Pursue Wonder: An Interview with Kelly Schmidt

Photo Credit: Chris Low
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Here at the George Fox Library, we’re invested in the virtue of wonder. Our collections connect us to the wonders of the world and inspire us to ask new questions every day. We hope to teach students to engage with wonder as they ask good questions and pursue truth. We also love being connected to the work and expertise of George Fox faculty, and we are thrilled to continue the Pursue Wonder Project, a monthly feature with scholars from across campus to see how they connect wonder and hope to their work as teachers, administrators, and educators.

This month, we’re featuring Kelly Schmidt, Assistant Professor of Management. Check out her insights in our interview below:

What’s something that you are curious about?

As a student of leadership development, I am curious about how people tick, how they interact with one another, and how people and organizations create systems and patterns (both good and bad) in organizational contexts. I like unraveling how organizational culture came to be and how it might be changed (hopefully for the better).

How do wonder and curiosity connect to your life as a scholar and instructor?

The older I get, the more I realize how little I know and how many different inputs and information are out there. This doesn’t make me insecure in what I believe, but it does help me to be curious about how other people (or organizations) came to be and do what they are doing. I always want to understand the “why.” In this sense, one of my greatest strengths (according to Strengthfinders) is that of being a learner. I want to stay open and humble to hearing the stories of others and trying to understand what has shaped and developed them.

As an instructor, I have the privilege of helping students (mainly College of Business students) understand their own motivations, values, character, and goals through MGMT 200 Leadership and Character class. As a scholar, I enjoy digging into the dynamics of change management to learn how organizational culture might be improved.

What do you hope to learn more about in the future?

As an academic newbie I’ve enjoyed observing and learning about the organizational life of the university. I want to continue to learn how universities work, but also how I can leverage my skills and knowledge from a career in a different context to continually improve this culture.

How does the pursuit of learning connect to your faith?

I believe that a foundational posture of faith is being teachable. It seems to me that Jesus chose his disciples not based on skill or education, but rather on their willingness to follow and learn. My goal as a disciple is being eager to learning new insights and truth from scripture, depending on the direction of the Holy Spirit, and being open to the many ways I need to continue to grow my own character and life as a reflection of Jesus.

What about the things you are learning, researching, or teaching gives you hope? 

The students I teach are my main source of hope. I often reflect that many of them are much more developed in their character than I was at their age. Next, I love to see their potential and hear about their dreams. Finally, I’m so impressed by the determination and grit I see in students, many who overcame great obstacles to be here or experience difficulties during their college journey, yet persevere and continue to thrive. It’s a delight to me to meet a student as a freshman and then see how they grow and change by the time they graduate.