Dacota Liska

Doctoral Student


Teaching Philosophy: The Professor PIKA Philosophy


I believe that an exceptional teacher dedicated to providing the best long term learning must be Passionate, Innovative, Kindly, and Adaptive. Professor PIKA is:


Students thrive off of positive energy. To maximize the success of students, a teacher must be passionate about the topic area and students’ success and learning. A passionate teacher brings out the best in students by cutting through unstimulating monotone lectures.


An innovative classroom serves two significant purposes. First, students represent the future managers and leaders in our world. By showing students how a classroom can be innovative and introducing students to innovative ideas and technology, I am better preparing students for success in an ever-changing world. Second, student engagement with classroom material is enhanced through innovation. Exposing students to innovative experiences such as an escape room or web development via a real blog post online necessitates student engagement. In turn, this engagement is a driver of student success both in the classroom and in students’ future endeavors.


Kindness, in my opinion, is an under-appreciated trait among college teachers. A student who sees his teacher as kind is more likely to approach the professor when struggling but also when they have a cool thought they would like to share. A kind teacher can still challenge their students to ensure maximum learning. Yet, they do so while providing a warm, comfortable classroom environment.


Learning is never a straightforward journey. It is a maze full of success, failure, and, most importantly, fun. An adaptive teacher is always prepared to change an entire lecture or cover an essential topic in a different order to maximize time when students are especially excited about a topic or having difficulty understanding an important idea. While successful teaching starts with a strong plan and a well thought out classroom design, successful learning, however, often requires a teacher to be comfortable recreating their plan on the go.

While the PIKA philosophy’s elements are important, they are best viewed as complementary.

I express excitement, passion, and positivity to my students. My goal is to electrify their interest in the topic and encourage them to truly care about learning. I always encourage my students to step out of their comfort zone and take a chance at answering a difficult question. Yet, I do so while providing a warm, caring environment. It is important for my students to understand that each and every question is relevant and that they should feel completely comfortable asking any kind of question. As a researcher, I understand that the desire to question is at the heart of an inquisitive mind.

I believe in changing up the classroom environment to keep students excited and engaged; thus, my classroom focuses on a balance of lectures with class activities, examples, and topic relevant games and competitions built in. I draw upon my adaptive nature to spring up group activities to keep my class engaged. I am a master of adaptive learning. I am interested in my students’ needs and adapt the class to fit changing needs and desires. Furthermore, when my classroom is excited about a particular topic, I encourage the students to explore that topic and fit it into the classroom material. I am always willing to adapt in the moment and change a topic/classroom plan for my students’ benefit.

The Professor PIKA Philosophy thrives because of its emphasis on engaging assignments. In my class, students rarely see a multiple-choice or fill in the blank question. Instead, I test my students’ knowledge through case studies designed specifically for undergraduate students. With the help of my industry and consulting experience and that of my industry connections, these case studies bring a fresh perspective to the classroom. They are designed to encourage students to adapt their knowledge learned in class to real-life scenarios. I also require students to create blog posts to encourage out of classroom learning and expand upon the topics that interest them most. Finally, I culminate my classroom experience with an Escape Room scenario to help students expand their understanding of course concepts and provide an exciting and memorable experience to solidify classroom topics for long term memory retrieval.

Continuous Development and Learning

As a teacher focused on innovating the classroom, I am dedicated to learning and expanding outside my comfort zone to find unique solutions to do so. For example, as a new teacher, I was determined to test the waters and try an array of new items during my first year of teaching. During my first class, I introduced a single case study and a “tutorial” in which students created a “how to” video about a digital marketing topic. Alternatively, in my summer class taught online at USF St. Petersburg, I took the traditional route of teaching students via lecture and exams because I was added as a teacher to the class only a few weeks before it started.

For my physical class, I discovered that while the students were effective in creating awesome tutorials, there was no encouragement to share those tutorials with other students. As such, starting in Fall 2019, I changed the tutorial assignment to become “Blog Posts.” This change was an absolute success! Now, students create tutorials for digital marketing but in public blog posts that other students interact with. In addition, they gain valuable experience using a content management system and learning how the backend of web development works. This activity turned out to be an excellent way to improve student-driven teaching and learning.

For my online class in Marketing Management, I discovered that students feel disconnected and express concerns about learning when presented with a traditional method of teaching. I view this class as a learning experience to show that, for an online class, students need extra encouragement to become engaged in the material and truly learn. The facilitation of this class led me to create an online based escape room that I used both in my physical Digital Marketing class and in my half-online Digital Marketing class in April 2020 (due to Covid-19). If you have never been to an escape room, it is a simple concept. You are ‘locked’ into a room and are required to solve puzzles to unlock clues and escape before a specified time limit expires. Implementing the escape room for my class was an absolute success. I found the escape room to be an excellent way to engage students with the course content and give them a lasting memory that will help them remember key points of digital marketing in the long term.