If there’s one lesson that Wesley Helms hopes his students learn, it’s to always question their assumptions.
Helms, a professor in the Goodman School of Business’s Marketing, International Business and Strategy department, teaches his students how to formulate strategy. And to do that, they have to question their initial impressions in order to get better outcomes.
He is unquestionably good at it.
Last week, Helms, who has been at Brock for two and a half years after stints at York’s Schulich School of Business and teaching business executives the art of negotiation and profit management skills, was presented the Brock University Award for Excellence in Teaching for Early Career Faculty.
The award, presented at the ninth annual Tribute to Teaching, recognizes the contributions to teaching by a new faculty member in the first five years of a tenure-track position. Nominations can come from anyone in the Brock community and a committee made up of professors and representatives from the Centre for Pedagogical Innovation (CPI) chooses the winner.
“I feel very, very fortunate,” Helms said about the award. “The truth is, Brock is a very supportive place with students that are highly responsive and fun to teach. This was a very pleasant surprise.”
Helms was lauded for using a service-learning model in his classes, giving students the chance to solve real-world strategic challenges faced by business organizations. He also incorporates discussion and teamwork, and encourages students to develop innovative solutions to the scenarios he presents.
In his nomination package, students described him as engaging, enthusiastic, fair, trustworthy, knowledgeable, approachable, inspiring, passionate and caring.
Helms was also described as an “advocate for students to explore revolutionary ideas and had created an in-class atmosphere that accepted all thoughts and ideas.”
Hilary Brown, last year’s recipient and this year’s presenter of the award, said that’s the very thing students yearn for in a teacher.
“I do not have business acumen but I imagine that under the guidance of Dr. Welsey Helms, I could develop it, for he is the kind of teacher that not only has a firm grasp of business knowledge, but more importantly, he is in touch with how students learn best in order for deep understanding to take place,” Brown said.
“This is a quality of an exceptional teacher.”