Faculty Spotlight: Ann Saurbier, D.M., Management

It’s been said that the best way to understand someone else’s experience is to “walk a mile in their shoes.” As a double Walsh alumna, Ann Saurbier, D.M., is uniquely able to do just that. Dr. Saurbier, Chair and Professor of Walsh’s Management Department, earned both her Master of Science in Management and Doctor of Management in Executive Leadership from Walsh.

The Path to Walsh

Even her arrival at Walsh was similar to that of many students. Dr. Saurbier holds an undergraduate degree in accounting and began working in automotive accounting, but her interest in organizational dynamics influenced her early career. “I always wanted to be part of a company, rather than an outside auditor, which is why I made very specific professional decisions,” said Dr. Saurbier. Over time, she knew she wanted to make a change in her career but needed additional business education to make that move. Dr. Saurbier chose Walsh because of its reputation and described her experience. “My classes were small and faculty were dedicated professionals, committed to sharing their knowledge and experience, and helping us succeed. I was always challenged to do my very best work and I made great connections while I was a student here.”

In fact, Dr. Saurbier was eventually invited to join the Walsh faculty, and that gives her a true connection to her own students today. “I remember what it was like to balance work and school, and how busy I was,” she said. “I have experienced and had to solve some of the same challenges my students are facing.”

The Value of Real-World Experience

Dr. Saurbier’s experience working in a broad range of industries including automotive, legal, and higher education gave her unique insight that she used to develop and launch two new academic programs at Walsh, the Bachelor of Science in Applied Management (BSAM) and the Master of Science in Organizational Leadership (MSOL).

The BSAM gives people with an associate of applied science the core business knowledge they need to move into management or advance in their careers. “The BSAM enhances a student’s industry and technical experience with the business knowledge and skills needed to succeed in a global business environment,” said Dr. Saurbier. “It offers expanded career options for what were once considered more singular career paths.”

The MSOL was created in response to the reality that strong leadership is critical to the success of all organizations in all industries. “People say that leaders are born. That is a limiting statement and a myth,” said Dr. Saurbier. “Leaders are not born, they are made. The MSOL provides the knowledge necessary to strategically lead through organizational change. Just as importantly, it helps students recognize and build on the leadership skills they already possess.”

Collaboration in the Classroom

Dr. Saurbier also recognizes the value of the exchange of ideas between faculty and students. “Higher education used to be a one-way transfer of knowledge from ‘the sage on the stage’ but today there has been a shift,” she said, “The role of faculty is now often ‘the guide on the side.’ Our students bring their own experience to the classroom, and by sharing and collaborating, this is where new knowledge and a deeper level of understanding is created every day in the classroom.”

It’s those kinds of “a-ha” moments that Dr. Saurbier finds most rewarding in her teaching. “Sometimes you can literally see the transformation in a student’s face, which is so wonderful,” she said. “I know how hard my students work, and it is gratifying to see their growth over a semester.”

A Commitment to Excellence

Dr. Saurbier also serves as a peer reviewer for the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). Accreditation is the quality control process in higher education, much like ISO9000 in business. It serves to ensure that both the content and delivery of instruction is not only at the highest levels of quality, but also that there is continuous improvement to ensure the most valuable educational experience possible for students. She recently shared her experience creating a credential review process at Walsh at the annual global ACBSP conference.

Why Walsh?

When asked what keeps her at Walsh, Dr. Saurbier smiled. “For me, it’s about the students. I truly enjoy my time in the classroom – whether that’s an online classroom or on ground. The literature today talks about co-creating knowledge and not only do I think that’s an apt description of what all faculty do here at Walsh, for me that’s really my goal – creating an environment where everyone can learn from each other … me included. And getting to see my students grow as professionals over the course of their time with me is really the best part of my job.”

For more information about Walsh degrees, visit www.walshcollege.edu/future-students

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