Mukesh Bhargava hasn’t been in school since two weeks before spring break.
Bhargava, an associate professor of marketing at Oakland University, recently took a medical leave from his teaching position.
Two weeks before break, students in Bhargava’s classes received an e-mail saying that he was taking a medical leave of absence.
When Sheri Profant, a senior marketing major, heard about Bhargava’s condition, she joined with other students in her class to attempt to come up with a plan to show the professor they were thinking about him.
“In order to mitigate the number of individual e-mails that he was receiving from students, I thought it would be a good idea to start a blog where students could leave their well-wishes all in one spot and that he could easily visit when he was feeling up to it,” Profant said. “Also, for the students that were in his Internet Marketing course, they know that the use of social media was the best way to reach out to all of his students, both current and past.”
Using the information they learned in Bhargava’s Internet Marketing course, they created a blog called “Thinking of Mukesh” for students to share their thoughts with the professor.
One of the students she enlisted to help with the site was Brian Nguyen, another senior majoring in marketing at OU.
“My original thought was that students would just leave a short message that said ‘get well’ or ‘thinking of you,'” Profant said. “However, much to my surprise, students are leaving heartfelt statements that detail the impact that Mukesh has had on their lives. I have even been contacted by a former student who lives out of state asking to be added to the blog because Mukesh is the reason she even has a job today.”
Since the blog was created on March 13, several students have already shared their thoughts about Bhargava.
Students frequently mention how his style of teaching has influenced their academic careers.
“You challenged us with every class to not just live for today, but plan for a bigger, better and brighter future,” Kaja Mitevska wrote on the blog.
She also credited her academic achievements largely to Bhargava’s work.
“I’d like to thank you so much for everything you’ve done to contribute to your student’s successes … mainly my own,” Mitevska wrote. “Without your letter of recommendation, I doubt I would have received last year’s Adcraft scholarship or one of the SBA (School of Business Administration) scholarships. Without those, I’m not sure where I would have been this year.”
Nguyen also credits much of his academic success to Bhargava’s teaching style.
“He doesn’t focus just on tests and what you score,” Nguyen said. “He focuses on critical thinking and helping you learn as a student and evolve. He’s very active in his students’ lives.”
He also said Bhargava has been a mentor for him for the past two years.
“We just want him to know that he really has touched our lives and to me he’s been a mentor for the past couple of years,” Nguyen said. “I definitely wouldn’t have the GPA as high as I do or be as interested in school.”
Profant said the focus of the blog is to let students show support for Bhargava.
“I think that the main goal of the project is for Mukesh to realize how influential he has been in so many students’ lives,” Profant said. “The number of students, both past and current, rallying together for him is incredible. We all miss him terribly, but right now, we just want him to be able to look at the blog, and realize that he has a team of supporters behind him.”
Those who want to share wishes with Bhargava should visit thinkingofmukesh.blogspot.com.
“I just want to let him know that he’s an amazing, amazing person,” Nguyen said. “I have learned so much from him and without his advice and guidance I definitely wouldn’t have been able to use my potential talent. I’m so thankful I had a professor like him at OU.”