Getting to know Andrew Hurt

Andrew Hurt, assistant professor in the Department of Technology Leadership & Innovation, came to Purdue to teach in 2009. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degree in organizational leadership and supervision from Purdue. He received his Ph.D. in educational human resource development from Texas A&M University.


On his path to teaching at Purdue: I did my bachelor’s degree at Purdue, and I went out and got a job. It was good, and I learned a lot. But I decided I needed to do something different. So I came back to do my master’s. I found out I liked the research aspects of it, and I found I really liked teaching. I was an adjunct instructor for a year, and I really enjoyed it, and I was really passionate about it. I went on to do my doctoral work at Texas A&M, and I never really expected to come back to Purdue. When I got close to being done with my PhD and I started looking for faculty jobs, I found Purdue had an opening. They gave me an opportunity to come back.

On his current teaching focus: I am teaching undergraduates on training and development (OLS 375) this semester, and I taught the same topic at the graduate level last fall. Predominantly, our students who go through the class and take jobs in the area of training and development are going to be employed as stand-up trainers, leading training sessions, or instructional designers. They need to know the mechanics of training like how to effectively communicate, how to present, how to put together successful PowerPoint slides. We also cover instructional design components like how to design training and when best to use various training methods. Students get a background in learning theory and how you tie that into training. Finally, we cover some evaluation components so they can tell if the training is fulfilling the course objectives and is in alignment with the organization’s desired goals and objectives.
I am there to help students learn on their own, give them advice, and show them a path toward learning content and material. [/pullquote]On his teaching style: I believe in teaching through experience. The experiential component of learning should be obvious and connect to the environment. I treat my students as if they are adult learners and use the principles of adult learning. I believe in treating them and respecting them like adults. It is important to be as transparent as possible in the classroom, with expectations, deadlines, and what I’m asking them to do. I will spend an immense amount of time creating the class. In some cases, instructors need to be the leader and the expert. But most of the time, I am more of a facilitator of learning. I am there to help students learn on their own, give them advice, and show them a path toward learning content and material.

On his research: My expertise is in human resource development, which is what most of my publications are focused on. It breaks down into three areas: organizational development (creating change), training and development, and career development (how to help people get jobs). I spend most of my time in organizational development and training and development. My dissertation and research is in the area of paradigms that influence this field of study. A paradigm could be defined as a prominent philosophy or perspective that holds dominance over a period of time. What I find interesting is that there are commonalities and significant differences among paradigms. When we see contention in organizations it is often indicative of the existence of paradigms butting heads. These struggles are often deeply rooted in philosophy. Most people don’t talk about the guiding philosophy they use to make decisions. For example, in human resource development (HRD), there’s always been a tension between learning and performance. Some say that the purpose of HRD is to improve performance within organizations; others suggest that it’s to learn everything that we can and, through learning, an organization will improve. My OLS background is focused more on that performance piece. OLS does that exceptionally well; we are training our graduates to perform within organizations. Something I feel we don’t emphasize enough is that learning is key to that performance. Both are vital to each other.

Outside of Purdue: I like the outdoors. I like hiking and camping, and I really enjoy history. For several years now I’ve done a lot of volunteer work at the Feast of the Hunter’s Moon. I volunteer in the blockhouse and talk about what this area was like to live in and what Fort Ouiatenon stood for, and I give an overview of local 18th century history. I think history is really fascinating. If I can pass it on to others, it is a useful way to spend my time. I’ve also recently started brewing my own beer.