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Seattle University


Superlative scholarship

Written by Mike Thee
April 22, 2010

A study published by three SU faculty has won the prestigious 2010 McGraw-Hill and Magna Publications Scholarly Work on Teaching and Learning Award. The Albers School’s David Carrithers, senior lecturer in finance, and Teresa Ling, assistant dean and senior lecturer in economics, teamed with John Bean, professor of English in Arts and Sciences to write “Messy Problems and Lay Audiences:  Teaching Critical Thinking within the Finance Curriculum.”


The study was submitted for consideration by the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. David Green, the center’s associate director, says the award shows that “Seattle U not only has fantastic faculty who engage their students in deep learning, but that the faculty are also turning those teaching experiences into award-winning research.”


The trio was informed of the award in a letter by Maryellen Weimer, editor of Teaching Professor, a highly regarded writer on teaching and learning. “There were more than 100 different articles submitted for review,” she wrote. “Yours was chosen by a committee consisting of editors of pedagogical periodicals, authors of books on teaching and learning, and faculty developers.


In their article, Carrithers, Ling and Bean investigated the critical thinking difficulties of undergraduate finance majors when asked to address ill-structured, “real-world” finance problems. Students were asked to assume the role of a financial professional, analyze an ill-structured problem involving a business investment (whether a small company should add a new product line) and recommend and defend a course of action to a non-expert audience (a married couple which owns the business).


“Your article is a wonderful model of how writing can be used as an assessment tool and to develop writing and critical thinking skills. It also demonstrates how the right kind of data can motivate faculty to make important curricular changes. Clearly it’s a model of interest and relevance to many different departments.”


Carrithers and Bean are planning to travel to the Teaching Professor Conference in Cambridge, Mass., in May to accept the award on behalf of the triumphant triumvirate.


The article is available at