Meet MSUM’s new Assistant Professor in the School of Teaching & Learning, Barry Olson. He is excited to create effective teachers for future classrooms!

Start date: August 26, 2019

Q: What drew you to MSUM?
A: I was retired as of June 1 from my K-12 industry of 26 years. I was not looking for a job. MSUM came and asked if I wanted to teach. So, I did an interview and I liked what I heard and here I was, three weeks before school started.

Q: What’s one thing that has surprised you about MSUM?
A: Two things that surprise me. One is the openness of everybody on staff and the MSUM community to reach out and help when you have questions and the open arms of “What kind of assistance do you need?” and “What can we do to help you get things rolling in the right direction?” And then the other thing that surprised me was the diversity of this campus. They really focus on diversity, which I’m very pleased about because that’s what our world is all about is diversity. And, MSUM, I’ve gotten the impression that they really focus on creating a diverse community.

Q: What’s your go-to productivity trick?
A: Throughout my K-12 teaching, it was always to try and find out who my students were, and then how I could direct them in a path that would create continued learning and a desire to learn outside what I call the box and not just be satisfied with what you know or what you think you know, but step outside and take some risks and see what else is out there. Because you might find that by stepping outside the box, all of a sudden it opens up a whole other set of doors that you can then venture into.

Q: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
A: I’m an extreme sports guy, so I’ve done a lot of things. I suppose probably for most people it’s skydiving, jumping out of a plane.  It’s a whole different world when you’re floating down from a parachute at 10,000 feet and you’re just enjoying the view.

Q: What do you do to turn things around when you’re having a bad day?
A: I guess the thing I look at most is my grandpa taught me a couple of things back when I was 18, 19 years of age. He said “Grandson, number one, it’s a good day when you get up out of bed and you’re horizontal, you’re not vertical, and take a look in the mirror and smile because it doesn’t matter what you look like, it’s a good day because you’re up and moving.”

Welcome to the #DragonFamily, Barry. We’re happy you’re here!