Diversity brings unity. That’s Computer Systems Institute instructor D. E. Simmons’ core philosophy for both teaching and in life—and it was diversity that drew him to CSI long ago. Now, having guided many students to professional and personal success over the years, D. E. Simmons shared with us his journey to CSI and what makes him so passionate about CSI’s students, faculty, and mission.

D. E. Simmons first took us back to how he first learned about CSI. At the time, he was an Independent Consultant in Performance Management at Accenture, where he taught strategy. One of his students was a dean at CSI, and so he became acquainted with the institute’s unique programs. That student and dean eventually invited D. E. Simmons to join the faculty and bring his expertise in business and marketing to CSI’s students, many of whom came from other countries.

“I was attracted to the international population of students,” he recounted, adding that it offered a “very unique value proposition.” Of course, he accepted the invitation and saw it as a “natural progression to move toward CSI.”

As an instructor of marketing and business at CSI for seven years now at the Chicago, IL campus, D. E. Simmons has only grown more passionate about teaching and guiding international students. His classes become not only a place for learning practical career skills, but also a place for students to learn more about each other and about integrating to life in a new country.

He strives to teach his students that “diversity and representation actually do matter because that’s what makes America strong” and that “their experiences is what makes them unique.” Yet at the same time, D. E. Simmons reflected, “What you see is it’s generational around the world.” He finds it encouraging that students of similar ages who came from very different cultural backgrounds often have much in common with each other and even Americans of the same generation.

Beyond fostering diversity and unity among international students in his classes, D. E. Simmons also brings his own life experiences to the curriculum. One example is with his current work as Executive Director for the non-profit organization Diasporal Rhythms.

“I can show what I’m actually doing in real-time in real life,” he shared, explaining the ability to show his students the process of working with marketing, branding, and donors to build a facility for operations for his non-profit. This gives his marketing and business students a unique opportunity to see what they’re learning in action and how they can apply the same strategies to their own future careers.

This hands-on approach is shared across the faculty at CSI. In fact, it’s what D. E. Simmons sees as one of CSI’s greatest strengths. He encourages students to see that “instructors are an additional resource for them”—not only for the curriculum, but also for personal guidance. He’s seen many international students who may not have anyone else to talk to about their struggles when it comes to living abroad and trying to assimilate into a new culture. D. E. Simmons firmly believes the CSI faculty is “second to none” when it comes to supporting students in all their needs. 

CSI is proud to be celebrating its 35th anniversary guiding students to successful careers in business, healthcare, and information technology. Are you interested in learning from our highly experienced and passionate faculty like D. E. Simmons? Whether you’re an international student or live locally to our campuses in Massachusetts or Illinois, you’ll find the support you need with CSI to kickstart an amazing career. Visit our admissions page or call 847-967-5030 to learn more!