The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) recognized Business Instructor Chris Ripley, of Waldorf, with the college’s 2021 Adjunct Faculty Excellence Award. The honor, which was presented prior to CSM’s Winter Commencement on Jan. 13, 2022, is given yearly to an adjunct faculty for outstanding achievement in classroom teaching, contributions both to their department and the college, professional development, and community commitment.
“With 15 years teaching as an adjunct at CSM and 20 years of retail management experience, Chris provides our students with an incredible amount of practical experience for learning,” said CSM Provost and Division of Learning Vice President Dr. Rodney Redmond. “Chris is deserving of the Adjunct Faculty Award because of his dedication to CSM and our students. He has improved our courses in the Business Department through his breadth and depth of expertise. He is a friendly and congenial person who is always available to do what is needed to either teach a class, support course development or transition a class into a new delivery mode.”
Ripley was nominated for recognition by CSM Business Department Professor Mary Beth Klinger, Ph.D. “Chris Ripley is a local business owner in Charles County who has been teaching a variety of business and marketing courses as adjunct faculty with CSM for well over a decade,” she wrote in her nomination form. “He is well-liked and respected by his students in all three counties because he offers real-world expertise and application to each class he teaches.”
Ripley said he was excited and humbled to hear the news of his selection. He shared that in his 15 years as an adjunct professor at the College of Southern Maryland he’s taught many students of all ages, ethnicities, and interests and he said he feels he has been able to reach them all, assuring they all leave with knowledge and skills they will find valuable in their further academic pursuits or in their life.
“My intent as a teacher is to hopefully give my students information they remember for the rest of their lives,” he explained. “I think back in my college days and one of the things I learned at UVA was a relaxation exercise that I’ve used my whole life. I think of that and want to have that kind of impact on somebody.”
An example of‘ real-life tools’ he’s recently given involved teaching his Beginning Business students about how economic and political environments impact business.
“Last semester we talked about inflation and what is causing it,” Ripley shared. “Students need to understand the truth in our world and not necessarily the finger-pointing and blaming they see in the media or on social media. Inflation is a supply and demand issue. No one person is driving the prices up or down. There is no one person to blame. We weren’t driving because of the pandemic in 2020 and the price of gas went down. We are driving again and now the price is going up. When it comes to inflation, we are all to blame.”
As with the rest of the faculty, staff, and students, Ripley said he too adjusted quickly to the remote learning environment required by the early onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“My familiarity with the online training environment made this very easy,” he said. “I have been doing webinars since 2006 so using Zoom was not an issue for me. I understand the online learning environment and I’m able to use the tools effectively. We did group projects during classes on Zoom. Our book offered Jeopardy-type practice quizzes and we used those for every chapter to add some fun to the learning. I encouraged engagement and the students responded.”
One of his students shared this about Ripley in a college survey, “Professor Ripley did a great job at relating real-world problems with class material. I loved showing up to class because he made it easy to understand subjects.”.
“I may not be an expert in learning theories and pedagogy,” Ripley said. “I know students generally want to learn. If you can make the material interesting, they are more likely to engage. If you can show them the value in what they are learning, they will be more responsive. If you can teach them skills they can use for years to come, they will remember the value of the time they spent in my class and CSM.”
Ripley founded the Strategic Marketing Group in 2003 with the goal of helping businesses achieve better results from their marketing and advertising. After many years in sales and marketing, he knew there was an opportunity in the market for him to help businesses separate themselves from the competition and increase sales and profits. To add to his marketing toolbox and broaden his creative services to his customer, Ripley is currently taking an Art Appreciation class. “I am a photographer and I want to learn to be a better photographer so I am studying other people’s view of things,” he shared.
Ripley earned a B.A. in Economics from the University of Virginia and received his master’s in Management from the University of Maryland University College. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland Global Campus, teaching leadership, customer service, marketing, human resources, and economics. He is the past president of the Kiwanis Club of La Plata, Maryland, and former president of the Board of Directors of the United Way of Charles County.