Students in James Kirby Easterling’s MKT315 Logistics class surprised their professor by wearing “Kirby’s Klubhouse” shirts on the last day of the semester.
The course is a requirement for Global Supply Chain Management majors, and is also taken as an elective by students from various majors. While starting out the semester with a traditional lecture approach, Easterling quickly assessed that the students would learn more effectively by employing a “flipped classroom” concept, and thereby modified the course so that students gave “Logistics in the News” presentations each week to supplement lectures. The features were a great addition to the classroom with student presentations on logistics topics such as using drones for delivery, using rechargeable batteries for large trucks to reduce fuel expenses, how thoroughbred race horses are transported between countries, how Little Debbie snack cakes are replenished in stores, how the National Football League (NFL) uses logistical modeling as a criteria for deciding which city is awarded the Super Bowl, how transportation is factored into musical artists moving equipment and merchandise from city to city during World Tours, etc.
Logistics students also joined a signature event on campus earlier in the semester when EKU hosted the APICS Bluegrass Chapter in a monthly chapter meeting with over 65 students, professionals, faculty, and administrators meeting on the EKU campus. APICS is the Association for Operations Management. Many of the Logistics students later joined the Bluegrass Chapter as ‘student’ members and are now attending the monthly chapter meetings, providing invaluable networking between students and industry professionals.
Instead of a traditional Final Exam, students in Easterling’s class were assigned a major case study detailing various logistical challenges between two firms. Students were expected to not only identify the problems, but use their improved knowledge gained throughout MKT315 to implement solutions and ideas to remedy the problems. On the last day of the semester, instead of a traditional Final Exam, students submitted their case studies and celebrated with a party. As Easterling walked into the classroom, one student after another began to take off their jackets, hoodies, and coats, revealing the “Kirby’s Klubhouse” shirts. Easterling stated, “I’ve had over 800 students since joining EKU in 2014, but I’ve never had another class like MKT315 this semester. The students really encouraged and motivated one another, and quite honestly they encouraged and motivated me as well. I think we can all agree that there’s more than one way to learn.”
Easterling joined EKU in 2014 after a 22-year career in industry with Hitachi, Lexmark, and Corning, is a 3-time EKU graduate, and is now working to complete his doctorate at the University of Florida.