Teacher features: Dr. Argaez and Dr. Roberts

Dr. Juan Argaez has been teaching economics at Mercyhurst College for four years. He came to Mercyhurst with an educational background in Business Administration from the Universidad del Mayab in Me’rida, Yucatan and Social Science from Edinboro University.

While beginning to teach at Mercyhurst, Argaez finished his Ph.D., earning a degree in Economics from the University of Notre Dame. While at Mercyhurst, in collaboration with Dr. Yalcindag, Argaez has pioneered an economics minor by developing new courses that apply to the study.

Argaez believes that “economics is real life, and making the applications of economics fun helps students to recognize its importance.”

To do this, Argaez employs the use of newspapers and video clips. These methods help show students an economic model and also explain its meaning.

For Argaez, it is easy to have fun in the classroom. He says that “most students I have encountered are respectful and make an effort to do their best. I laugh almost every day in the classroom.”

Senior psychology major Jemma Homer said that “the classroom environment was fun and light, but I was always able to learn a great deal, and no second of class time ever seemed wasted.”

Because economics is offered as a core class, Argaez believes that part of his job is to get non-majors interested in the applicability of economics to everyday life.

“If you can learn it, you can carry it with you for the rest of your life,” he said.

Dr. Leanne Roberts teaches education courses at Mercyhurst College. Her educational background includes 10 years of primary education and corporate education. She has taught at Mercyhurst and at the University of Akron.

Roberts believes that “regardless of age, teaching comes through engagement and motivation.” These two aspects of teaching can be accomplished through a teacher’s communication with the classroom.

While a class is not expected to know everything about a topic, a student must work and be prepared to respond to subject matter through engaging in a class. For most students, college is a four-year process, an opportunity to evolve through experience. Roberts has found that the Mercyhurst recognizes the effectiveness of quality teaching and sees this effectiveness as a responsibility to the students.

Roberts believes that good teachers must be aware of using themselves as an educational tool.

“A teacher must be liked and able to convey content matter at a comfortable level for students,” Roberts said. The keys to teaching fall within three primary goals: to be friendly, have firm responsibility, and be fair and understanding to students.

“She really knows what she is talking about and does a great job of translating it for her students through relaying her experiences. We not only learn educational theories, but how to apply them in the classroom,” sophomore Early Childhood and Elementary Education major Jen Grisnik said.

For Roberts, knowing how to teach is also knowing how best to learn, which requires educational effort.

“At Mercyhurst, teaching is a top priority. Both teachers and students must be professional and accountable for education and personal success,” Roberts said.