Meet Parks Newby ’74, ’75 MED: I Help Students Succeed Using Industry Experience

“I like to challenge my students with high expectations, with goals of personal excellence, and give them the tools to attain them. I challenge them with the concept that excellence is achievable, that even mundane tasks can be completed with excellence and professionalism. More often than not, the little things matter.”

This is part of a series of profiles of faculty who joined the NC State College of Education in 2018-19.

Parks Newby '74,'75 MED

Title: Teaching Assistant Professor
Department: STEM Education
Education: M.Ed. in Industrial Arts Education, North Carolina State University; B.S. in Industrial Arts Education, North Carolina State University
Experience: Adjunct Lecturer, Graphic Communications, North Carolina State University; Independent Consultant of Product Design, Product Development and Project Management; Manager of Product Development, The Steel Network, Inc.; Director of Product Development, Raleigh Precision Products, Inc.;  

Why I Chose the NC State College of Education:  I chose NC State when a senior in high school. Since then, NC State has been asking me to serve in various capacities. In 2004 while working as a senior project engineer for Delta Consolidated Industries, I answered a call for help from some friends and former colleagues who asked me to teach night sections of GC 120 when the person who had been teaching them could not continue because of family responsibilities. I am honored to be asked to serve again as a full-time faculty member after leaving in 1983 to pursue a career in industry. I look forward to this new challenge.

Why I Chose Industrial Arts Education: I decided to study Industrial Arts Education after attending an open house in the labs downstairs in Poe Hall in the spring of my freshman year. I was impressed by the projects that had been completed by the students that semester and even more impressed with the program after meeting and talking with the faculty. They seemed to really care about me as an individual and were happy to have me consider their program. I was an engineering student who was struggling with Calculus 2 and was discouraged about my future. Dr. Allen Bame, Dr. Tallmadge Young and Dr. Delmar Olson became not only my advisors and teachers but my friends and mentors. I fully expected to graduate and become a high school shop teacher, but after being offered an assistantship in the NC State College of Engineering, I decided to pursue a master’s degree. Upon completion, I was offered a position teaching Engineering Graphics with the Freshman Engineering Division. This group later became part of the NC State College of Education STEM Education program, so I am bookending my professional career teaching here.

My Research Interests: I am interested in the effective teaching and learning of technology and graphic science. I look forward to helping with the on-going research projects currently underway in our department.   

My Teaching Philosophy: “A wise teacher makes learning a joy.” That Old Testament Proverb sums up the foundation for my philosophy of teaching. This was demonstrated to me early on by my mother, who taught public school in North Carolina beginning in 1943 until she retired in 1980.  She loved her students and cared for them as individuals of worth. She always wanted her students to love learning, to enjoy the satisfaction of accomplishment and experience success in her classroom. She is still an inspiration to me in my teaching at NC State.  

I like to challenge my students with high expectations, with goals of personal excellence, and give them the tools to attain them. I challenge them with the concept that excellence is achievable, that even mundane tasks can be completed with excellence and professionalism. More often than not, it is the little things that matter.  

I try to make my classes as much fun as possible with as many hands-on experiences and real-world examples added to the usual mix of lecture and lab exercises. I also believe that as important as the discovery process is to learning, there is a place for the discipline of direct instruction in the teaching of graphic communications. This is important because regardless of their intended profession, it is necessary to learn to follow implicit instructions and to practice small tasks over and over until you do not have to think about how you do it. This part of my educational philosophy is a product of my experiences of teaching swimming and water safety in summer camps. If you start off with simple goals that allow the students to experience success that success leads to confidence and that confidence leads to setting and achieving more difficult goals.

As an undergraduate student, one of my education professor’s favorite sayings was that “if a student has not learned, the teacher has not taught!”  That was his challenge to his education students and still my personal challenge that I take with me to every class session.

Why I Returned to Teach at the NC State College of Education: As an undergraduate student at NC State, I valued the wisdom and insight of my professors who had earned their living by doing what they were teaching. I wanted to be one of those teachers, so when given the opportunity, I chose to leave the university to pursue a career in industry. I feel that my experience in industry now allows me to bring an enhanced value to my students’ classroom experience because I make my living using the tools that I am teaching. In many cases, I have been where my students want to go and I want to give them the benefit of my journey.