to her, the “cool” thing about teaching is making students care about what they’re learning by sharing her numerous experiences as examples.

In the classroom, Schwedrt employs business-like teaching methods for her students to help them better understand how the particular field works in the real world. Not only does she have a story or example for almost everything she teaches, but she also makes her tests open note because she knows that the real-world will always be “open note.”

Business major Clay Drouillard has had class with Schwerdt and knows first-hand how her use of time management and real-world examples are displayed in class.

“They are effective because the stories are entertaining,” Drouillard said. “Other teachers are nowhere as entertaining, so don’t take it for granted.”

Drouillard added that Schwerdt is high-energy, passionate, and someone who really cares about the success of her students

Having taught business and accounting courses for eight years now, Schwerdt said that this is often the feedback she receives from students.

“One of the things that is really important to me, and one of the reasons why I stay here at Baker, is because I like it here. I like interacting with [students],” she said. “I like eventually learning your names—because I am bad at that—but I like having relationships with my students.”

Schwerdt said that she couldn’t feel happier when she makes her commute to Baker as an educator every morning.

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