Skip Navigation

← Back to Faculty Listing


Dr Dean Frost


Business Administration

Office: DH 129

Phone: (218) 755-3709

Send a message →


Ph.D.   University of Washington

M.S.    University of Washington

B.A.    Reed College

Teaching Interests:

Quantitative Analysis

Organizational Behavior

Strategic Management

Innovation and Technology

Research Interests:

Group Dynamics

Leadership, Power, and Influence

Organization and Management Development

Conflict Management

Philosophy of Learning:

Early in my career I had the opportunity to work at the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) national training center.  This experience probably influenced me more than any early university instruction I did. The heart of this experience was that my students were true adult learners who were active thinkers and who were not afraid to challenge an instructor if the material did not fit their personal experience.  The phrase "highly motivated student" took on meaning for me then in a way it seldom has since because here my students were individuals making life and death decisions in their roles back home and they demanded learning that had value to them.

What are the consequences of these ideas and experiences then?  My style in the classroom is highly personal and casual.  I always greet the students and recognize them as individuals.  Very often I will start a class off by asking what questions from the last session or the day's readings I can answer for the students.  That may be followed by a query of "What did you want to talk about today?"  In other words, I don't start off by telling them what I think is important in the material nor do I demand they contribute concrete examples they may have thought of before class.  I want them to take an active role, not only in class but also when they are reading.  I want them to think of questions to ask me or to identify ideas that are most interesting or useful to them.  From Vygotsky, I believe in the idea that learning is embedded in a cultural context so each student may have a different perspective to be used in interpreting the material.  It is a truism to say that are multiple paths to learning the same material but for me it literally means that I don't make assumptions about the student's perspective until we begin the interaction.  Additionally, I frequently will ask students' to bring forward a personal experience or observation, then walk them backwards to concrete examples of concepts or related facts and only then discuss in detail the underlying theory or principles.  To me, "the student gets it" means "I have to get it" too, that is, getting "it" from the student's perspective.

Students tell me that when I do lecture that I have a highly organized style compared to many instructors.  Here I am trying to apply Guthrie's Contiguity Principle in the sense that the order or chain of ideas truly matters.  This may mean illustrating concepts by referring to the historical or scientific context of ideas, it might mean the elements of a theory are carefully described in a structured fashion, or it may mean that I start with a visual description of the concept(s) then move to verbal descriptions and finally end with a written summary.  Another strategy I have is to always begin by explaining, in brief outline form, what the contents of the lecture will be.  I try to explain the order or flow of the intellectual content as the first step in the learning process for the day.