Showcase Interview

Adel Mekraz

Adel Mekraz

Faculty Profile
Email Address

Teaching Strategy Video(s)
Diverse Presentation of Concepts to Meet Diverse Student Learning Styles
Various Ways to Present Concepts
Exploring and Planning Different Ways to Present Concepts
Meeting Diverse Student Learning Styles: The Positive Results

Adel Mekraz shares his experience of more than 14 years in the retail industry with students in the Retail Merchandising and Management program. His objective as a teacher in the retail program is “to prepare students for successful careers in the retail industry.”

Adel Mekraz teaches Merchandise Planning and Control, Store Management, and the Retail Practicum. Although Mekraz enjoys teaching all of his courses, he says that the one course with the most variety is the Retail Practicum.In this course he guides students to do merchandising, marketing, and staffing plans for the Niche for a whole semester.The students go to different buying shows in Wisconsin and Minnesota to buy merchandise at wholesale, and once the merchandise starts arriving, the students open the Niche and start selling it. The Niche, thanks to Mekraz and his hard working students, is gaining popularity on campus. Sales this year are at a record high during a time of a recession when most retail chains are struggling to survive.

Adel uses different teaching strategies to help his students “get it”—from using PowerPoints and other types of presentations, to using good examples that give meaning to abstract concepts, to telling stories and animating them for his students to capture their interest and imagination. He accommodates the different learning styles of students by utilizing different ways of presenting information. Some of the information in his classes will be presented in visual format, other in auditory, and some in discussion or problem solving formats.Utilizing different formats for presenting information, he hopes, will help his students “get it.”

One of his favorite teaching strategies is assessing students’ prior knowledge. He does this at the start of a new course.By assessing the level of knowledge that students bring to his course in an area or a topic, he hopes to use the assessment to make a determination of where the gaps may be, and where he should begin in order to build on what the students already have, and what clarifications or corrections he should make before moving forward. Other strategies he uses are problem solving and letting students do the homework in the classroom. By problem solving, or working on the homework in the classroom, students will have the opportunity to apply the new knowledge in different ways. “That’s the time students will have the most questions, and that’s the time when the instructor should be there to answer questions and help students figure out how to apply the concepts learned in class,” says Mekraz.

Mekraz’s previous experience in the business world is brought into the classroom and also into The Niche, which is used as a lab for students to apply their retail knowledge. In The Niche, students have to apply for different positions by submitting their resume with a cover letter indicating the positions they are interested in. The students also have to explain why they should get the position, just as if they were applying for a job with an employer. The Niche students are evaluated on their performance by Mekraz, and by their peers.

Adel would like to do some research on issues that are important to teaching and learning in the classroom. For example, because Mekraz has students in his courses work in teams to do projects, all kinds of issues relating to how much a student learns in a team environment, to how they behave when working with others, etc. are important to the teaching and learning process—and he would like to conduct some research relating to these issues.

Finally, he hopes to share the results of such research with his colleagues on campus, and would like to see it published in academic journals.