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Preparing Students for the Real World with Professor Scott Alvord

Business development and marketing are part of professor Scott Alvord’s DNA. For more than 30 years, Scott has built and run companies, consulted, taught, and sat on numerous committees and boards. He currently serves nearly full-time as a Roseville City Councilmember. Scott enjoys teaching students of all ages and has been an adjunct professor in Jessup’s business department since Spring 2017. It’s a pleasure to welcome Scott to our Q&A discussion today.

Briefly describe your path to teaching.

I taught computer programming to 7th and 8th graders as a guest teacher for many years and always enjoyed watching lightbulbs come on in my students. I’ve always been involved in coaching, instructing, and training in the business world, and when I was asked to teach at Jessup, it felt like it was the right thing to do.

What’s unique about your teaching style and how have you adapted this style to an online platform?

When I look back over my college education in both bachelor’s and master’s programs, the most valuable courses I can remember are the ones where the instructor gave us a taste of what the real world was like. Theory is good but working on projects that helped me learn how to function on a team or with a customer still stick with me to this day. When I teach, I try to help the students learn what it’s like in a real-world situation. I think it helps the book theory stick better and make more sense. I also try to be vulnerable and share personal experiences and examples including a few, “ask me anything” moments where I’ve taught techniques to make passive money on the side as a student and even business dinner etiquette.

In addition to teaching at Jessup, do you have another career?

Yes, I’m a Roseville City Councilmember and it’s nearly a full-time job by choice. I also run some small companies that do business consulting, software development, author services and publishing, and a business roundtable. I have designed my professional life to keep myself busy but with enough flexibility to enjoy my family.

How are you using your “real-world” experience to help students in your program?

In our marketing class, we always take on a real-world client project with at least a $5,000 budget they provide for us. After some in-depth training, the class becomes a real marketing company. We interview the client, design target avatars, and a marketing approach. Then we do some incredible things. In our history, we broke ticket sales records for the Sacramento Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”, set sales records for the Strawberry Festival over Mother’s Day weekend, sent large amounts of highly-targeted traffic to the Roseville Chamber of Commerce’s website, and helped Little Bear Tree Farm sell out of their allotted Christmas trees only two weeks into their season. Each class also breaks into teams and creates a full-blown marketing plan for a fictitious product they select. 

As an integral part of Jessup’s business department, what’s your vision for the future of the department?

I see more and more real-world projects entering the classrooms. Jessup has a deep pool of experience and talent. I think the business department is doing a great job of preparing students for the real world. 

What do you love most about teaching Jessup business students? What skills/memories do you hope they walk away with when they graduate?

I love the quality of the students – not only their abilities but the quality of the people sitting in the classroom. Many are very impressive to me. Not only are they smart, but they know their purpose in life is to serve their Creator by making this world a better place. It feels good to be a part of that growth.

Anything else you’d like to add?

If you know of a student who is considering Jessup, please give them some encouragement. I think they will highly value their education and experience at this university.  

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