By Tara Erwin
William Weeks, M.S. brings his real-life experience to the classroom as he prepares professionals for their future business and organizational leadership positions as Medaille’s clinical associate professor and chair of the Management Leadership Program. For over 30 years [at General Moters’ Powertrain Division] he specialized in quality management and statistical training, organizational leadership and development. He was also a corporate trainer and consultant for 10 years.
“My favorite part of being in the classroom is seeing the faces of students who now possibly see the world differently,” said Weeks. “Hopefully I can convey some bit of knowledge that students did not know before they got to class.” He also loves discussing this new knowledge with the students and exploring how they would apply it in their organizations, as well as how it would be received.
It might be safe to assume his extensive background in teaching and consulting in a corporate setting would have easily transferred to academia, but according to Weeks, who has been a full time faculty member since 2001, he took a turn as the student at first.
“The transition to teaching at Medaille was not seamless as one could guess, but I did have a background in teaching adults and this helped,” he said. “It gave me some experience on how to handle the adult learner and how to engage and make use of their experiences that are often not my own, but nevertheless very useful.”
Medaille’s Organizational Leadership Program prepares hopeful and existing business leaders for how to best utilize their companies’ human and physical resources while maintaining various organizational cultures. It focuses on teaching students how to best manage people, plans, and projects.
Weeks cited his favorite courses to teach as Organizational Behavior and Systems Thinking & The Learning Organization.He said they appeal to him because “both challenge traditional thinking and acting in organizations.” As for his favorite formula to use, it’s (XBar +/- 2.66 Avg.MR) for calculating upper and lower control limits for an Individual X & Moving Range control chart. “Defining common cause and special cause variation is crucial to making the right managerial decisions,” he said.
In a time rife with CEOs accused of Ponzi schemes, insider trading, and mismanaging funds, Weeks’ views on what makes a good leader are surprisingly uncomplicated, referencing writer, professor, and professional consultant Peter Drucker’s definition of a leader as simply someone who has followers. “I think this is right, especially if you understand all the necessary reasons why leaders have good followers,” he said. “I think the idea of service is key to have committed followers. Certainly integrity and honesty are part of the definition,” he said.
This avid traveler and golfer has a sentimental side as well, despite a long and successful career in the corporate sector. He says his most rewarding moments teaching at Medaille center around his students and their newfound knowledge.
“Anytime a student thanks me for being a useful or challenging influence on him or her is extremely gratifying,” he said. “This is especially true when a student says the nature and direction of his or her questions is now different.”
As one of Medaille’s most well-liked and respected instructors, the mere mention of Professor Weeks’ name brings exclamations of delight and fond memories from current and former students.
“Bill Weeks is one of the most intellectually captivating men I have ever been around. His real-world experience and comprehensive teachings proved to be invaluable in my education. I consider myself lucky to have been a student of his.” – Eric Barbera ’12
“I have him [Bill Weeks] right now. He’s one of the best instructors I’ve ever had.” – Jeffrey Gramlich ’10 ’12
“For me, the best thing about Bill Weeks was he always told you how it was! No sugarcoating, no fluff , no soft rhetorical or theoretical replies. Just good old-fashioned, proven, practical answers rooted in real world experience.” – Anthony Cimorelli ’08
“Best professor I’ve ever had. He was always able to incorporate real life examples into his teaching. Simply put, he’s the best.” – James Blachowicz ’09
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