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Associated Alumni

Excellence in the classroom garners professor national recognition

As he walks the halls of the UNB Saint John campus, business professor Emin Civi is rarely without a smile, a cheerful hello or a word of encouragement to students. His enthusiasm and passion for his job shines.

Civi, a native of Turkey, was teaching at Michigan State University for a year as a visiting scholar when he seized on the opportunity to join UNB in 2005. 

He’s never looked back, attracted by what he describes as a “kind and supportive” environment at UNB.

“I’ve always found help when I needed it,” he says. “The whole environment here inspires you to be innovative because you know you’ll get the support and encouragement you need.  This city is a place where I feel safe to do anything I want. I can take risks that help me to grow. That’s why I want my students to have the same kind of environment in the classroom. That they can take risks to lift themselves to another level in their learning.”

Civi has received numerous teaching awards for his innovative teaching methods and his commitment to providing his students with hands-on learning opportunities over the course of his 14 years at UNB. His latest accolade is a 3M National Teaching Fellowship Award.

“I am extremely honoured and pleased to be named as a 3M National Teaching Fellow. I am humbled to be recognized for work that I love doing and value very much,” says Civi. “I am deeply thankful to my students, mentors, colleagues, former teachers, administrators, and my family who have all made this possible. I am excited to join this group of inspiring individuals, with the hope that by sharing our ideas, it will help us to strengthen the culture of teaching excellence at UNB and other institutions.”

In addition to his regular class requirements, Civi has founded a number of programs within the business faculty to propel teaching excellence, spearheaded the launch of a marketing major and created mentorship opportunities for professors.

Providing students with real-world experiential learning opportunities

Civi uses real-life opportunities in the workforce through a variety of experiential techniques to prepare his students for the future. His retailing class is highly interactive and familiarizes students with the steps involved in running a real-life retail firm.

“One of the main components of the class is our retail clinic, says Civi. “Using dedicated class time, students offer consultancy services to a few small and medium-sized Saint John retailers from different industries to help develop creative and effective strategies to stay competitive against giant national retailer. In the clinic, students can apply their knowledge and understanding of retail principles, and see first-hand the issues that retailers face.”

Students are also asked to participate in a mystery shopper program with local restaurants who provide gift cards to students for lunch or dinner. The students dine and make covert observations about the restaurant and write a report, which is shared with the owners.

“Restaurants are very excited to receive in-depth feedback on how they can improve their businesses, and the students really enjoy the experience. It’s a win-win.”

In another class, Civi’s students presented fundraising projects for the Saint John Newcomers Centre, as part of the Fund4NewSkills program with money raised going to support job skills programs for newcomers.

Civi also teaches international marketing and international business at the undergraduate level, as well as international marketing in the MBA program.

He says he is inspired by the belief that better teaching not only helps students, but makes a positive impact on society.

“I believe that if individuals, institutions and businesses are aided in reaching their potential, my city and province will prosper and, in turn, that will provide a better quality of life for everyone. These beliefs have guided me to focus my energy on the goal of bettering university education.”