UWL Professor Brad Dobbs on winning the Delta Sigma Pi Professor of the Semester award


Image obtained from uwlax.edu.

Julia Wille, General Assignment Reporter

Brad Dobbs is a current University of Wisconsin-La Crosse professor. He is a part-time associate lecturer in the business management department. Dobbs said, “Helping students motivates me to teach, I like seeing them progress and grow.” 

Before he came to UWL, Dobbs went to the University of Wisconsin-Stout where he completed his undergraduate degree in graphic communications management. While he was in school, he was in the reserves, when he graduated, he was deployed with the US Marine Core, once in 2004 and a second time in 2008.  

While Dobbs was in-between his deployments, he started going back to school for his MBA at UWL. He continued to take classes during his second deployment and then finished his MBA when he returned. After that, he joined the workforce for a few years until he started teaching at UWL in 2017. He also completed and earned a certificate in E-learning and online teaching from UWS. 

Dobbs is currently a part-time professor at UWL, but he also teaches at Western Tech full time and this semester he teaches one course at Viterbo. At UWL and Viterbo, the main course he teaches is MGT 393 which is production and operations management. At Western Tech he focuses on business and leadership courses.  

Outside of the classroom Dobbs also has a presence in his local communities. He is currently a landlord for a few duplex apartments in the La Crosse area and he also helps manage some properties for other owners. In addition to being a landlord, Dobbs also serves on the Black River Falls school board as vice president. Dobbs currently lives in Black River Falls with his family and said that he wants to be involved in their community and help the district as much as possible. 

Dobbs said that when he was younger, he didn’t imagine himself as a teacher or a professor but after his time in the Marines, he was drawn to the opportunity to teach. He said, “I liked guiding and leading the marines, I thought it sounded interesting to help, it sounded a lot like I would be able to influence people positively and I enjoy helping students.”  

Now after five years of teaching at UWL, many students hold him in high regard. In the fall semester of 2021, he received the Delta Sigma Pi (DSP) professor of the semester award. This is an award that a co-ed professional business fraternity gives out to one professor each semester based on a majority vote of the group.  

In response to receiving this award, Dobbs said, “I was really taken aback and just in awe. I appreciate that students see how much effort I put into the courses and appreciate it.”  

In his classes at UWL Dobbs is known for his colorful PowerPoint slides and his catchphrase of ‘excel is always essential’. Many of his classes have a long waitlist to get a seat into his classes as he becomes more popular with students on campus.  

Dobbs said, “I like trying to connect the theoretical with the real world, with the way that businesses actually operate and making the course work as relevant as possible to students in their future careers.”  

Many of his classes use excel and other tools to help run example problems that students could face in the workforce after graduating. He structures his classes in a way that allows students to understand the concepts but also implement the actions in a real-world scenario giving them an opportunity for hands-on learning.  

Dobbs also discussed what his goal is for himself as he teaches each semester. He said, “I teach operations a lot – every semester I try to pick one section or module to polish and improve, whether it’s the in-class activity or the slides. I try to be critical of my own teaching.”  

In his classes, Dobbs also emphasizes the importance of connections. He often tells his students to try and make as many meaningful connections, with a variety of individuals. He said, “A lot of business is who you know combined with what you know. I have been very purposeful in trying to maintain relationships so when I work someplace, and I like my students to do the same.” He has been known to use some of his connections to help students when they are looking for jobs after they graduate.   

Dobbs said that if he could give every student a piece of advice it would be, “You have to keep learning throughout your entire career and life. The world is rapidly changing and ever-changing and whether its formal education, informal education, or as simple as reading new books by different authors about different ideas, we have to keep learning to be successful in life.”