Meeting the Minds – Dr. Sunday Akin Olukoju

Dr. Sunday Akin Olukoju has been a tutor at Athabasca University since mid-2011. His courses include: GLST/POEC 230 (Globalization and World Politics,) POLI/GOVN/GLST 440 (Global Governance and Law,) and GLST/POEC 483 (International Political Economy: The Politics of Globalization.) Sunday tutors up to several dozen students in these courses.

Dr. Olukoju was recently interviewed by The Voice Magazine:

What makes Global and Legal Studies interesting for you?
The courses I tutor are lively, real, fun, informative, and engaging. I love to discuss current issues, to analyze and evaluate how events in the Ukraine could impact decisions in Canada or the US, for example.

What brought you to tutoring at AU?
Quest for knowledge: to learn, teach, exchange ideas, and grow as I tutor and help students succeed. I was a core faculty in a US university (2009 to 2010) and a Canadian university (2010 to 2011) before joining AU.

What are common pitfalls you see students running into?
Many are adult students who carry many responsibilities, so I’ve seen some of them devote far less time to school work. Procrastination is another one?many wait until the last minute to ask a question or submit a paper. Another one is the lack of logical organization of points in essays. Students should outline their points, reflect deeply on them, and analyze critically in the course of articulating their positions and points. But I must also admit that most of my students (former and current) are very articulate and hardworking.

What is interesting to you currently in your academic field?
Many things are interesting, but one that is currently the peak of the pack is the impact of globalization and its accompanying implications.

What are your interests outside of tutoring?
I love fishing. I spend a great deal of time with our two boys, driving them to soccer games. I write for a community newspaper, and I am also involved at the board/managerial level in a few non-profit organizations. So, volunteering is part of me outside of tutoring.

What is your opinion of AU’s move to e-texts so far?
I believe the move will serve the interest of our students well.

What is your opinion of the shift to the call-centre model?
While I am not totally sure of how the call-centre model will play out, I doubt if tutors will have enough time like we have now to assist students. I do not think the call-centre model will help our students a lot as they may lose the special touch of tutors, particularly as tutors spend many hours assisting students to articulate their essay topics, in addition to ongoing editorial assistance in many cases.

What are your thoughts on social media use at AU?
I think every avenue to get the information out or to pass the information around quickest should be explored. Social media use will definitely improve efficiency and effectiveness, all things being equal.

What do you think AU should be doing to improve itself in the future?
Invest more resources in students and teachers/tutors. Expand course offerings. Explore new markets. Partner with like-minded institutions. Devote more resources to research and professional training of staff and tutors.

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