I first shared this idea in an online seminar (Cassidy, 2012). See a link to it in Some recent workshops, and watch for publication called Craft the first 15 minutes of your course to ignite student interest based on the session of the same name that I led at the 2016 conference of the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE)
Craft your enthusiasm statement: Consider this as the first thing you say on the first day of your course. How to create this? Consider your answer to one of the following questions:
How did you first get interested?
Who are the leading scholars?
What are some burning questions?
What great thing will students leave with?
Examples: Shared by colleagues who have taken part in my workshops on this topic (names used with permission)
Example 1: How do you envision your job as an accountant? Are you locked in a cubicle with a calculator? Or are you involved with multiple departments in the company, going to meetings and becoming an integral part of the business. Gone are the days of bean counters and 10-keys. Accountants today are no longer chained to desks. We are at the forefront of the company’s activities. You are the manager at a big-box store or a clerk at the local manufacturer. I wanted to be an accountant for a rock star…..With accounting you can own your own business. Anything is possible. So what do you want to do when you grow up? Let’s see how accounting fits into your dream.
Example 2: I brought a type machine showing my students how I started when I was a journalist student…they were amazed! And quite interested to learn more about the impact of technology in media
Example 3: While piloting a non-credit course on leadership for current and prospective supervisors I wanted to promote the best workers to be supervisors and never train them on their new responsibilities and required skills. I’m trying to plug that gap. So here is how I started:
“When I first got promoted to supervisor, I was thrilled and scared at the same time. I was thrilled to be recognized as a contributor and to take the next step in my career. But I was scared because I didn’t know how to be a supervisor. I had taken some management classes in college, but they focused on theories rather than on day-to-day do’s and don’ts. I needed a class on what really works, and what doesn’t work, in the jungle. What is expected of me? What should I do first? Will my relationship with my boss change now that I’m a supervisor? How can I “motivate” people? How do I decide what to delegate, and how do I do that? How do I handle “difficult” employees? What other skills do I need–e.g., decision-making, negotiation, goal-setting, problem-solving, presentations, leading meetings? How do I hire people? How do I fire them?
This is the class that I needed thirty years ago. I had to learn by making tons of mistakes. Maybe together, we can learn how to avoid some of those mistakes.”
Dave Heth, Director of Financial Affairs, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville