Bobby Marino has been educating students for 31 years, and online teaching was a new adventure for him. As an adjunct professor at Youngstown State University (YSU), Dr. Marino is part of a team of instructors in the Master of Science in Education – Educational Administration online program.
While comfortable with the traditional in-person format, Dr. Marino was ready to move his course online.
“I had to change my ways of thinking to align instruction with the way today’s students expect the content to be delivered,” he said.
Dr. Marino currently teaches EDAD 7018: School Discipline, Safety, and Student Support Services: Policies, Programs, and Prevention Strategies in the online M.S.Ed. program.
Luckily, YSU was already moving toward an online platform, and the pandemic only acted as a catalyst to speed up the process. According to Dr. Marino, students quickly embraced the online program and liked that they could now complete a traditional semester-long course in a seven-week time frame.
Some Things Stay the Same
When Dr. Marino began teaching online at YSU, he decided to keep his usual routine — minus the 10-mile drive to campus.
“I like giving students a choice in terms of synchronous or asynchronous lessons and discussions,” he said. “Every two weeks, an online Blackboard Collaborate meeting option is available. Students also utilize email and messaging to communicate. Either way, I believe it is important to address student communication as quickly as possible, especially in a compressed seven-week course.”
Dr. Marino also serves as assistant superintendent for the Trumbull County Educational Service Center (ESC), which encompasses 20 school districts and 25,000 students. He enjoys sharing his experience and passion for teaching with YSU students in hopes that they, too, will end up with careers they love.
“It’s a joy to be able to work with the educators,” he said. “It’s fun. I love coming to work every day — I’m blessed.
“I was an elementary teacher, a middle school principal, and a curriculum director, so my craft has always been education.”
While in college, Dr. Marino spent one semester as an accounting major until he realized it wasn’t the right fit for him. After an introduction to education course, he was hooked and knew he had found his calling. Dr. Marino holds a bachelor’s degree in education, a master’s in educational administration, and a doctorate in educational leadership.
After earning his doctoral degree, Dr. Marino began serving as an adjunct at Notre Dame College before moving over to Youngstown State University — which felt very familiar.
“Interestingly enough, my bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate are all from Youngstown State University, so I’m a product of the university at which I teach,” he said.
Lots to Like at YSU
Dr. Marino enjoys hearing the differing viewpoints his student bring to class, often with a regional slant, on topics such as educational material selection or services delivery for a school or district.
“Opening up our courses to the nation, well, really to the world, has allowed for more diversity within our university. Online coursework lends itself to allowing the sharing of opinions and experiences from different folks — for example, the way a particular state approaches testing or instruction in a content area. These discussions add value and provide differing viewpoints,” he said.
He has enjoyed watching students graduate and become school administrators. He even sees some of them again when providing professional development at the ESC.
“One of the principal candidates in a recent course I taught was a former student of mine from YSU, and we were reminiscing about how my delivery is still the same — online or in-person,” he said. His students find his animated presentation style noteworthy.
“The computer doesn’t do it justice,” he said.
Making a Difference
Of the many accolades Dr. Marino has received throughout his career, three stand out to him.
In his second year of teaching, he received an A-plus Teacher of the Year Award in his county, based on student feedback that he was personable, engaging and made learning fun. The second award was initiated by a former elementary school student who credited his impact on her life and career. “World’s Greatest Dad” from his kids rounds out the trifecta of accolades that give Dr. Marino ultimate purpose.
“Those awards are a testament to the difference we can make in the lives of people without realizing it,” he said.
While Dr. Marino plans to continue being a public servant, president of the local city council and adjunct professor, he also looks forward to a future as a grandpa and a husband.
“There is no greater joy than being a grandparent,” he said. “I love my kids immensely and would do anything for my wife and kids, but having a grandson — aah, that is a special relationship.
“So long as I’m able to grow educational leaders and support teachers, thereby making a difference in the classroom, I’ll continue to do it,” he said. “When I’m ineffective at doing that, it will be time for me to say sayonara.”
It turns out the World’s Greatest Dad is also one heck of a professor. Farewell is a long ways away!