"Learning occurs through an active search for meaning by the learner."
Tammy Hiller, associate professor of management, has helped people and organizations thrive since the early 1980s. Her Bucknell students have been reaping the benefits of her corporate experience since 1994.
Hiller entered the business world after earning a degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "I began my business career at General Foods as a sales representative, but it was when I began to manage and train other salespeople that I discovered I absolutely loved managing people — helping to develop them, train them, mentor them," she said.
Hiller was on the corporate fast track — a rising star at General Foods. Then, her company was acquired by Phillip Morris. "I was thrown into an ethical dilemma because I was happy and successful at General Foods, but I loathed Philip Morris's products — cigarettes — and its marketing strategies, particularly in Third World countries. After much soul searching, I left to pursue my dream of becoming a professor."
Hiller studied at the Harvard Graduate School of Business, then returned to UNC-Chapel Hill where she earned her doctorate in organizational behavior.
At Bucknell, Professor Hiller's experience as a former sales and marketing manager at General Foods and Pillsbury, and a consultant for organizations as diverse as Volvo Trucks Sweden, Household Bank, Strohman Bakeries and Agnes Scott College, has helped shape her teaching philosophy and methods.
Hiller believes that "learning occurs through an active search for meaning by the learner. Students learn most deeply about organizing and managing when they engage in compelling organizational and managerial experiences coupled with frequent critical reflection on those experiences and analysis of them through the lenses of organizational theory and research."
Her courses combine a range of experiential-based activities with case method, theory, research and extensive writing.
"In recent years, I have become increasingly absorbed in better understanding how people can effectively organize in pursuit of justice and social change," she said. With the help of a Hewlett Foundation grant in 2004, Hiller developed an interdisciplinary capstone course that combines extensive reading and discussion about diverse approaches to organizing for justice and social change with experiential learning through active engagement in local organizations that work for social change. She has now taught the course four times and has been impressed with the passion, dedication and creativity of her students.
Updated Aug. 21, 2013
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