Mike Weglarz serves as assistant professor, teaching both business and insurance and risk management classes. This fall, Professor Weglarz will begin his fourth year at Olivet College and says he has loved every moment of his experience, thanks to the amazing students, staff and fellow faculty members on campus. It’s these connections that inspired him to become a college professor after an extensive corporate career in the direct, database and market research industries working with insurance, retail and financial services companies. In addition, Professor Weglarz also incorporates many of his own experiences in his teaching as owner of an Allstate Insurance Agency. Now, he strives to share his entrepreneurial spirit and relationship-based outlook with students.
Why do you love Olivet College?
I would definitely have to say the family environment at OC. We all look out for each other and help each other out, without hesitation, when we see another Olivetian in need. Plus, the strong connections and bonds we develop with students are awesome. When I see our students succeed, I feel so proud. When I see them walking across the stage getting their degree, I am bursting with pride and feel as if they are my own kids!
What is your favorite memory from your time serving OC?
Olivet has created so many memories for me during my short time here. I would simply say the unexpected daily smiles that the Olivet community puts on my face are my favorite. Every day is different and whether it’s an interaction with a student or fellow faculty member, not a day goes by where I don’t laugh and enjoy those daily interactions.
What is your teaching style like?
I would describe my teaching style as “enthusiastically uncomfortably direct,” meaning that I am a big believer in getting out of my own comfort zone and trying new things. When we get out of our comfort zones, failure is a natural first occurrence, so I try to incorporate giving students the confidence to try new things with the mindset that it’s okay to be uncomfortable and make mistakes in the culture of my classroom. When this occurs, I feel I have created an environment of trust within my classes, thus giving my students the confidence to try new ways of thinking, presenting, creating, etc., as well as an understanding that the only way to grow and learn is to continually try and fail. By doing this, I hope my students gain the confidence that helps them move forward and perform at their best even when they encounter situations later in life that are uncomfortable or challenging.
What’s the average day in your role, or some of the unique things you are responsible for?
There is no such thing as an average day. From the advisement of students, to working with local companies for internships and job opportunities, to seeking out and bringing guest speakers on to campus in addition to my regular teaching duties makes for a busy, fun filled schedule.
Why do you encourage students to attend Olivet College?
I’ve discovered as I’ve grown older that it’s not about the quantity of things and people in our lives, but the quality. Prospective students will not only acquire a first class, quality education, but also develop lifelong, quality relationships with fellow students and faculty mentors.
What do you look forward to in your role?
I am currently teaching a new Data Analytics class this fall. Managing, interpreting and mining data are huge trends within corporate America, and I feel having this knowledge will allow our students to enter the workforce better prepared and more marketable. Within the insurance program, I am planning on attending the annual Gamma Iota Sigma, a national IRM fraternity, conference in Chicago next month. Professor Tom Humphreys and I will be bringing over 50 OC IRM students to this event to network with industry professionals and meet fellow Gamma members from other chapters throughout the United States.
What advice do you share with students or alumni?
I guess two things come to my mind: First, never stop learning, always seek new knowledge and insights every day. Second, don’t be a stranger to Olivet. You have a home here, so please reach out to us to speak in one of our classes, become a mentor, give back or help the next generation of Olivet students any way.
What is an interesting or little known fact about yourself?
I have been a high school basketball coach for 20 years! I coached the junior varsity team at my alma mater, Brother Rice High School in Birmingham, and last year moved over to become an assistant varsity coach at Bloomfield Hills High School. Weird hobby, sometimes I wished I had taken up needlepoint or something less stressful like that, but I truly love it and have a definite passion for basketball. I am also working toward earning a prestigious insurance designation, the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter.
Visit Olivet College or attend an upcoming admissions event to connect with great faculty members, like Professor Weglarz. Learn more about becoming a Comet by contacting the Office of Admissions at 800.465.7189 or firstname.lastname@example.org.