Bill Thomas

What work experiences have shaped your professional growth?

While earning a Masters of Arts in Teaching from The University of Chicago, I worked at a small high school on the south side of Chicago. This experience developed a belief that I've carried with me throughout my professional career:

It is more important to focus on learning than on teaching.

By this, I mean that the needs and interests of students and/or adult learners — combined with the ability to recognize if someone is actually learning — are the things that are actually important when it comes to education. Anyone can teach or profess. The real test is to be able to ensure someone learns. Later, as a public school administrator, I was trained in both strategic planning and the practice of Total Quality Management. These experiences prepared me to assist organizations and businesses to identify their learning needs and design curricula and courses to effectively do so.

What is your favorite project and why?

A favorite course is the First Sergeant's Academy, dealing with domestic violence. The challenge was to take a series of video-taped lectures and PowerPoint presentations and transition them into an effective online learning experience. In the process, we created a series of multi-media case studies in which learners practiced identifying and dealing with domestic violence situations.

Are there ways your personal life complements your professional strengths?

In both my personal and professional life, I have a keen interest in organizing and designing situations and experiences that help people learn.