Every semester BHP professors volunteer to participate in a program coordinated by the Honors Business Association, called Dinner with a Professor (DWAP). DWAP was started five years ago and has become one of the most popular events for students and professors alike. Students from the program are invited to dinner with a BHP professor at a location of the professor’s choice.
William O’Hara, a professor with the Department of Accounting, and his wife, Beverly, took around 60 students to Dave & Buster’s last semester for a dinner and dessert buffet as well as games. According to O’Hara, the students were as competitive playing games as they are in the classroom. At the end of the night though, they all came together and surprised him by pooling the tickets they won from their games to buy him an enormous Clifford The Big Red Dog to thank him and his wife for hosting the event.
When asked why he enjoyed hosting the event, O’Hara said, “Even with the smaller class sizes of BHP, it is still hard to get to know your students well. I think the education process is better when you know them better and unless they come to office hours, it is hard to do that. This provides that opportunity.” O’Hara noted that the event developed a camaraderie that translated to the classroom. “I noticed a difference afterwards that some of the students who didn’t participate much in class before, were now participating.”
For students, the appeal of these events is that they allow students to get to know their professors on a personal level and see them in a different environment than they usually do. Prabhudev Konana, a BHP MIS professor, has hosted a DWAP at his house every year for around 70 students since 2008. He admits that is a lot of work for him and his wife, but says he wants to expose students to their culture. They serve Indian food, expose them to Bollywood and Bollywood dance, and show them the Indian artwork in their house. Courtney Brindle, a junior BHP student who participated in Dr. Konana’s DWAP last year, had heard about the impromptu Bollywood dance parties beforehand, but being a participant last year, she thought it was, “really cool to have fun with Dr. Konana and see another side of him.”
HBA plans around five DWAPs per semester. Forrest Ripley, president of HBA, thinks these events are important for the BHP culture. “Professors are at the core of what makes BHP so great. Giving students a chance to bond with their professors on a personal level is one of the best services that HBA can offer students.”
Professor O’Hara said he and his wife Beverly will definitely be hosting a DWAP again this year. “Beverly is very interested in education and she wants to be involved. She still talks about what a great evening it was. We heard comments from students that the event was the perfect break during a tough time of year and allowed them one night to be a kid again. We will be on board to do it again this year!”