Each year Teachers College (TC) honors a few of our outstanding alumni with awards that celebrate the impact that they have on their community, field, and the TC family.
Mitchell Springer – Teachers College Career Achievement Award Winner
Mitchell Springer is the recipient of a Teachers College Career Achievement Award. He graduated from Ball State in 1991 with a master’s degree in Business Administration and followed it up by earning an EdD in Adult and Community Education from Teachers College in 1995.
What made you want to earn a degree in education?
I wanted to add breadth to my prior degrees. My undergrad was in Computer Science. My MBA provided breadth beyond CS. My Doctorate provided additional breadth beyond all previous degrees. It’s attendant to the old adage, “the more you learn, the more you realize how much more there is to learn”.
As well, I absolutely love to teach. To this end, I thought a degree with a foundation in teaching would prove useful in raising my skills.
What made you choose Ball State?
Ball State was, and is, extremely credible in the two disciplines of my degrees.
Do you have a favorite part of your time at Ball State? What do you look back on and remember fondly?
I loved Ball State. I was not a traditional student. I drove to campus 3 to 4 times per week from Fort Wayne. The drives to Ball State provided an opportunity to reflect on where I had been, where I was, and where I wanted to be.
As well, I remember the faculty who were so very instrumental in helping me to graduate. Dr. Wood was my chair. They all were extremely knowledgeable and conscientious.
Is there anything else you would like to add about your time at Ball State? Any fun projects you worked on? Favorite class/professor/experience?
The faculty were my most memorable part of my classes. Dr. Murk, Dr. Wood, and so many others.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out at Ball State?
We don’t know where our lives may take us. But, education, the more the better, provides opportunities that would not normally otherwise be available. Coming from an extremely poor upbringing, and as a first-generation college student, education was my way out of poverty.
Can you tell me a little about your career?
My career has been amazing! In my nearly 30 years in business/industry, I transitioned from software engineering to software systems engineering, to systems engineering, to program/project management, to human resources, then back to engineering with business responsibilities for operations and strategic initiatives across two businesses. Then, after joining Purdue University, we took a newly created online programs profit/loss center from being in the red to a projected $10M per year. As well, during this same period, with the Dean, I co-led the transformation of a college. It has been an extremely packed adventure across two entirely different environments; business/industry and subsequently higher education.
Twice retired. Once from Raytheon defense Systems, second time from Purdue University.
Currently a professor of (1) Program/Project Management, and (2) Diversity Leadership. Both taught at the Doctoral level. Both classes are based on my books below:
Springer, M. L. (2023). Project and Program Management: A Competency-Based Approach. 5th ed. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press.
Springer, M. L. (2023). Why Don’t You Like Me? Unconscious Bias and the Changing Mosaic of Our Nation. Lafayette, IN: Niche Pressworks. Revised Edition.
What is your favorite part of working in education?
I love to teach! I also love to research and write. My research feeds my scholarship, which feeds my teaching. Teaching then feeds my research and the circle continues.
Do you have any hobbies, or favorite things you do to relax that you would like to share?
Travel and Ball Room Dance. The attendant pictures are from Alaska, the Grand Canyon, and our waltz dip in Walt Disney World.
Fun fact about yourself:
I am a nerd and proud of it. I have told by many that I am extremely positive, and if I error it is on the side of being overly optimistic.
Is there anything else you would like to add? Anything you would like to share about your career, or family? How you felt when you found out that you won the award?
When I was notified that I had been awarded the Career Achievement Award I was, and still am, tremendously humbled and honored; nearly to tears. I felt like my life’s work, had been somehow recognized. What an honor!