Monday, June 17, 2013
Commencement took place at Key Arena on Sunday, June 16th - Father's Day! Albers graduated 307 undergraduate students and 240 graduate students, who were among 1800 SU students graduating this year. The undergraduate ceremony took place in the morning. The graduate ceremony took place in the afternoon.
On Saturday afternoon, June 15th, Albers hosted a graduation reception for students and their families and friends. Over 650 students, family members, friends, faculty, and staff were in attendance to recognize our graduates.
A few highlights for Albers on graduation day included Ha Nguyen receiving the Provost's Award as one of two undergraduate transfer students (tied) with the top GPA. Ha is a finance major who transferred from South Seattle Community College and is from Vietnam.
MBA graduate Susan Weiss was the student speaker in the graduate ceremony. She works at Boeing and grew up in California and received her undergraduate degree at Cal Poly.
Kalison Shilvock received the Paul A. Volpe Award for the undergraduate business student graduating with the highest GPA. Kalison is a marketing and economics major. Thomas Smith received the Jerry A. Viscione Award, which goes to the graduating graduate student with the highest GPA. Thomas is a MBA student.
It is always bitter sweet for faculty and staff to see our students graduate. We have enjoyed working with them so much and will miss them when they are no longer on campus. On the other hand, we know they have to get out there and make the world a better place!
Congratulations and best wishes to our 2013 graduates! We expect big things from them and we know they will make us proud with their future contributions to the common good!
Friday, June 07, 2013
Diane Lockwood is retiring from SU after being a member of our faculty since 1981! Diane came to Albers to teach organizational behavior, but for most of her time here she has been teaching information systems. What happened?? Well, I learned what happened at a dinner we had last night in her honor.
In the early 1980's our accrediting body, AACSB, mandated that business schools begin including information systems in the curriculum. But Albers had no faculty trained in this area, and Albers was not alone. Other schools faced a similar situation, so AACSB put on a series of training sessions to retool faculty. When the call went out at Albers for volunteers to participate in the AACSB training, Diane stepped forward. The rest is history, but it shows that (1) Diane is willing to take risks, and (2) Diane is a team player and willing to do what it takes to make our program successful!
Therefore, we are very grateful for Diane's more than three decades of service to SU and we will surely miss her! That was the theme last night at the dinner as colleagues recounted how supportive she has been of them.
I recall that when I first joined SU in 2001, coming from Creighton University in Omaha, it was so comforting to discover that Diane was born and raised in Nebraska! Here was someone I could trust to tell me exactly what she thought with no "Seattle Nice" to muddy things up. It has definitely worked that way, right Diane?! :}
Over three decades, you get to teach a lot of students, and so in that regard Diane is leaving a very impressive legacy. Jeff Greenaway is one of Diane's former students who attended the dinner. He made the observation that Diane had not only had a profound impact on him, but also on many other people that she has never met. Why?? Because many of the things Diane taught Jeff, Jeff used in his work over the years. One example he cited was one of Diane's maxims - "In God we trust, everyone else bring data." :}
It turns out there was another former student at the dinner, namely her current colleague and co-author, Professor Terry Foster! Terry earned his MBA at SU and so was also a student of Diane's!
In her time on our faculty, Diane published more than 30 journal articles, which averages about one article per year. That is a great level of output to sustain over three decades at an institution such as Seattle U., one that stresses both good teaching and scholarship! Diane also received two teaching awards during her time at SU, and served as Department Chair and on numerous committees at the school and university level. Her excellence as a faculty member was recognized when she was named to hold the Robert O'Brien Endowed Chair in Business. We estimate she taught 15 different classes over the course of her career, which is a high number of course preparations for a faculty member. (Her former department chair, Pat Fleenor, claimed it was 14 more than he ever he did! :})
Diane is known for her passion for fishing, especially salmon fishing. A few of her colleagues alluded to this and we look forward to her tall tales now that she will have more time to pursue them!
Diane will be recognized as an emeritus professor at the upcoming graduation ceremonies on June 16th. Thank you, Diane, for your many contributions to Seattle University over the course of your career!!
Wednesday, June 05, 2013
Economics is Number One! On June 3rd, Bloomberg BusinessWeek ranked Albers number one in the nation among undergraduate business programs in the specialty area of macroeconomics!! What a great honor for our economics faculty! The ranking is based on student survey responses asking them to rank specialty areas on a scale from A to F. A few weeks ago, Albers was ranked #3 in the nation in the area of sustainability in the same survey.
What are some of the special things that characterize our macroeconomics courses? We offer a rigorous macroeconomics curriculum that focuses on both theory and its application. Our upper level elective courses apply macro models to economic growth, business forecasting, and financial market topics. Students are able to attend regional and national forecasting presentations and conferences such as meetings of the Seattle Economics Club featuring a variety of presenters, monetary policy simulations hosted by the Pacific Northwest Regional Economic Conference, and presentations by Federal Reserve representatives from the San Francisco branch. Albers economics students also have numerous networking and mentoring opportunities with professionals in the field by interacting with the Department of Economics Advisory Board.
