Showing posts from May, 2011

One 50-Miler down -- More To Come

I finished my 50 miler, and in fairly good shape, too. It took just about 3 hours 20 minutes, which is a bit more than I expected. I'd hoped to take it easy for the first 30 miles or so, but there were a couple of hills (one at 5 miles, and another another at 17 1/2) that were pretty stiff. Since my heart rate was up to 160 by the top of each hill, I knew I was in for a long ride. Then, to add insult to injury, there was another hill at about 30 that felt like I was riding up a telephone pole for about 2-300 yards. Oh, what fun. Ah well - next year I'll know to spend a lot more time working on hills beforehand (it's flat enough near Unknown University that I don't see a lot of hills unless I want to). The legs aren't too bad right now, but I can tell tomorrow will be a real treat. Next stop - a century!

How Do You Know How Your Program Is Doing?

I had a great time last week attending the Teaching Summit put on by the Lebow College of Business at Drexel University. Dr. Thomas Hindelang was a wonderful host and I was so pleased to have the opportunity of presenting the opening keynote address. It is hard to boil a 45 minute speech down to a sentence or two but my primary theme was the disconnect between what colleges and universities claim to accomplish and what the new book Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses (Arum and Roksa) says that we are actually accomplishing. I then described six steps that I felt we (as faculty) needed to consider if we were going to fulfill the promises being made to our students. I might write more about those thoughts later but that speech was not the purpose of this post. After giving my opening remarks, I attended a number of paper presentations at the conference. One of my favorites was Feedback from Alumni and Employers Guiding Assessment of Business Curricula b

Another Good Ride

I did a 34 mile ride today - my longest so far this year. I've been using a heart monitor for a couple of years, and every year, it takes me a while to realize that I should pay attention to it - when I keep my pace slow enough in the early miles that my heart rate stays below 135 or so, a couple hour ride becomes pretty easy. About time - my ride for the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp is only 7 days away.

Stick A Fork In Me!

I'm done, done, DONE with grading for the semester. Now there's nothing left to do but wait for the complaints. Ah well - that I can deal with. For a reward, I spent the night spent reading an anthology of short stories titled Strange Brew by P.N. Elrod (author of the Vampire Files). It includes stories by some of my favorites, including Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs, and Charlaine Harris, among others (what can I say - I'm a big fantasy/sci-fi nerd). On the biking side, there's been nothing but rain for the last few days, so I went to the gym to use the exercise bike for about 40 minutes. It's a poor substitute for having wheels on the road, but my 50 miler (the Angel Ride ) is only 11 days ahead, so it's better than nothing. Enough goofing off - back to research. Update : The rain stopped, so I got in another 26 miler. I rode like a circus bear on a bike, but I was still within a minute of my best time, so I'll take it. The good news is that I see

It's Time To Bring The Crop In

It's that time of the semester - exams are done, projects are in (with one exception) and it's grading time. Some highlights/low lights: My Student Managed Investment fund was a weak group, and they never seemed to "get with the program". As a result, they did a lot of the work for the end-of-semester presentation to our advisory board in the 11th hour. Having said that, they did a pretty good job in the presentation. Not as good as last year's group (that was probably my strongest group in the last 5 years), but good enough My Investments class did terribly on my final exam. On the one hand, it means that grades will be lower than expected. On the other, since grades will depend a lot on the curve, it allows me a lot of flexibility. I have THREE students that will be returning for my student-managed investment fund class next semester (they're three of the better ones, too). This makes my job a lot easier. On non-job related things, I'm mostly t

In Case You Are Interested - Part II

I have the honor of being the opening keynote speaker on May 20 for "Teaching Summit 2011" being presented at the LeBow College of Business at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA. They have a great group of papers and presentations scheduled on all aspects of teaching and learning. If you are interested in the possibility of attending, registration information is available at

