Five minutes with Gina Vega

Scott Andrews a Senior Lecturer in Leadership and Work Based Learning and has been a workshop tutor for The Case Centre since 1996

Who has been the biggest inspiration to you?

John Heath

As a case teacher and writer I was inspired by my mentor John Heath (author of Teaching & Writing Cases). John was a keen practitioner of the case method and was inspirational in the classroom regardless of the level of experience of the learner. He also introduced me to the views and beliefs of Professor Malcolm McNair - a legendary Harvard professor and advocate of the case method. It was John who shared with me Malcolm’s insistence on the importance of using the case method to foster ‘a willing suspension of disbelief’ through which individuals can confront and confess issues in relation to the case and from which they can learn lessons that they can take back to their real worlds ‘once the playing is over.’  (A quote that I later discovered originated from Shakespeare!)

Why do you believe the case method is so powerful and so adaptable for different types of courses and audiences worldwide?

Albert Einstein quote I have personally seen eyes opening to the endless possibilities of management and leadership learning through the case method, as I have delivered case workshops in over 30 countries across the world. The guiding principle here is that everyone likes a good story, and when a story is communicated well, it opens doors to the imagination (I think Einstein had a lot to say on the Power of Imagination!). So, the opportunities for unpacking a journey of discovery and reflection through the telling of a good story, with careful group facilitation, are consistently viable regardless of experience, culture, tradition and geopolitical context.

Why do you believe cases should be used more widely with undergraduates?

When I first started delivering case workshops, around 20 years ago, some people would tell me that cases ought to be the preserve of the post-experience learner, and are unsuitable for undergraduate learning. In fact, a paper from Harvard strongly supports this view1. However, that paper was written in 1940, well before the invention of the internet and the more recent explosion of digital learning experiences that flood the minds of our undergraduates today. This means that today’s undergraduate learners have a wealth of resources available to them to enable them, like the post-experience learner, to embark on journeys of discovery with the case method. 

voyage of discovery The difference, however, is that these journeys often require a different attitude to facilitation on the part of the case tutor. My former mentor, John Heath, used to refer to himself as a ‘learning facilitator on a voyage of discovery.’ The role of the undergraduate facilitator is to ensure that the ‘voyage’ is provided with an approach that is suitable to the developmental level of the learner, and this may require certain adaptations to the more traditional approaches undertaken by case tutors with post-experience learners.

If you could be transported into another profession for one week, which would you choose, and why?

I’d be on the NASA Mars expedition programme (but only for a week)  I’m not sure I’d be up for the three year one-way journey but, hey I’m a child of the 70’s, endlessly pursuing the quests of astronauts. Space travel was a big deal for us kids in those days!

How do you relax?

Woman with question marks I’m a family man so I love hanging out with my children in my spare time. We play guitar together or catch movies, or just put the world back in good working order over a cup of good coffee!

Do you have a favourite quote or guiding principle?

I once asked a Harvard professor for the ‘silver bullet’ to all my teaching and learning challenges and he told me he had The Answer: he said the answer to any question that my business and management students might throw at me is always…. ‘It depends!’  Now it’s only a case of trying to figure …’on WHAT does it depend?!’

Scott Andrews is a Senior Lecturer in Leadership and Work Based Learning. He is the Head of Department for Marketing and Strategy at the University of Worcester’s Business School. A keen case writer, Scott has published several cases and teaching notes. He runs an educational training consultancy practice and has been a workshop tutor for The Case Centre since 1996, delivering over 120 workshops worldwide.

Scott is chairing an Inspiration Day - Undergraduates and Cases: Transform your Teaching, for The Case Centre on 2 June 2017 in London. Find out more >

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1 Gragg (1940) Because Wisdom Can't be Told. Reference no. 9-451-005.

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