Texas Wesleyan University President Frederick G. Slabach has begun to teach a business law class this semester.
Business Law 1 is an undergraduate class designed to introduce the student to the legal environment in which business decisions are made.
“I missed being in the classroom,” Slabach said. “For the first five years that I have been here, I have not taught.”
Slabach, who has an undergraduate law degree from the University of Mississippi and a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from Colombia University in New York, now has an added workload to his busy schedule.
“I now get up at 5 a.m. just to make sure I am prepared for class,” Slabach said.
Jada High, a junior business management major, says it’s interesting taking Slabach’s class.
“At first I was a little bit hesitant because I wasn’t sure if he was going to be readily available, like most of our professors are,” High said. “He’s been very available to any of our needs and responds to emails just as if he was regular faculty or staff. He’s been doing a very good job in my opinion, far better than I expected,” High said.
Junior marketing and management major Hanin Almuzaini says that she likes the class even though it’s hard.
“He’s a good professor,” Almuzaini said. “He talks the entire class, but he is interesting.”
The class meets every Tuesday and Thursday at 9:25 a.m. to 10:40 a.m.
Slabach said that the idea of teaching again began when Hector Quintanilla, dean of the School of Business, contacted him about looking for an adjunct professor for a business law class.
Given that Slabach who has a background in law and is known in the legal community around the Fort Worth area, Quintanilla asked if he could recommend anyone.
“What about me?” Slabach asked. “It was a great opportunity to get back into the classroom.”
Because of his background teaching graduates, Slabach said, at the beginning of this semester he had higher expectations of his undergads’ preparedness than other Wesleyan professors.
He learned this the first day of class.
“I published the syllabus on Blackboard that syllabus indicated that the students should read the first chapter and come prepared to discuss,” Slabach said. “The class then quickly informed me that none of their other professors had expected them to read an assignment, and my colleagues on the faculty later told me that was usually the case.”
Slabach said he likes the Socratic Method when teaching law. The Socratic Method is continuously asking students questions to “develop critical thinking skills in students and enable them to approach the law as intellectuals,” according to the web site of the University of Chicago Law School.
“I ask a lot of questions, and they are not rhetorical questions,” Slabach said. “I expect students to give me answers, and I think that’s a little different to what they are used to.”
Slabach’s office hours are 10:40 a.m. to noon in his office on the second floor of the Oneal-Sells Administration building.
“One of the nice things about the office of the president is that I have administrative assistants that can help arrange my schedule,” Slabach said. “That’s probably the hard part for a full-time administrator to set aside additional time for office hours.”
Slabach said that even though he wasn’t sure he could teach every semester, he hopes to be able to do one class every year.
“I hope this isn’t a one-time thing,” Slabach said.