Entrepreneurially Teaching

Piano keyboard with a computer and headphones

An Eastern arts expert masters the business case study.

By Eastern Magazine

Jonathan Middleton, a professor of music at EWU, is a champion of the fine arts. He is not, strictly speaking, a business person. But after a recent conference he may need to update his CV.

Jonathan Middleton
Jonathan Middleton

In September, Middleton and Jeff Culver, an information systems and business analytics lecturer, attended a three-day clinic at the University of Tampa designed to help them take advantage of a program called the “experiential classroom.” The idea behind the experiential classroom clinic was to help scholars to develop creative and innovative ways to teach entrepreneurship and develop entrepreneurship programs.

The attendees from EWU are developing curriculum for the new bachelor of arts in music technology and entrepreneurship degree at Eastern, a collaboration between the Music Department and the College of Business.

On day one of the program, Middleton found himself in unfamiliar territory: tasked with teaching a business-related class. “Nothing more daunting for a music teacher,” he says. But Middleton figured he could get by with focusing on the fundamentals of pedagogy, an area he knows well after more than 20 years at EWU.

“There has to be a common place where all great teaching starts—no matter what the subject is,” Middleton explains. “In my music classes, I ask a lot of questions and this creates engagement with students; it draws them in and draws out solutions to problems. In this manner, the students claim some ownerships and they become more attached to the learning process.”

The next day, Middleton and his peers taught a 45-minute business case study. The team placed first among the 14 groups taking part in the workshop. “While I did not know the subject matter, I did know how to structure an engaging classroom experience. That paid off,” he says.