Katherine Spicuzza, a junior pursuing a finance major and business law minor, took Rand Park’s Corporate Responsibility and Ethics class her first semester of freshman year, and she says it was everything she could have wanted from a college course. “It was rigorous and engaging and taught by an instructor who was passionate about education,” she says. “We didn’t waste valuable course discussion time with boring definitions. For the most part, students came to class already prepared with the basics, so we could focus on the analytical during the lecture. Coming to class with a basic understanding allowed us to have in-depth discussions beyond what a traditional classroom would allow.”
Spicuzza says classes such as ethics do lend themselves more readily to this engaged discussion, but she’s seen this format work just as well for a finance class. She mentions Carlson Growth Fund Academic Director Aamir Khan’s behavioral finance course, where he constantly showed real-time updates of different market phenomena, videos of debating hedge fund managers, and articles enriching the theories discussed in class. “Instructors like Rand Park and Aamir Khan take student learning to the next level by forcing students to apply critical thinking to new situations,” she says.
"It was rigorous and engaging and taught by an instructor who was passionate about education."
Discussion-based classes with weekly readings have been far and above her favorite courses, Spicuzza says. “They have been the courses where I’ve learned the most,” she says. “If the only content I’m getting is from reading the PowerPoint slides the professor posts or from taking notes on the reading, I’m not going to be incentivized to come to class and engage. I want an expert who takes the base knowledge I gleaned from the reading, extrapolates it, and introduces outside information to help synthesize what I’ve read.”
This feature originally appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of the Carlson School Alumni Magazine, which you can read here.