Pioneer Spotlight: Mark Albers
Mark Albers is an associate professor of industrial studies at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. He teaches courses for building and construction management.
Albers has been teaching at UW-Platteville full time since 2004, but has been at the university continuously in some capacity since 1992. He completed his undergraduate work at UW-Platteville, where he received a Bachelor of Science in industrial studies. Albers then continued his education and received his master’s in technology management from UW-Platteville as well. Albers lives in Platteville.
What do you like most about teaching?
That’s an ever-changing question. When I first started teaching I was kind of for the underdog students because I was an underdog student. Now, that mentality has lapsed into something more about working with students and seeing progress across the board. Seeing the light bulb turn on, that’s priceless to be honest with you. Mostly for me, it’s just about the students and seeing them advance and learn.
What is most challenging about your position?
One of the most challenging things right now has to do with the budgetary issues going on in the UW System. It takes resources to teach hands-on courses, and they are becoming less available. The other challenging thing is that our average student has changed a lot. We used to have a majority of students who were family members of contractors who grew up in the contracting business, and we took their exposure to the industry for granted. Now the bulk of our students have very little construction experience. So, you have to teach differently and go at the slowest camper’s pace, and that really changes what you can teach.
What characteristics do you find drive success in students?
Number one is curiosity. In our industry, if you aren’t curious about how buildings are built, if you don’t walk into a building and question how it is standing, then I question why you are here. If you are not curious enough to question then you are not curious enough to do anything beyond the course work, and the course work is really introductory. To be really good in this industry, you have to go above and beyond and be willing to put your own hours in. For me, it’s more of a lack of curiosity than the quality of curiosity.
What do you like about UW-Platteville that keeps you here?
It really is a nice community. It’s a safe place, and it’s a progressive enough place that it is not stagnant. Platteville is also comfortable for me. I am a farm kid and I grew up in the Midwest. I really appreciate the landscape and all that goes with it. I like the rolling countryside; I like the people, and even most of winter.
What are some of your hobbies?
I’m very passionate about farming. I grew up on a farm and my brother still farms. I do some woodworking and steel fabrication as hobbies. I also read a lot, specifically economics. I am very interested in the state of our state as well as the quality of jobs being created opposed to the number of jobs being created. I am concerned that we have more waitresses and bar tenders than people working in manufacturing. Reading economics is really what I do most and enjoy.
Interview conducted by Jackelyn Johnson, Public Relations Writer, University Information and Communications. To nominate someone for the Pioneer Spotlight, email firstname.lastname@example.org.