Yseth offers new, beneficial teaching styles

Jen Jungwirth

Jen Jungwirth

Brookings resident and former restaurant manager Tom Yseth provides a unique perspective in the classroom for SDSU students after owning and managing the Ram Pub for 33 years.

He acquired his bachelor degrees in both economics and accounting; however, after working within the hospitality industry, in 2005, he decided to sell his business and try something new.

“I have a real yearning to educate and work with young people,” he said. “I gave a lot of my young employees managerial positions.”

With an extensive history in the food and hospitality industry, Yseth wanted to give students a “real-life spin on what’s in the books.”

Yseth was hired as an emergency lecturer for the 2006/2007 fall and spring semesters, due to a shortage in the hotel and food service management department.

“This is a growing department,” he said.

Yseth teaches leisure management and professional meeting management this semester; and in the spring, he will instruct hospitality marketing, cost controls in hospitality and responsible beverage management.

With such a drastic change in environment, Yseth has found a few challenges.

“I’ve always been a control freak,” he said. “I’m used to telling, not asking. Also, there are more passwords than ever before, and books I didn’t write or pick.”

In order to operate smoothly, Yseth encourages students to give their input and suggestions on approaches to class lectures.

“I’m learning with the students,” he said.

He admits he still hasn’t quite yet developed a teaching technique. In order to prepare, Yseth took a one-credit syllabus and lesson plan course in Pierre.

“There are tricks to teaching,” he said. “I am struggling more than I thought.”

Yseth said he doesn’t know how to deliver quizzes and tests, and he doesn’t like to be subjective when it comes to grading homework.

“I’m kind of making it up as I go,” he said. “I’m adjusting the material to what I find important.”

Yseth said he has a respectable amount of students in his classes, some with 41 and another with 28. However, he agrees they are eager, and he “really enjoys their enthusiasm.”

Yseth misses working with young people just starting their careers. Teaching food and management classes allows him to continue doing that.

Junior hotel and food service management major Brittany Pedersen has class with Yseth, and she finds his teaching style beneficial.

“I like that he has had real-life experience within the industry,” she said. “He uses it within his lectures and it brings about a whole new perspective. There is nothing better than that.”

Once the year is over, Yseth may decide to obtain his master’s; however, at the time, he’s not worried about it.

“I want to see if I survive the year or semester first,” he said. “If I deliver a good product, then I’ll see what my choices are.”

If Yseth does not continue teaching, he said his “entrepreneurial vein” is still there, and he may try to get another business position.

“I saw this as an opportunity. I’m 58, and it’s not something I’m going to do when I’m 70,” he said. “You only live once, so I gave it a whirl.”

Yseth has been a Brookings resident for 35 years. He moved here in 1971 after graduating from Saint John’s University in Minnesota.

Besides a desire for educating students, Yseth enjoys hunting, fishing and golfing.

He is married and has three daughters.

#1.884275:2126384516.jpg:tomYseth2.jpg:Professor Tom Yseth introduces a guest speaker during his class on Monday in the NFA building. :Christy Wey