Doctor D is In
Roy Dejoie turns teaching into a clinic
In higher education, faculty members seeking a tenure-track position often face the “publish or perish” mandate to maintain a delicate balance of research and teaching.
For Roy Dejoie, however, innovative teaching is an ongoing experiment in helping students learn that evolves into research. And Dejoie, a continuous term lecturer and clinical assistant professor of management at the Krannert School, has indeed been published, tenure-track or not.
In fact, Dejoie has been a teaching clinician long before the concept of “flipping the classroom” into a laboratory of learning became part of the academic lexicon.
Born in England and living in New Orleans, Louisiana, for most of his early childhood, Dejoie began his journey into and beyond the classroom at Texas A&M, where he earned three degrees —a BBA and PhD in business analysis and a MS in business computing science — and served as an assistant lecturer in the Mays Business School for more than five years.
After completing his PhD, Dejoie continued at the University of Oklahoma, where in 1992 he joined the faculty as an assistant professor of management information systems. “Oklahoma was where I got my nickname,” Dejoie says. “Students started calling me ‘Dr. D’ and it stuck.
Coincidentally, it also was where Dejoie befriended Rick Cosier, now dean emeritus of the Krannert School, who at the time served as dean of Oklahoma’s College of Business. Dejoie later directed the JCPenney Leadership Center at Oklahoma before he joined a group of former colleagues to help in the startup of a small, Web solutions firm named Ensemble, which was acquired by USWeb just before Dejoie started working there.
“I’ve always had an entrepreneurial instinct and an interest in industry, and the time to make a change seemed right,” DeJoie says.
The firm quickly expanded into an organization of more than 2,400 employees when it merged with CKS Group, a leading offline advertising firm. At USWeb/CKS (later known as marchFIRST), Dejoie worked as a project manager for clients including American Airlines, Goldman Sachs, JCPenney Direct Marketing Services, PageNet, UICI Marketing, Southwest Airlines and Terrabrook.
When it was acquired in 2000 by Whittman-Hart, a former digital communications company headquartered in Chicago, US Web/CKS had grown to nearly 9,000 employees in just two years. “It no longer had that small-company, entrepreneurial feel that had attracted me to it in the first place, so many of us from the original team left the company to work independently,” Dejoie says.
While working as a private consultant for Granitar and later, as a private consultant, for Advancia, Dejoie began feeling the lure of returning to higher education, but primarily for teaching. “My work in industry increasingly found me returning to the issue of professional development, which is really a form of education,” he says. “I realized that I missed the academic arena, but wasn’t necessarily interested in a research-focused position.”
As fate so often has it, Dejoie received a call in 2001 from his friend and former dean at Oklahoma, Rick Cosier, who had recently been named dean and Leeds Professor of Management at Purdue’s Krannert School. An offer to join the school as a visiting faculty member in management information systems (MIS) quickly followed, and by that September, “Dr. D” was once again attending to students.
What began as a “visiting” position became “continuous” and Dejoie has earned countless honors during his nearly 15 years at Krannert, including the Purdue University Class of 1922 Award for Outstanding Innovation in “Helping Students Learn,” the Krannert Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award and multiple Distinguished Teacher recognitions at both the undergraduate and graduate school level.
Dejoie also has received numerous grants to help share his teaching skills with others, including Purdue’s Service-Learning Faculty Development Grant Program Award, an IMPACT Instructional Grant from the Center for Instructional Excellence, and a Summer Instructional Innovation Program Grant from the Office of the Provost.
In September 2015, Dejoie joined the ranks of other classroom greats with his induction as a Fellow in the Purdue University Teaching Academy, which represents the best teaching faculty across campus and is among the University’s highest honors. Although faculty are nominated and selected by their peers to join this esteemed group, Dejoie feels equally honored by the praise and success of his students.
“I had the great opportunity to learn and work with Dr. D during my last year at Purdue,” says Kenneth Dorado (BSIM ’02), now a senior consultant in Risk Advisory Services in Chicago. “Not only does he bring real world experience to his already vivid and enthusiastic classes, he is also a great and encouraging mentor who is always there to guide you in the right direction.”
For Doug Booth (BSM ’13), it was a shared curiosity for the intersection between business and technology he discovered in one of his first management information systems courses taught by Dejoie.
“Dr. D was really passionate about what he taught and I think that passion just spilled right over into me,” says Booth, who credits his MIS coursework with helping him land a job with ExactTarget, a growing technology firm in Indianapolis that was acquired by Salesforce.com. “My MIS courses prepared me well with a general coding background as well as gave me the broad overview I need to manage a project effectively.”
When Sarah Wheeler (BSM’12) was interviewing for her current position as an IT solutions manager at Microsoft, she was the only candidate with a major in business applying for a technology-based job. Once again, Dr. D’s teaching mastery helped make the difference.
“The MIS classes I had at Purdue, particularly those with Dr. D, really prepared me for the interview and the job,” she says. “They led me through the processes and gave me the necessary tools to tackle large, comprehensive projects one piece at a time.”
Fortunately for Krannert and its students, Dejoie doesn’t expect to leave the classroom anytime soon.
“In some ways, my current role provides more job stability than a tenure-track position and allows me to focus primarily on teaching, but it’s about more than that,” he says.
“My wife and I had three of our five children here," Dejoie says. "The two that weren't born in the area have been here since they were toddlers. My oldest daughter, Julianne, has been accepted into the prestigious Business Opportunity Program in Krannert and will start her college career this summer. This summer will be my 15th summer teaching in BOP and my daughter will be one of the students in my class.
Dejoie added, "I work with some of the greatest minds in my field. This is our home. Purdue is part of our family.”