INSIDE THE CLASSROOM: ‘AMAZING LECTURER, BETTER MAN’
Mays students love Musoma’s teaching style which can be described as management and leadership principles mixed with a little motivational speaking, lots of charisma, and sometimes a few props. During an interview with Poets&Quants for Undergrads, Musoma thinks back to his first time getting up to teach. “The class was very graphic. I brought in a trash can to show how wasteful we are as a society,” Musoma says. As he pulled various items from the garbage, he remembers saying to students, “‘You’ll never find this in the trash in Africa.’ They called me the trash guy for a little while.”
Over a decade later and the professor is still using props and teaching with the same zeal. Students rave about him as a lecturer and, frankly, as a human.
Says one written review on Rate My Professor: “His lectures are amazing, and honestly I would go to them on a volunteer basis.” Another simply reads, “Amazing lecturer, better man.”
About his job as a professor, Musoma says it is the students that he enjoys most. And it shows. More than anything else, they praise him for his sincere passion and care. He’s been known to literally leap for joy during graduation, especially seeing his first generation students walk the stage.
“I attend every one for the business school,” Musoma says of graduation. “Seeing first generation kids, I’m jumping up and down to honor this moment because a flimsy handshake won’t do.”
On the flip side, what he enjoys least is expertise and silos interrupting the flow of learning for college students. “Sometimes I see how our knowledge gets in our way when we believe that our particular area of expertise is better than another or when we have an inflated sense of self and we become unable to build bridges for our students. I despise that,” Musoma admits. “Sometimes we live in our silos, but if we build alliances with each other, we’re better for it. What gets in the way for us is we operate in a competitive environment and that doesn’t make us as effective teachers as we could be. It’s not about who’s published, who’s better. We all bring different value.”
A KINDNESS THAT IS CONTAGIOUS
Besides teaching management and ethics, the value Musoma seems to bring is found in his own leadership style which centers on using kindness to help or create opportunities for others. Aside from receiving several university awards specifically for his acts of kindness and contributing to the university in a positive way — including the very first Mays Spirit Award — his leadership style rooted in kindness appears to be contagious.
Recently, Musoma made news headlines again when he passed around a collection bin during class for a student who couldn’t afford to purchase a textbook. A teaching assistant, inspired by the acts of kindness exhibited by Musoma, decided to follow his footsteps by helping to pay for other students’ textbooks. The professor says he has since been contacted by the university’s library. They had heard his story and that of the teaching assistant and are now developing an idea to help provide open access textbooks and other open access education resources to help ensure all students have the tools they need to be successful.
“It’s things like that that make your heart smile,” Musoma says.
About his recent placement in the national spotlight, Musoma says it’s all bittersweet. While his father is currently battling cancer, he says it’s great to be walking in a grocery store with him and have people recognize and approach him to say he’s doing good work. “My father gets to hear that,” Musoma beams. “That’s why I say I’m grateful. There’s a deep sense of gratitude and humility.”
As all of the recognition has also pulled Musoma in different directions in terms of appearances, speaking engagements, and attendance at various functions, the professor also gives credit to his wife and four children.
“I am a better human because of them,” Musoma acknowledges. “When I’m driving in my car and my daughter says something like, ‘Daddy, I’m proud you teach at A&M in the business school,’ that’s better than any bonus check you could ever receive. And my wife who’s always excited for me. She has been really awesome in all of this and celebrates me.”
Musoma says there haven’t been any more toddlers in class since baby Emmett, but, “What excites me is fact that there’s probably a single mom somewhere walking taller because of that one act.”