Jeffery D. Yergler
Assistant Professor of Management and Chair of the Undergraduate Management Department
How long have you been teaching here or at other institutions?
I began teaching as an adjunct in 1992 at St. Petersburg College in St. Petersburg, Fla. I quickly discovered that I enjoyed working with the material and interacting with the students. These were incredible human beings each on their own intellectual, personal and professional journey. They brought questions, curiosities, hopes, concerns and fears with them into the classroom. It was evident to me that “class” was not only about the material but also about how that material was integrated into life. It would not be until 2006 that I would transition to full-time instruction. My first position was at Olympic College where I was invited to join the Organizational Leadership and Resource Management discipline. I was at Olympic until I joined the undergraduate faculty team at GGU in August 2011.
Which courses do you teach at GGU?
Undergraduate courses: MGT 140, 141 and 160
Graduate courses: MGT 320/PSYCH 343 and MGT 304
What are your main responsibilities?
Responsibilities include providing course instruction, scheduling adjuncts to provide instruction for undergraduate management courses, hiring qualified adjuncts to join our instructional pool, facilitating discipline meetings, collaborating with undergraduate department chair colleagues in refining, revising and building programs that are increasingly responsive to student needs, and integrate innovative learning technologies that accelerate student learning.
Service to the larger institution:
- Faculty Senate member
- Executive Committee for the Faculty Senate
- Faculty Development Committee
What do you enjoy about teaching?
In order to answer this question, I need to go back a few years. My original educational track focused on theology and ministry. I had my sights set on obtaining my ordination and serving within ecclesiastical organizations and institutions working primarily with professional clergy, volunteer leaders, and families. I received my master's and later, my doctorate, both addressing theology and sectarian organizational performance. Because of my education, professional training coupled with my “sense of call,” I saw those I served and trained holistically: heart, mind, body and soul. In particular, education and training addressed not only specialized knowledge but also the individual’s sense of self, sense of others, sense of purpose, and sense of contribution to the larger community and beyond.
This is critical background that, in many respects, informs my approach to instruction and consulting today. The subject matter I address typically involves both the acquisition of specialized knowledge and increased self-insight (think organizational behavior). From my perspective, instruction is about how students understand the information and, in many respects, the degree to which that information transforms the student personally and professionally.
What are a few of your proudest accomplishments?
I am exceedingly grateful for my 21 years of service in the sectarian nonprofit environment. I have had many opportunities to travel internationally to engage in research and community building. I am also proud of my transition to academia and the rich and varied opportunities it has provided me. Simply put, my most meaningful accomplishments are the lives of students who I have positively impacted in some way. Regarding research, in addition to numerous book reviews and ongoing research on leadership styles, I was delighted to contribute to the critical conversation about the psychological trauma caused by involuntary job loss and, recently, to present my research at the Commonwealth Club.
What advice can you give current students to help them succeed in the business world or in their personal lives?
I would rephrase the question. I think the only way to authentically succeed in the business world is to also (as in concurrently) succeed in one’s personal life. In that light, I think I would boil my advice down to four components:
- Work hard to nurture, deepen and broaden yourself. Steward and cultivate your interior life with the same passion and commitment with which you cultivate your professional life. Indeed, seek success in your career but also seek to be successful (think stable and focused) in your personal growth.
- Commit yourself to lifelong learning -- stay competitive. As a professional, one never arrives. As soon as you think you’ve arrived, you can very quickly become obsolete. Keep hubris at bay and see yourself as continually in need of the acquisition of knowledge, insight and cutting-edge experiences.
- Authentically care for the people around you; don’t use people. At the end of the day, our communities and our social networks are what sustain us and breathe meaning and coherence into our lives. It is a tragedy to wake up and find yourself alone and isolated even though you’ve found success in the world of business.
- Make a contribution to the world that benefits others first. When one seeks to make a contribution that benefits others in some capacity, one also benefits personally… and I don’t mean financially. Robert Greenleaf’s definition of Servant-Leadership asks leaders this question (I paraphrase), “At the end of the day, are others better off, is society stronger, and are those who are powerless and underserved benefited because of our contribution?" My hope is that students can respond to this question continually throughout their careers with a firm "yes!"
Please tell us a little about yourself, your family, pets, and/or any special interests you have, or hobbies or activities you pursue in your free time.
I am extremely fortunate to be married to my wife Krista, who works in the NICU at Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. We have three boys: Jason (27), Jordan (25) and Jamie (23) who live and work in the Seattle area. We have two black labs (both rescued): Buddy and Annie. Krista and I enjoy travelling locally and globally. We frequently travel to the West Shore at Lake Tahoe. Regarding my hobbies, I am a hardened and committed fly fisherman. I also enjoy home remodeling and building.