In her words (March 2013). My name is Melissa Becker. I have been teaching at CWU since 2005. Prior to that, I was a partner in the Business Consulting practice of Arthur Anderson in Houston, Texas, then a vice president at Enron Corp., also in Houston.
My husband, Winston Norrish, teaches geology at CWU. We have two boys and live in Cle Elum. I have five dogs, three horses, and two cats, and I enjoy all sorts of outdoor sports, including running, hiking, alpine and Nordic skiing, and horseback riding. Now that I am ….older…, my activities are moderate in intensity, but I once ran a marathon in 2:58 (a 6:49 pace for 26.2 miles)!
My teaching style (in my opinion) reflects “real life.” The level of success a student achieves depends primarily on two factors: ability and effort. A student who is smart and works hard will get an A. Students that work hard but aren’t as smart, or students that are smart but put forth relatively little effort, get Bs and Cs. The grading of my assignments and tests is totally objective. I give students the information they need in order to succeed, but what they do with that information is up to them.
Like running a marathon or succeeding in school, career success depends on ability, hard work, and, maybe, some luck. An employer is looking for an employee that (1) is smart and (2) works hard. While a student’s grades may or may not reflect the truth about the student’s capabilities, grades are one of the few measures available to employers who are evaluating potential employees. I’ve heard the expression “C for a degree.” While it’s true that Cs can earn you a degree, those Cs may not earn you a job! They may not even earn you an interview.
My boss at Arthur Andersen was a role model for a successful business person. He was smart, he worked hard, and he always had a positive attitude and a smile on his face. He had the utmost integrity and he believed in people. Because of this he had a loyal following of employees and clients. When Arthur Andersen was bankrupted following the demise of Enron, he went on to even greater career success with barely a hiccup.
I’m proud of many things that I have accomplished in my life. I often tell people how lucky I am. But I also believe in the expression, “the harder I work, the luckier I get.”