Chris Christiansen hasn’t set his alarm clock in years. He wakes up early eager to greet students at Berkeley College where he is entering his 16th year of teaching business management courses.
This enthusiasm shows in the classroom. Students describe Mr. Christiansen as "very knowledgeable," "dedicated," and "a class act." One student said that Mr. Christiansen "makes it impossible not to engage in learning because of the way he teaches his classes."
Mr. Christiansen came to the classroom with 20 years of corporate experience, including serving for a time as Manager of Quality Services for Group Health Incorporated and Manager of Industrial Engineering and Internal Consulting for Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield. In addition to Berkeley College he has taught business management classes at Molloy College, Baruch College, and DeVry University.
"When I was young I always wanted to be a teacher, but I chose instead to enter the corporate world," said Mr. Christiansen, who has a BS in Management and an MBA in Executive Management from St. John’s University, NY. "I’m glad I took that path because I draw a lot from my own corporate experiences when teaching classes. I truly believe that makes me a better teacher."
Mr. Christiansen – a prior recipient of Berkeley’s Faculty of the Year Award – appreciates that the College allows faculty to teach a wide selection of management courses.
"It’s not just the standard package with one course leading to another. We offer a lot of electives here," said Mr. Christiansen, who in addition to teaching serves as Assistant Chair, Management, Larry L. Luing School of Business, and Head Coach of the New York men’s basketball team.
He also appreciates the opportunity to get to know his students.
"I’ve taught in auditoriums at other universities where there were more than a 100 students in a class. At Berkeley, there’s more opportunity for one-one-one contact," Mr. Christiansen said.
Alumnus Allan Chien of Taiwan attributes Christiansen’s personal touch to his academic and career success. Mr. Chien’s father died in Taiwan while he was studying at Berkeley College in New York City. He dropped out of college for half a year to be with his family. When he returned he was depressed and struggled with his studies.
"I was about to quit college, but after speaking with Professor Christiansen I had a whole new perspective," said Mr. Chien, who graduated with a BS in Business Administration – Management in 2008, and is employed as a Microsoft Marketing Specialist in Shanghai. "If it wasn’t for his care and support I know that I could never have been as successful as I am today."