Timothy Aurand could have had his choice of careers in business, but growing up in the small town of Lena, Ill., he always saw himself working in one of two related fields – automotive or education.
He ended up doing both.
Immediately after graduate school, Aurand went to work for Caterpillar. His thirst for professional growth would eventually lead him to General Motors and Honeywell before graduating from NIU in 1996 with a Doctorate in Business Education with an emphasis in marketing.
Aurand began his teaching career at North Park University, and his real-world experiences provided his students with unique insights in the classroom.
“Teaching had always been in the back of my mind,” Aurand said. “It was always a toss-up what I enjoyed more, education or the automotive industry. But I’m passionate about teaching and about marketing, and students recognize that passion. They feed off of it.”
Current and former students agree.
“What I admire most about professor Aurand is his ability to stimulate students and his ability to add personality to the marketing material,” said former student Heather Priest, now assistant director of marketing for the NIU Convocation Center. “His dynamic teaching style naturally draws students to listen attentively to him.”
Aurand began his NIU teaching career in 1998. He has taught courses in business fundamentals and marketing principles at the undergraduate level, as well as courses in marketing management and brand management and marketing seminars for graduate-level students.
He prides himself on being highly accessible. This type of dedication is something Chandler Harnish, a former star quarterback at NIU, remembers vividly from a master’s-level course he took with Aurand..
“The key takeaway I had from that semester was the amount of sacrifice that Tim put forth to help me complete my projects,” Harnish said. “Many lunch breaks were cut short and many meetings had to be made after his normal office hours to help accommodate my schedule while I was playing for the NIU football team.”
During his 15-year teaching career, Aurand has earned multiple awards for his efforts in the classroom, but the Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching holds special meaning.
“This isn’t a ‘brilliance award,’ ” Aurand said. “It’s more of an appreciation for what I do, and I certainly have an appreciation for NIU students. They are amazing, and when you have students as good as ours, with the passion they have, it makes teaching fun.”