John Pendola, information systems and operations management adjunct, has been teaching at George Mason University’s School of Business for the last 20 years. The university recognized his commitment to teaching and enhancing the lives of students when he was awarded the Adjunct Faculty Service Award. Only two to three adjunct faculty members across the university are recognized with this honor each year.
Amit Dutta, information systems and operations management professor and area chair, said Pendola is well deserving of university recognition because of his dedication to the success of his students.
“I have seen him give selflessly of his time and expertise for the last 20 years, and I am sure his numerous former and current students will join my colleagues and I in congratulating him,” Dutta said.
Pendola served in the U.S. Navy as a nuclear submarine officer, retiring from the reserves in 2004. Even while on active duty, he would seek out opportunities to teach. “Whenever I was on a shore tour, I’d go to the community college wherever I was and try to get a part-time teaching job,” he said.
Pendola started teaching at Mason in 1998 while working on his MBA. He was a graduate intern, and the first course he taught was Microsoft Excel on Saturday mornings. Upon graduation, he became a supporting faculty member and taught Spreadsheet Applications for Business, which he eventually helped turn into an online course.
In addition to teaching, Pendola worked as a government executive for the intelligence community, bringing more than 30 years of experience in management and technology to the classroom. He’s also an International Coaching Federation certified executive coach, a program that aims to help executives and leaders maximize their potential.
During his 20-year career at Mason, he has witnessed “significant and very impactful changes.”
“I think the quality of the School of Business has just been increasing every year. I think the quality of the faculty has been increasing every year. The students are amazing,” Pendola said.
His students consistently surprise him with their insights and Pendola loves learning from them. He cites Mason’s diversity as a tool for expanding world views.
“I think diversity in the classroom is helpful for everybody, particularly when you’re talking about business. You have a global perspective in your classroom,” he said. “I learn something about the world every semester that I didn’t know.”
Pendola said the most important lesson he teaches his students is how to be successful in the workplace. If they can master skills such as networking, negotiation, and building and maintaining relationships, then they’ve already “become more successful than they were the day before.”