“Learning is a lifelong journey. Don’t let it stop.”
Ken Wendeln, clinical associate professor emeritus of management, retired from full-time teaching in December after 20 years in the classroom. He’s taught undergraduates, MBAs, and he has worked tirelessly to make an impact at the IUPUI campus level with initiatives aimed at promoting academic integrity and improving retention and graduation.
“My dad once told me, ‘Ken, you need to allow time in your life to give back, because where you are in life is a result of a lot of others helping you get there.’ So, my time here at Kelley and IUPUI is about giving back — To help students and those who help others. I want students to have the opportunities to thrive like I had in my business career. I want to produce good citizens and get them off to a good start and continue on a successful path – because others did that for me.”
Wendeln came to the Kelley School after 35 years working in business around the globe (15 of those years at the senior executive level). At Kelley, he earned his MS in Accounting (MSA) and at the same time, started teaching accounting classes part-time.
After passing all four parts of the CPA exam, the associate dean for Kelley School programs in Indianapolis at the time, Roger Schmenner, asked him if he would teach X100 – the Introduction to Business course for undergraduates in Indianapolis.
“He took me to a large lecture hall, tapped me on the shoulder as I looked out, and asked, ‘Can you teach 750 students?’ I said – ‘Sure!’ And that was the beginning of my career with the Kelley School of Business in Indianapolis.”
The opportunity sounds simple, but to Wendeln, it was about constantly changing and making courses better – to improve the experience for students and working with other faculty to achieve excellence.
Wendeln recalls creating and starting to teach the Capstone course for undergraduate seniors in Indianapolis, called Analysis of Business Decisions, or J411. This is typically one of the last courses Indianapolis Undergraduate seniors will take. Using the Capstone Simulation™, students make business decisions and examine their impact on the organization, giving students the practical experience of running a business through a simulation. Wendeln worked with Clinical Associate Professor Emeritus Bob Grimm to connect the key concepts in the first class that Kelley students take – the X100 Introduction to Business – with the last they’ll take – their J411 Capstone.
“Ken was a joy to work with: innovative & collaborative, student centered, with an eye always on delivering high quality results,” said Grimm, who retired in 2018. “His curiosity and work ethic, complemented by real world business expertise, significantly enhanced the Kelley experience for countless students. I was so honored to have served alongside such a profound & irreplaceable talent.”
With Grimm, Wendeln helped to make changes to the professional development program for the Evening MBA Program, adding in more coaching on career development, resumes and networking, along with a program they called “SoftWiki,” which gave Evening MBA students the opportunity to connect with local executives.
Wendeln most recently added a new course called X571, The Leadership Circle, Mastering Your Leadership, that has as its centerpiece an advanced 360 feedback and coaching report that helps to further leadership development through self-awareness and leadership coaching.
“I will miss the students and the interaction – but I don’t expect that to stop,” said Wendeln. He will continue to teach and facilitate The Leadership Circle course for MBAs, and he says he will continue his work on leadership. He and former Kelley faculty member Kendra Reed created a leadership model centered on positivity, energy, and harmony.
“Ken is the quintessential faculty member on quality improvement. His innovative solutions improve the student experience, enhance the educational process, and promote an ethical mindset for the leaders of tomorrow. He developed the capstone experience in our undergraduate program and developed a career coaching model and mentorship model in our MBA program. Most recently, he implemented the Leadership Circle to assess and provide leadership coaching in our MBA program. He has positively influenced tens of thousands of students’ lives through his innovative teaching, coaching, and mentoring: giving back and paying it forward to the next generation of leaders.” said Ken Carow, Executive Associate Dean on the Kelley School of Business Indianapolis campus.
Wendeln’s impact goes beyond the Kelley School. In his time at IUPUI, Wendeln contributed to the university by focusing on strategies to increase student first-year retention and ultimately the campus graduation rate through a program called Gateway to Graduation.
He also worked with a Gateway Community of Practice at IUPUI designed to promote academic integrity. The faculty and staff on that task force work to ensure that students and faculty are well-informed and held accountable for their academic conduct.
“Ken Wendeln is one of the most student-centered faculty I know. He relentlessly pushes for all of us to continue to reach higher and do better, using the power of data as well as his fierce advocacy. He has truly made a lasting impact on student success at IUPUI, for which we are extremely grateful,” said Kathy Johnson, IUPUI’s Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer.
The learning won’t stop for Wendeln. In addition to teaching the professional development course for the MBA students, he’s considering applying for a leadership program for accomplished professionals at the University of Notre Dame, where he received his undergraduate degree.
“Life, for me, is a continual learning exercise,” said Wendeln. “I tell my students – Learning is a journey. Don’t let it stop. Keep taking advantage of those learning opportunities. When you look at places to work and where you want to be, make sure you’re supported in that journey. And – enjoy the ride. I know I have and that will continue. My thanks to the encouragement, energy, and patience from my wife and partner of 52 years, Diane, and our family.”
Posted By: Teresa Mackin, firstname.lastname@example.org