Dr. Stephen Nowicki is truly one of the most influential thinkers, teachers, mentors, and role models a student could have the privilege of encountering at Emory. We were two of the lucky Goizueta BBA students to get into his highly sought-after Senior Seminar, Psychology of Leadership, in spring semester 2012. From the very first class until the day of graduation, Dr. Nowicki held us accountable for properly ending our relationships with and at Emory University. His class explored the concepts of the various stages of relationships, as well as the many facets of interpersonal communication. Each week brought on a new way of viewing and approaching relationships and endings, but there were three things you could come to expect each Wednesday morning: Professor Nowicki’s warm smile upon entering the classroom, a countdown on the board of days remaining until graduation, and always the question, “What have you done this week?” To answer this, we were expected to describe what elements of Emory and our relationships we had developed, and how we had approached the conclusion of these relationships since the previous class.
Throughout his course, Professor Nowicki touched base on a multitude of interpersonal skill sets and relationship fundamentals that we have found invaluable since graduating last May. Among these important lessons were a detailed overview of life stages and transitions, the significance of nonverbal presentation and interpretation, and the concepts of relationship stages. Understanding and absorbing these fundamentals were pivotal in our ability to successfully work in client-facing and team-oriented work environments upon graduation. Dr. Nowicki taught us the importance of aligning our nonverbal and verbal communication with others, as well as the value of recognizing the differences in viewpoints within the relationships we hold with coworkers, managers, and clients. Learning how to effectively communicate in the workplace prior to graduating positively impacted our work performance, approachability, attitude, and workplace maturity.
Dr. Nowicki is also a role model for balancing a happy and healthy personal life with success in his occupation. As ambitious, business-oriented students, it often felt as though we needed to make a choice between success in business or having a work-life balance. Dr. Nowicki was able to set an example by achieving both. His passion and thought leadership within his field, combined with the manner in which he described his family and best friends, inspired us to actively work on attaining the same thing in our own relationships. Instead of allowing us to maintain the status quo for our senior year, he encouraged us to explore and pursue our valued relationships to their fullest extent. We were urged to fully invest ourselves into learning and growing as a result of these relationships, whether they were friendships with fellow classmates, relationships with our favorite mentors and professors, or bonds with teammates or within our Greek organizations. Every lesson was based on research and products of leaders in the field of psychology — Dr. Nowicki had the ability to convert a 5 page research summary into a lesson that we will continue to think about for years into the future.
Without Dr. Nowicki’s class, our senior year would have been entirely different. He challenged our thinking and pushed us to reflect on our time at Emory in ways that made us better friends, students, and future employees. Dr. Nowicki is in a league of his own: he is able to stand within his academic community as an esteemed leader and expert, and he is the twinkle-eyed mentor every student hopes to have the privilege of running across at Emory. The seminar helped us to rediscover the beauty of our relationships at Emory and with the University itself, but, most importantly, it gave us the opportunity to get to know Dr. Nowicki as a mentor, teacher, and a near and dear friend.
Meghan Ewen, Assistant Account Manager, Razorfish Healthware
Natalie Schoenfeld, 1L, Baylor Law School