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Bellevue University Alum Pays It Forward Through Teaching

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It’s no surprise that students, including college students, want a teacher they can both relate to and learn from, and Bellevue University Adjunct Professor Andrea Gaylord brings a mixture of both to the classroom. Inspired by a professor during her own educational journey, she also has a similar background to the retail employees she teaches.

A Wealth of Experience

Gaylord works for Omaha Police Department and serves as a key resource for managing data for the department, officers and the National Crime Information Center. Prior to starting at OPD in 2013, she worked in retail, both in entry-level positions and in management.

These experiences serve her well teaching in the College of Continuing and Professional Education. She is an instructor for online Business Management and Business Leadership courses, guiding students who work for a national retailer as they complete a certification program for frontline supervisors.

“I think students want to see someone with professional experience in a variety of fields,” Gaylord said. “I have management experience in retail, warehouse and here at the police department.”

Her Journey From Student to Teacher

Gaylord chose Bellevue University when completing her bachelor’s degree in 2015. She began her bachelor’s degree after high school, but left after becoming pregnant during her first year.

“I quit college with the intention of going back later,” she said. “And I finally did at 30 years old. Bellevue University was perfect.” In particular, she liked the variety of learning formats available.

She also found that Bellevue University’s small class sizes were ideal. “You really get one-on-one, direct time with your professors. Even online, the classes are small. The professors I’ve had are very attentive to their students. The experience is perfect for working professionals.”

Gaylord took evening classes once a week, and one professor, in particular, inspired her to become the instructor she is today.

“Professor Brian Bunce was my instructor for my bachelor’s program, and I was inspired,” she said. “He made class fun. He taught me so much that I decided I wanted to inspire students like he does.”

After graduating with her Bachelor of Science in Business in 2017, she also chose to earn her master’s degree at Bellevue University.

“When I decided to get my master’s, they offered an accelerated online program for what I wanted to go into -- organizational performance,” she said.

Making a Difference for Students

Gaylord focuses on giving her students a quality experience and keeping them engaged. In their assignments and discussions, she challenges them to stretch their minds.

“My students do get graded on their quality of peer response,” she said. “Responses need to add to the conversation, ask questions and use course materials, not just give their opinions or say ‘good work’ and ‘I agree.’’’

Students appreciate Gaylord’s extra efforts to help them grow. She said the best part of teaching has been “when a student emails me and says how much they loved one of the classes.”

“I’ve also received emails stating that they are going to recommend to their co-workers to take the program with me as an instructor,” Gaylord said. “It makes me feel like I’m doing something right!”

In her rare spare time, Gaylord loves to travel, ride her motorcycle and spend time with her wife, teenage daughter, three dogs and two cats.