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Geoff Malleck: Reflection and Relevance

Geoff Malleck

Geoff Malleck, Department of Economics

Written by Sophie Twardus, Special Projects (Teaching Stories), CTE. 

Principles of Entrepreneurship, Green Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship Principles and Practices. One does not have to look very hard to see a pattern in the courses that Geoff Malleck teaches. If there are two things Malleck is passionate about, they are teaching and entrepreneurship.

Malleck is no stranger to entrepreneurship, having taken up the family business straight out of high school. He's had his fair share of good and bad experiences when it comes to running a business. Accordingly, he brings a lot of life experience and personal stories into his classroom. From a pedagogical perspective, this is especially effective as humans are hardwired to think in stories. Researchers at Washington and Lee University showed that incorporating stories into the classroom improves learning.

Self-reflection is also an important part of Malleck's teaching practice. It is necessary to foster deep learning and lasting changes to a person's understanding of the world. Accordingly, in his entrepreneurship courses Malleck asks his students to create an ePortfolio -- that is, an online repository of a their achievements and self-reflection on their learning journey. The ePortfolio differs from a resume in that it is a more honest portrayal of self. Student have to include a personal reflection in which they highlight their strengths as well as weaknesses. An ePortfolio is useful tool for students to get a better understanding of their learning progress.

Malleck has been teaching non-stop since 1997. “I don’t get tired," he says. "I'm as energized as ever!” It's evident that Malleck brings an abundance of enthusiasm to everything he does. “I could never teach a course I didn’t believe was important.” Gowsie Gowribalan, a student in Malleck's course, agrees: "All of the material in Professor Malleck's classroom could be applied to real life.” Gowribalan adds that if he were to sum up Malleck's teaching in one word it would be this: “relevant.”

One of the ways that Malleck encourages students to be entrepreneurial is by having his office door open. He always has time to give guidance to students interested in starting a business. So far he has encouraged over 120 start-ups. “To be inspiring is really one of the bigger joys of my job. Having someone approach me for help is really gratifying.”

Outside of the classroom, Malleck works closely with the President of the University to promote entrepreneurship on campus as part of the Waterloo’s strategic plan.


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CTE has developed more than 100 Teaching Tips. Each one is a succinct document that conveys useful ideas and practical methods for effective teaching. Some of the Teaching Tips that are relevant to the strategies mentioned in this Teaching Story include the following:

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