edtEd Stead – His Teaching

Ed’s father always wanted to be an attorney, and he almost made it. But the Great Depression snatched that dream from him; he had to quit law school in his last year because he had no money to continue. Even though he established a very successful real estate career after leaving law school, the regrets were always there. During his childhood of all the guidance Ed’s father gave him, the message delivered with the most passion was, “Find something you love to do. Don’t waste your life settling for second best. Find a profession that stirs your heart.” When Ed taught his first class at Auburn in 1970, he understood why his father had been so adamant with his advice. Ed’s heart was stirred and his passions were unleashed in the classroom that first day, and those feelings are still alive.


In structuring his courses, Ed applies a couple of fundamental beliefs. First, he believes that the long-term value of a course is significantly enhanced if students learn to apply the course content in a real world setting. Thus, all of Ed’s courses require his students to complete projects that directly apply the class concepts in actual organizations. Second, he believes that students learn best in courses that require them to speak and write about what they learn. Thus, all of Ed’s courses are laced with speaking and writing assignments that encourage students to organize their thoughts and think on their feet.

Ed has taught numerous courses during his career, including:

  • Computer Programming
  • Organizational Communications
  • Human Resource Management
  • Principles of Management
  • Training and Development
  • Strategic Management
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Organizational Theory
  • Organizational Change & Development
  • Business and Society
  • Strategic Environmental Management

Ed freely admits that he was a bright but lazy student for most of his high school and college years, and the shortcuts he took in his classes meant that he missed many important learning opportunities. It wasn’t until his junior year at Auburn that the light came on and he began to apply himself and use the gifts he’d been graced with to get the most out of his education. He says to this day that he spent his last two years of college making up for his poor performance during the first two years. That is why he challenges his students with courses that reward diligence and hard work. He finds that when students rise to these challenges they feel good about themselves and what they have accomplished. Ed has been recognized for teaching excellence over the years, but the recognition that means the most to him comes from former students who tell him that the lessons of hard work and diligence they learned in his classes are still important to them years later.