George Abie Williams, a leader in wealth management for Stifel Nicolaus in Radford, Virginia, believes in serving not only his clients but also the community as a whole. For this reason, George Abie Williams is on the board of trustees for Piedmont International University, a Christian institution, in North Carolina.
Piedmont has piloted an educational philosophy that it calls “flipping the classroom.” This means that students receive basic information about subject matter outside the classroom via videotaped lectures and other presentations. During in-person class time, they can debate or discuss the meaning and implications of the content.
Six pilot courses began in spring 2014, using a distance education model. Students participated at the Winston-Salem campus or from Africa or Europe. Leading faculty prepared curriculum material in advance for students to interact with.
One of the pilot courses focused on the Book of Acts. As students studied the passages and prepared questions, they consulted experts who showed them how to use various resources to find meaning in the ancient texts. Students competed in peer-judged contests to see who could create the best lesson plans, speak most effectively, and devise the best examples.