James Duff, OSU Institute of Technology alumni and Electrical Construction instructor, never thought his passion for learning would lead to the front of the classroom.
“Attending college as an older student, I naturally fell into a mentor role and would pour into my classmates, give advice, and try to build them up before interviews. I found it rewarding to be there for others as a mentor. As an instructor, I enjoy seeing that light bulb moment when they grasp the concepts I am presenting.”
Duff’s most recent degrees were earned at OSUIT with a Bachelor of Technology in Applied Technical Leadership and Bachelor of Technology in Instrumentation Engineering Technology, where he was recognized for his military service and outstanding grade point average.
But this isn’t the first time Duff walked the stage in Covelle Hall. In 2005 he completed the Air Conditioning & Refrigeration program, secured his HVAC certification and used his knowledge to serve in the Air Force before returning to OSUIT as a full-time employee while working on his Bachelor programs.
In 2019, while working as a plant service technician on campus, Duff was presented with a League Excellence Award for his cost-saving efforts in the PSO Energy Rebate program.
“I strive for excellence in my life and want to make a positive impact on others. It is nice to know someone has taken notice and appreciates my hard work and dedication to the campus,” said Duff when presented with his award.
The desire to positively impact others is just one of the reasons he can be found in the classroom again, this time instructing students and preparing them for the industry.
“I try to combine my diverse background with my leadership skills, military experience and discipline practices to show students how important it is to treat the classroom environment like work,” said Duff.
He recommends OSUIT, and specifically the Bachelor of Technology in Applied Technical Leadership, to others because of the quality of the program and the commitment of instructors to students. They understand daily demands on students outside of their school work.
Although Duff came to campus with leadership skills, he states he left with business knowledge and soft skills that ties all the loose ends together.
“I believe that as an instructor I have the opportunity to contribute to my student’s success,” Duff said, “Ethically, it is up to me to step up and talk to students, make sure they graduate, and take time to invest in them, many may never have had anyone that has ever done that with them before,” he continued.
The advice he has for others is to stick with it, be prepared to make sacrifices and miss out on a few things along the way but to avoid procrastination because all your hard work will provide you with a better life and financial freedom.