A. Gary Anderson
Graduate School of Management

Creating Community in the Classroom

Assistant Professor Jonathan Lim is honored with the student-voted Golden Apple Award for teaching excellence
By Laurie McLaughlin |
Jonathan Lim

When it comes to teaching difficult subjects, there are two important factors to think about, says Jonathan Lim, assistant professor of teaching in marketing.

“First, how can we find a way to simplify this material as much as possible to make it easy for students to understand? What do they truly need to know to be effective in applying these concepts moving forward?

“Second, I think about how to find any level of relevance to students and their lives, both professionally and personally. Even though a topic may be difficult to comprehend, if I can find any way to relate it to my students and what they are going through, this helps them to engage with the material a little further and to understand it a little better.”

This approach profoundly resonates with his students: They awarded Lim the 2022-2023 Golden Apple Award for undergraduate elective courses.

“He asks you how you’ve been applying the concepts learned in class into the real world and has us present that in front of the class, which shows that he really cares about our development,” wrote a student when nominating Lim for the award.

Wrote another: “Dr. Lim has the best lectures, and they make understanding the material so easy.”

With a pronounced focus on keeping all material new and applicable to the current and future currents of business, Lim often asks “What do students need?”

“As educators, every time we teach a course, even if it may be one that we’ve taught before, this question is one of the most crucial to think about,” says Lim, whose research currently centers on finding and implementing new ways to improve classroom instruction, such as the use of emerging technologies.

“Students are constantly changing, year in and year out, and their needs are also changing. Therefore, how we reach and teach them should also change. If we think about things from our students’ perspectives, it helps us to ensure that our pedagogy continues to remain timely and fresh.”

Another nominating student weighed in with: “Dr. Lim is an absolutely amazing professor. He deeply cares about creating an environment where students are involved within the class and even with him. When I took his class, I felt as if I was a part of a community not just in a classroom. He is always so enthusiastic, and that makes me want to always do my best to participate in his class.”

Receiving the Golden Apple Award is a deep honor for Lim. “Faculty put so much of our time and energy into preparing effective courses for our students, so awards such as this are recognition that we’re doing the right things and teaching in ways that make a difference in our students’ lives.”

One of his students reflects Lim’s success in doing so: “No other professor I have ever had has worked this hard to create a great community for all his students.”