Professor Heather Vaccaro serves as instructor of business administration and has a long-standing relationship with Milligan.
She received her bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting at Milligan as well as her MBA with an emphasis in leadership. She served in the Milligan admissions office as an admissions counselor and later as the interim director of admissions before beginning her teaching career in 2014.
When asked why she loves Milligan and has chosen teaching as her career path, Vaccaro responded:
“I want to impact students the way I was impacted when I was a student here. My professors were there for me when I was a student and taught me so much – I want to be a small part of my students’ experiences like that.”
Her favorite subjects to teach are Principles of Management and Personal Finance. In these courses, students can bring in their own experiences, good or bad, and apply them to the knowledge they’re learning in class. The information is so applicable that students don’t have to wait until they graduate to use it—they can use it in their everyday lives.
Because she wants students to learn concepts they can use every day, Vaccaro is a big advocate of activity based learning. In her classes, students do simulations, case studies, presentations, discussion with peers, and even play board games.
“I want students to be engaged and take ownership of their learning,” said Vaccaro.
In addition to classroom based learning, Vaccaro uses community outreach as another way for students to learn, serving as the point person for VITA and business-related internships. VITA, Milligan’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, offers free tax preparation to qualifying taxpayers in the greater Johnson City area. Others obtain internships in their particular field to actively apply their knowledge to the work they’re doing. She also incorporates community outreach in her Small Business Management class by having students develop and present research to local entrepreneurs.
The concepts that students learn, combined with an emphasis on servant leadership, help prepare them for their careers in the business world.
Vaccaro is currently pursuing her Doctor of Business Administration through George Fox University. In her spare time, she likes to go on adventures with her dog, Savannah.
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