Of M&Ms, teamwork and learning: An interview with Wendy Fraser
Sabihey Namazi, Staff Writer
If you have walked past a class where students are holding M&M cards to find people with a similar number to form their teams, analyzing Super Bowl ads or discussing ideas on how to make their next short commercial, you have certainly crossed paths with Wendy Fraser’s class. And, interestingly enough, she once walked the same corridors as a student in Old Main. An alumna of Saint Martin’s University and International President for Circle K International club during her undergraduate program, Fraser is now the marketing and management professor at the school of business, presently teaching both undergraduate and MBA classes. She also owns her own consulting firm and has worked in four different countries and all over the United States.
Imagine this: A classroom with twenty-five students, twenty of which are fiddling with their phones already, a black and white PowerPoint presentation that seems to have an infinite number of slides, and a notebook that has more doodles than sentences. Sounds pretty dull, right? Fraser perceives the classroom as quite the opposite. According to her, the classroom is a learning laboratory where the conventional teacher-student relationship does not necessarily hold, and everyone in the class is there to learn, including her.
She is also a strong proponent of building relationships- either by forming different teams in class or working as an organizational development (OD) professional outside her teaching profession, it all comes down to how well you connect to the people around you.
Moreover, don’t we all think professors must have a pretty boring life outside school? But well, no. Fraser loves making scrapbooks in her pastime. She makes three sets- one for her and two for her children respectively so that each one of them has a set of memories to look back on and rejoice. While most of us simply post our photos over Facebook or Instagram, she preserves all the photos in dozens of colorful, bright scrapbooks. Moreover, she believes in striking a balance between her family and work life, and loves to attend her children’s high school events, working as an adviser at their high school too.
When asked what has been the most heartwarming moment during her entire years of teaching, she told a story about one of her students who was going through a traumatic life and could not cope.. Fraser gave him extensive counselling, shunned all the negative ideas to take his life and showed him the brighter side of life. That is what she truly believes in- helping people. Be it through workshops, conferences or teamwork, the idea is to help people grow and lead a better life.
On an ending note, she has a thoughtful message for our readers,
“I am enthralled to be a part of the Saint Martin’s community. I hope the students are taking every moment to make it fun and memorable. We worry a lot about right and wrong answers but it’s perfectly okay to muddle in and experience new things.”