Worth Reading

I discovered long ago that I did not have many clever and creative ideas. However, I also discovered that if I paid close attention, I could steal wonderful ideas from some of the greatest minds around. I was reminded of this recently. One of the readers of this blog sent me a link to a great article on the teaching and learning of math. She said that she thought I would find it interesting because I was always curious about education. And, she was absolutely correct. It is well worth reading and pondering. Several parts of this article really caught my attention. They are the parts that I’ll probably steal in the future. In fact, here are five thoughts that I plan to steal (borrow) and apply to my own teaching. (1) – The subject of the story has an absolute certainty that students can learn math. In fact, he says so “’Almost every kid — and I mean virtually every kid — can learn math at a

In Case You Are Interested

I was talking recently with a friend who asked something like: "You have had nearly 33,000 page views on your teaching blog. Which of your entries have drawn the most traffic?" In truth, some entries have had almost no readers while others have had thousands of page views. Not really sure what makes such extreme differences. If you want to go back and check to see the most popular entries over the last 16 months or so, here they are. 1 - What Do We Add? July 22, 2010 2 - Big Mistakes March 26, 2011 3 - Need Some Inspiration? September 13, 2010 4 - What Do You Tell Your Students? August 19, 2010 5 - The $10 Million Question January 16, 2011 6 - The Opening August 24, 2010 7 - Using Power Point Slides March 17, 2010

FMA Decisions Are Out!

I just heard from a coauthor - we got a paper accepted at the Denver FMA meeting in October. The idea resulted from taking an idea we'd been working on and applying it to another data set we had available. It's funny - we submitted two papers: this one was an early version, and the other was pretty much finished. However, to be fair, the results on this one were more interesting. And since we'd already gotten one paper on the program, we were actually glad we got the second one rejected - doing two papers at a conference means there's less time for catching up with friends. This tale of two papers reminds me of a piece I read a while back (unfortunately, I can't recall its title). It discussed how there's a trade-off in research between "newness" and "required rigor". In other words, if you're working on a topic that's been done to death (e.g. capital structure or dividend policy), you'll be asked to do robustness tests ou

My Latest Problem

In every job, problems arise and, unfortunately, there are not always great solutions. I ran into a problem on Saturday and I wasn’t sure what to do with it. When you are dealing with a group of college students and the decisions you make are important to those people, inconsistencies can drive you crazy. I have two Intermediate Accounting II classes this semester. At many schools, Intermediate II is considered one of the most challenging courses in the entire university. Consequently, the grade in that class is often viewed as extremely important to the students. The difference of one letter grade can have major implications in the direction of a career. Our final exam schedule this semester ran from Monday morning at 9 a.m. until Saturday evening. As luck would have it, one of my Intermediate II classes had its final exam in the very first slot from 9 until noon on Monday. The other class had its exam on Friday evening from 7 until 10 p.m. Because my classes were small

Journal Of Undergraduate Research In Finance

There's a new journal out geared towards undergraduate research. It's called (appropriately), The Journal of Undergraduate Research In Finance . Here's it's description: The Journal of Undergraduate Research in Finance publishes original work written exclusively by undergraduates. Accepted articles are largely the result of the highest quality senior or honors theses. Articles come from all areas of Finance, case studies and pedagogy. All articles are subject to blind review by faculty. The JURF exists to encourage exceptional undergraduate students to pursue high quality research in Finance, to provide these students with an outlet for their research, and to prepare these students for success in graduate school or industry. To maintain a focus on contributions made by the students, faculty involvement is limited to the guidance typically given during the writing of a senior thesis. Initial submissions must be made while the author is an undergraduate studen

Congratulations!!! You Did It!!!

Today is one of my very favorite days. I finished my grading. Then, before I turn in the final grades, I write each student who made an A to personally congratulate that individual. For someone who works that hard and did that well, I think something more than an anonymous grade report is appropriate. So, I wrote out the following letter and then emailed it to each student who made an A. I very much like doing this. It makes me smile. I have worked with these folks for months and they responded to my challenge. I get a real thrill from being able to let them know that the work was worth it (in my opinion) because they received the highest possible grade. A is for Excellent!!!! Mr. or Ms. XXX, I wanted to let you know that I have finally completed the grading for Accounting 302 and you have earned the grade of A for the spring semester. Congratulations!!! As I am sure you are aware, it is a very challenging course. It is a course that requires a lot of work and