Faculty Feature: Courtney Bergman
Courtney Bergman, a lecturer of marketing at the University of Minnesota Crookston, is no stranger to creative ideas. As a technology-savvy individual, her teaching style provides students a fresh look at the quickly evolving business atmosphere within organizations today. She began her career in the marketing field after receiving her marketing and management degree from the University of North Dakota. At that time, she focused on building her skills through her various positions at Verizon and the Grand Forks Herald. While working for Verizon, she enrolled in the University of Mary’s master of business administration (MBA) program to further her education in the business field. After completing this degree and thoroughly enjoying the program, she decided to work toward her doctorate of business administration degree from the University of Mary, which is the degree she is currently pursuing.
The teaching role was an acquired interest of Bergman as she began her career. During her time working in sales and management positions, she gravitated toward the training, coaching, and mentoring elements of her jobs. While working with others and helping them achieve success in their jobs, Bergman discovered she had a passion for educating others. Many of these positions were based out of Minneapolis, Minn., which made it difficult for Bergman to continue working while living in Grand Forks, North Dakota. She decided to look for a new job closer to home that allowed her to embrace this newfound passion for teaching. There was an opening for a faculty position at UMN Crookston for which she applied. Eleven years later, Bergman continues to enjoy her mentorship role at the university and the relationships she makes with her students.
“UMC is doing a lot of really great things these days. It is really fun to be a part of it and see how it has grown over the years and continues to do so.”
“I love my role in the classroom, but I also love the idea of mentoring and advising students, working with them on their internships, and making sure they have good experiences regarding the profession before they go into the field,” Bergman shared. Working with students allows Bergman the opportunity to get to know her students better as well as create connections with students that extend past their graduation date. Michael Larson 2019 was one of the students who Bergman remembers making an impact on her during her time as an educator. She recalls Larson enjoying the courses she taught, and he often visited her office to share his stories from the day. They continued to stay in contact after he graduated, and she enjoys seeing where his professional life is taking him. Students like Larson allow Bergman to see the power of education, and upon graduation, are great connections for current students to potential career opportunities.
Working at UMN Crookston has provided Bergman with experiences she surely will not forget. From a snake being brought into class as a prop for a sales pitch to fun business department parties concluding each semester, there is never a dull moment while working as an instructor. Out of the many memories Bergman has from over a decade of working at UMN Crookston, some of her favorite memories stem from attending the Sport Marketing Association (SMA) Case Competition for the past four years. The annual SMA conference is held at different places within the United States. In the past, Bergman along with Eddie Walker, Ph.D., associate professor of sport and recreation management, and a few marketing students have attended this conference in Dallas, Chicago, and Las Vegas. Bergman enjoys preparing the students for the competition, mentoring them with her own marketing background, and experiencing the new cities together.
Not only has Bergman contributed her mentorship and teaching to students, she also brings forth innovative ideas to the campus while collaborating with other faculty members. In a conversation a few years ago with Christine Bakke, Ph.D., lecturer of software engineering, they agreed students were interested in taking design courses on campus. At that time, there were no educational programs for students to gain the full graphic design experience they were seeking. As Bergman has seen within her own background, “there is a need in each industry for design skills.” After viewing the convergence between marketing, communication, and computer-based courses in relation to graphic design, these conversations led to the implementation of the new graphic design minor at UMN Crookston.
During the Fall 2021 semester, the first courses required for this minor were offered to students. Within the program, there are two marketing courses, two communication courses, two computer technology courses, and an assortment of electives to choose from. Bergman is the instructor for the two marketing courses within the minor, including branding and design and digital marketing. These courses delve deep into topics such as designing logos, websites, and display ads as well as promoting a consistent message to an audience through visual means. According to Bergman, any student who may be interested in adding new design skills to their existing major would benefit from this minor. She explains “students have to leave here being prepared to be super competitive in the marketplace, and I think this is one more thing that students get to say that they have experience in.”
Bergman enjoys watching how UMN Crookston continues to evolve while working for this campus. “UMC is doing a lot of really great things these days. It is really fun to be a part of it and see how it has grown over the years and continues to do so.” With new educational programs being implemented and becoming readily available to students, Bergman has both viewed and contributed to the growth of the university. Just like the steps UMN Crookston has taken to appeal to individual student interests, Bergman has illustrated her commitment to fostering a worthwhile educational experience for each of the students she encounters.
Written for the Spring 2022 Torchlight e-Newsletter.