Student Becomes Teacher Becomes Mentor
For Anthony Mirando, Ph.D., associate professor of construction management, student success is his No. 1 motivator.
“What drew me to teaching is when I help other people succeed,” Mirando said. “That feeling of helping someone like that is different, and then seeing them get a job, have a career, and do well, I found that to be more rewarding than building buildings.”
Mirando is driven in the classroom because his teaching philosophy is based on respect. He stays on top of his industry, and his enthusiasm and support for students is noticed and appreciated. So much so, students nominated him for an award.
Mirando is one of three recipients of the Outstanding Teaching Award. This is the highest honor for full-time, non-tenure track and part-time faculty members. They are nominated by students for being among the most dedicated, highly effective and motivated professors at Kent State University.
Mirando’s approach to teaching is heavily based on equity and respect for students as he helps them strive for success. He wants them to feel like everyone has a seat at the table and everyone is treated with mutual respect.
“My biggest value is making sure that everybody is really comfortable, heard and acknowledged,” Mirando said. “We are peers. You’re a professional and a grown-up, I am here to help you.”
Mirando also wants to lead by example. He says that when he shows enthusiasm in the classroom, students reflect it back, becoming more engaged in class.
A love for the complexities and constant change of construction management radiates off Mirando while he teaches. He notes that this shines through in his professional development work.
“I am constantly on the front edge,” Mirando said. “When you’re in a practitioner-based program, it is constantly changing, I'm constantly reading and growing my network. My goal is to bring that into the classroom and share it with them.”
Students notice and appreciate this frontline knowledge.
“He is always extremely eager to share as much of his experiences with us to aid in our own understanding of the built environment,” a student nominee wrote. “He helps us explore different avenues that we may not have been exposed to yet.”
Mirando credits his success to senior lecturer Joe Karpinski, a professor Mirando had when he was a Kent State student. Mirando says Karpinski, who was a 2016 Outstanding Teaching Award recipient, taught him everything he knows. Mirando said he intentionally carried those teaching values into his classroom once Karpinski brought him back as a professor.
“We want students to be ethical, and we want them to be good people,” Mirando said. “I'm an alumnus, and ‘Flashes Take Care of Flashes.’ I believe in it, and I extend this to everyone. I'm always looking to help somebody, and I'm hoping that we put people out there who are good.”
Mirando and the other recipients were honored Oct. 20 at the University Teaching Council’s Fall Celebration of Teaching Conference. His award was accepted by his wife at the ceremony.