Student members of the Omicron Delta Epsilon, the Economics Honor Society, help organize and attend panel discussions on campus related to current economic events, such as the Great Recession, regional transportation policy, economic forecasting, and, most recently, the debt crisis.
In other words, there is a lot that contributes to student satisfaction with our teaching of macroeconomics, not the least of which is the faculty who teach our macro classes - such as Dean Peterson, Meena Rishi, Quan Le, Vladimir Bejan, and Erin Vernon.
What needs to be mentioned is that some of the students in the survey took their Introduction to Macroeconomics course from me, yet the department was able to overcome my poor performance and lead the nation! Very impressive! :}
One advantage we have over other business schools is that economics is housed in the business school. On many campuses, economics is in the College of Arts and Sciences. Having economics in the business school encourages the economics faculty to relate macroeconomic topics very specifically to business issues. That is surely something that students appreciate.
Our Number One ranking is not a flash in the pan, by the way. In 2012, the same survey ranked us fifth in macro and in 2011 we were ranked 25th. This is out of the more than 500 AACSB accredited business schools in the US. The same for sustainability - in 2012 we were fourth in the nation and in 2011 we were ranked 17th. In both 2011 and 2012 we were ranked seventh in business ethics, but did not crack the Top Ten in that category in 2013.
In a previous blog, of spoken of the struggles we have to reconcile the rankings. On the one hand, our students, alumni, and friends in the business community get very excited about a ranking such as this. When we put out the announcement, we received a lot of congratulations from others. On the other hand, can you really figure out who is #1?? Someone has to be, and we are glad it was us in 2013!
To read the Bloomberg BusinessWeek story on our macroeconomics ranking, you can go to: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-06-03/the-best-undergraduate-b-schools-for-economics
To read the Bloomberg BusinessWeek story on our sustainability ranking, you can go to:
Thursday, May 30, 2013
Leo Hindery, Managing Partner of InterMedia Partners and
former CEO of AT&T Broadband and The YES Network, visited
campus on May 28th. Leo graduated from the Albers School as
an economics major in 1969, so it was great to welcome him back to
campus. He spent the day speaking to classes and finished off
as the final speaker in the 2012-13 Albers Executive Speaker
Throughout the day, Leo emphasized several themes that are import
to him. First, he is concerned about the decline of
manufacturing employment in the. US. He feels it is essential
in order to supply decent jobs and income to a significant share of
the population. He laments that the US does not have a
manufacturing policy and tolerates what he sees as unfair
competition from China. He notes that our manufacturing trade
deficit largely stems from China, yet we let China manipulate its
currency and heavily subsidize its industrial sector.
A second concern is the large federal deficit, which he ties to
excesses in defense spending, social security, and Medicare.
He noted how the deficits force us to borrow overseas from nations
such as China, but was unsure of whether that gave China leverage
on the US or the US on China. Either way, it is the case that
if a nation is borrowing from abroad a nation must run a trade
deficit -- the two go hand in hand, which is not a well understood
A third concern is the growing inequality in income and wealth in
the US. He focused on the outsized compensation of CEOs, who
on average earn more than 350 times what the average employee in
the firm makes. It was not so long ago when that was 75 to
1. He traced this to the rise of the belief that maximizing
shareholder value is the one and only duty of a firm, as well as
the rise of "trickle down" economics.
This has all been solidified with corporate campaign contributions
that distort the electoral process and are changing the
effectiveness of government. He estimates that in the 2012
campaign cycle $8.5 billion was spent by industry to influence the
He believes that growing inequality and loss of voice in public
policy are a civil rights issue. He feels that the SEC, FCC,
public pension plans, and civil rights groups all have it within
their power to challenge these trends and push back the
rising tide of inequality.
Later in his career, Leo has become identified with the Democratic
Party and like minded causes, so it was not a surprise that this
CEO did not sound like the typical CEO. Earlier in the day,
in answer to a question, he offered that one of his regrets is that
he did not take up these issues earlier in his career -- that he
was too focused on his business career. That may be, but if
he had not been working so hard and established the track record of
success he has, he would not have the same credibility and moral
authority he has today to speak to these important issues.
It was great to have Leo Hindery on campus and a great opportunity
for our students to hear from arguably one of Seattle University's
most influential alums. Leo recently had back surgery and we
may have asked him to do too much in one day, but he was a real
trooper and rose to the occasion. That shows his commitment
to SU is strong!
Thursday, May 23, 2013
The 41st Annual Accounting Awards Banquet was held on May 22nd. It is one of the longest standing traditions at SU and a strong testimony to the vitality of our accounting program. At the banquet, 22 students received scholarships, three received academic awards, and four received awards for their work in Beta Alpha Psi, the accounting academic honorary.
