Q&A with Dr. Chris Willis
Chris Willis, Ph.D.
Program Coordinator, Leadership Studies
School of Educational Foundations, Leadership & Policy
Ball State, B.S., 1993
Ball State, M.Ed., 1996
Indiana University, Ed.D., 2011
Years at BGSU:
This year marks my fourth year at BGSU.
Education reform as viewed from the intersection of innovative instructional practices and educational policy.
I have a musical background: Band (trombone), piano, drama and singing. I sang in the top ensemble my freshman year of college (Chamber Choir at Ball State University), and in high school had a paying gig as a singer.
Q&A with Dr. Willis
What is your favorite part about teaching?
I love to press students to look at situations that they accept as “normal” in new ways.
What advice would you give to students heading out into the real world?
Be good humans and the world will take care of the rest.
What is your greatest academic achievement so far?
A research project that I worked on received the Bridge Award for connecting research to community. The award was given by the Leadership for Social Justice special interest group of the American Educational Research Association.
Why did you decide to come to BGSU and teach in EDHD?
BGSU offered a great opportunity for my development as a professor. Working in the Leadership Studies program as been wonderful, and BGSU gave my family a chance to move back to the Midwest from Mississippi.
How did you get started in your field?
I had been a school principal and needed a new challenge to press me professionally.
What was the best piece of advice you received as a student?
It wasn’t as a student, but early in my teaching career a principal started off the year with the message to the faculty: “We need to take our jobs very seriously, and ourselves not so much.” I have always tried to keep that balance of dedication to my work while still having a good time doing it. As a student, my older brother, who had been teaching for several years, told me that I needed to become great friends with the school secretary and the head custodian because those are the people that really run schools. I eventually became principal of one of the most successful high schools in the state of Indiana, and my brother was right -- my secretary and my custodian did more to make the school run than I ever did.