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MSU Profiles

Student diversity instills newfound confidence in professor

"I go to work every day so thankful, I look up at this building and think, 'I can't believe my office is up there.' We have endless opportunities at Minot State," said Deanna Klein, business information technology professor and chair of the Department of Business Administration.

Klein's career didn't start in education, however. Working in the banking industry, Klein vied to work with MSU students.

"While filling the ATM on campus, I told my coworker, 'I will be working here at Minot State within five years, this is where I want to be," Klein said.

It was that same fall in 1992 that Klein's dream came true. Her former MSU advisor informed her the College of Business was hiring adjunct instructors for three classes, and Klein offered to take all three.

"My old professors were now my colleagues, and it was intimidating," Klein said. "But they embraced me and help me to succeed."

The Devils Lake native grew up in a college environment. Her father, Clarence Laber, was an administrator at Lake Region State College, where Klein earned her associate degree. She moved on to MSU, earning her bachelor's and master's degrees, and earned her doctoral degree online through Capella University, Minneapolis.

"I knew that higher education was where I belonged," said Klein.

Over the years, Klein noted a change at Minot State. The change had to do with diversity on campus, and the interaction between students, something of which she took a keen interest.

"The students today embrace these relationships now more than ever before," Klein said. "That goes for me as well. Working with international students has given me the confidence to go overseas and embrace their cultures and learn so much. So it worked both ways."

This newfound confidence has taken Klein to places such as Barcelona, Spain, Vietnam and Serbia, providing invaluable experiences and knowledge that she brings back to the classroom.

"I learned so much from all of my visits," Klein said. "On my most recent trip to Vietnam, I taught MIS to the students, and they were very intimidated as they are still very industrial. They took a particular interest in finance and banking, and I educated them about how cellular phones and social media tie into a business environment."

Klein's most impactful visit, however, was to a conference in Serbia. One of the conference's founding members invited her to participate in meetings with board members from the Serbian campus, and visit the village where they lived. She takes each experience back to the classroom, encouraging her students to embrace the global business economy.

"You get perspectives from all around the world and see how different cultures have access to information systems and how their economies utilize it," said Klein. "I never want to get stagnant as a teacher, and it's wonderful to be able to bring this information back to the classroom."

Klein's experience and connections she made in Serbia led to her most recent accomplishment - the Ben Bauman Award of Excellence at the International Association for Computer Information Systems Conference, which is awarded to a senior faculty with significant service to their profession, university and community.

"These board members have been my mentors my entire career, and I'm still learning so much," Klein said. "I'm so proud because the people I received it from mean so much to me."