Judy Callahan stands at her desk.

In and beyond the classroom

Dr. Judy Callahan is next in our new Faculty Spotlight series. She shares her career path to becoming a professor and faculty member at the Warrington College of Business and what excites her most about teaching students.

Judy Callahan Dr. Judy Callahan has always been drawn to the classroom. Throughout her career, she has sought opportunities to teach, picking up courses wherever she can. In her current role at the Warrington College of Business, she leads graduate-level studies with enthusiasm.

Before becoming a professor, Callahan established herself in the business world. Between completing her undergraduate and MBA degrees at the University of Maryland, she sold advertising for and managed the sales staff of the #1 radio station in Washington, D.C. After several years there, she decided to move on from the radio station and earn her PhD in management and statistics at the same school.

Equipped with her doctorate, Callahan wanted to teach full-time and began scheduling appointments with universities across the nation. Soon after, though, she cancelled her appointments, choosing to stay with the first school she interviewed at: the University of Florida.

“UF had quality students and resources for faculty that surpassed other universities,” she recalled.

Judy Callahan sits on a throne made of swords. Since becoming a professor, Callahan has designed and led courses in MBA programs at the University of Florida, the University of Central Florida and the University of the Bahamas. Some of the courses she currently leads at UF include Organizational Behavior (MAN5245), Negotiations (MAN6447) and Creativity (MAN6930).

“The ‘job’ of an instructional professor in the Warrington College of Business at UF means teaching 365 days a year,” she said. “The classes overlap and vary in length, size and delivery vehicle. Designing courses for an online experience is different from one delivered face-to-face.

“Furthermore, effective experiential learning requires instructors to provide continuous feedback to the students. The array of courses taught both online and face-to-face has honed my instructional design skills. I am able to envision the outcome and develop a course that fulfills that vision.”

Each of Callahan’s courses involve active student engagement. Encouraging students to practice using skills they learn in class, Callahan facilitates in-class discussions, enacting teamwork, problem-solving exercises and more. She is adamant about the importance of class participation, wanting students to get the most out of their learning experience.

Judy and her husband roast frog legs over a campfire. “Teaching offers an environment to discuss difficult topics, address important issues and introduce students to the theory and practice that, when applied, will enable each to identify opportunities, secure a meaningful person-organization, person-group and person-job fit and thereby thrive in business,” she said.

After teaching at UF and UCF for several years, she decided to take a break from academe, but found she couldn’t stay away from the classroom. While holding a job as Director of Organizational Management at an infrastructure engineering company, she taught one class per year. Seven years later, she was back to teaching full-time at UF.

As an Associate Instructional Professor, Callahan continues to teach graduate-level courses. Lately, she has found more creative ways to teach students business skills, taking the classroom outdoors in her Primitive Leadership and Decision Making course (MAN6930). With the help of “Naked and Afraid” stars Brooke and Matt Wright, Callahan spent spring break teaching leadership, decision making and wilderness survival skills to MBA students in the Ocala National Forest.

Judy Callahan stands at her desk. Callahan shared that there are numerous reasons why teaching excites her to no end. Because she loves seeing students become passionate about what they’re learning, because she enjoys imparting practical knowledge and skills, because she is motivated by students who are eager to learn and because she wants to always be learning herself, Callahan will continue to be drawn to the classroom. Whether she is standing behind a lectern or tying knots in a National Forest, Callahan will be fulfilling her passion to elevate students, equipping them to succeed both in and beyond the classroom.

“Teaching is my vocation – it’s my calling,” she said. “Spending time with intellectually curious people excites me. Teaching provides a deep fulfillment by requiring me to stay abreast of the field; add facilitating the learning of others and it is my magic elixir.”