Those attending the banquet included over 100 accounting students, faculty, staff, advisory board members, and representatives from the professional community. The event is impressive in demonstrating the strength of our accounting students and the support our program receives from the professional community. The advisory board in particular has been extremely helpful in recent initiatives such as the valuation program and the move to establish an internal audit program.
Each year the Chair's Award goes to a student, staff member, faculty member, or professional who has provided exceptional service to the accounting program. This year's recipient was Catherine Banks, who represents Ernst and Young on the department advisory board and has chaired the board for a number of years. This award is very well deserved as Catherine has provided exceptional support to our program. Congratulations and thank you to Catherine!
Jani Medeiros, Administrative Assistant for the department, and Bruce Koch, chair of the department, did a great job of organizing and orchestrating the event. Congratulations to Bruce and Jani and to the department for maintaining this SU tradition for so many years!
Friday, May 17, 2013
The 15th Annual Harriet Stephenson Business Plan Competition took place on May 15th. The winning team was Recurrence, headed up by Albers alum Brayden Olson (BSBA, 2008) and MSF student Juan Arango. Recurrence is a game simulation designed to improve leadership skills. Interestingly enough, its initial target market is higher education - business schools! Recurrence has teamed up with professors from UW to design its first game and is looking for other schools to partner with. Maybe it will be the Albers School someday!
First runner up was Nutraberry, a supplier of raspberry seed powder and oil to be used as an anti-oxidant food supplement. The company has been developed by Albers alums David Wishnick (MBA, 2011) and Elana Lausberg (MBA, 2008), and is already shipping product to manufacturers.
The second runner-ups were Octave and Universal Charge. Octave is an app that teaches you how to sing. Universal Charge will provide a payment system to electric vehicle owners for use at charging stations. Octave was founded by five undergraduate students, headed up by senior Alex Tsway and including Brett Kennedy, Chenyu Wang, Michael Fogarty, and Thanh Huynh. Universal Charge was developed by Brett Phillips, a current MBA student. Octave took the Community Choice award at the finals, I am guessing largely on the strength of the interesting concept and Adam's authentic and congenial presentation style.
The business plan competition is a great learning experience for our students and involves many volunteers as judges and mentors. The deeper the students get into the competition, (which includes a trade show and elevator pitch competition) the more mentoring and coaching they receive, and the more powerful the experience. The many volunteer judges and mentors are an important part of that and it could not happen without them!
And let's not forget that sometimes these businesses become a reality - the students go out and start them! In the process, they will almost always get assistance from members of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center Advisory Board and other friends of Albers. For example, we estimate that students have raised over $4.5 million in start-up funding through the competition as investors are exposed to the concepts and want to back them.
The business plan competition was a big success in its 15th year. IEC director, Sue Oliver, and program administrative assistant, Nettasha Reese, did an excellent job of organizing the process. Congratulations to them!
Sunday, May 12, 2013
The 2013 Albers Award Ceremony was held on May
10th. Some 23 students received awards for
academic excellence, service, and leadership.
Some of the top academic awards included the Paul A. Volpe Award
for the graduating senior with the highest academic performance,
awarded to Kalison Shilvock. Ha Nguyen received the Academic
Achievement Award for the Outstanding Transfer Student. Receiving
the Jerry A. Viscione Award for the highest academic performance
among our graduate students was Professional MBA student, Thomas
The top leadership award went to Christopher Clem, who received
the Spirit of Albers Award, which is presented to the student who
best embodies leadership, enthusiasm, dedication, commitment to
service, and compassion towards others. Christopher, an
economics major, was recognized for his work for social justice
both on campus and overseas. This includes working with
micro-lending organizations both in Argentina and Seattle.
Receiving the top service awards were Jonas Harris, who received
the undergraduate award, and Daniel Klein, who received the
graduate student award. Jonas received his award for his work
with ENACTUS and Redeeming Soles. Daniel received his award
for his work to organize professional and social events for our
The awards ceremony was followed by the Beta Gamma Sigma (BGS)
induction ceremony. BGS is the academic honorary for business
students at AACSB accredited business schools. Some
25undergraduate and 42 graduate students were inducted. Dr.
Fred Dekay does a great job of organizing the BGS students and
getting them to accept the invitation to join BGS. Year after
year our chapter is designated a Premier Chapter by BGS because so
many of our students accept the invitation. Only our top
performing students receive an invitation to join BGS.
Dr. Peter Brous, Professor of Finance, received this year's BGS
Teacher of the Year Award. We also had four faculty members
inducted into BGS - Dr. Bonnie Buchanan, Dr. Holly Ferraro, Dr.
Jessica Ludescher, and Dr. Rubina Mahsud.
We are very proud of the academic achievements of our
students! Congratulations to all our awardees!!