Monday, August 1, 2022
We are hiring for an open Assistant Professor of Business Systems and Analytics position.
We will consider lawyers/law professors with data governance/privacy law experience/research.
I am on the hiring committee; feel free to reach out to me with any questions.
Position posting here.
Friday, April 8, 2022
The NYU Pollack Center invites applications for a Wagner Fellowship for the 2022-2023 academic year. Thanks to a generous grant of the Leonard Wagner Testamentary Trust, the Center for Law & Business offers a one-year graduate research fellowship to help develop future law academics with an interest in the social control of business institutions and the social responsibility of business.
Applicants must hold a JD or LLM degree and have practiced law for two years. Preference is given to applicants with a research interest in the legal regulation of business and ethics, and to those who have a degree from NYU School of Law. Fellows are expected to make a full-time commitment to their graduate research at the center. Involvement in Pollack Center research ventures is required.
How to Apply:
Applications must be received by May 16th 2022. Applicants must submit the following materials*:
- Statement describing academic and research interests
- Proposal for the research project during the fellowship year
- Curriculum Vitae
- Law school academic transcripts
- A letter of recommendation
- A writing sample, preferably a scholarly paper written in the past two years
*Not all materials are required for every applicant. Please inquire regarding required materials.
More information is available at the Pollack Center Website. Please direct all materials to Stephen Choi and David Yermack, Directors. We prefer that you first e-mail materials to Anat Carmy-Wiechman at firstname.lastname@example.org, followed by a physical copy mailed to the NYU Center for Law & Business at 139 MacDougal Street, Room 116, New York, NY 10012.
Please direct inquiries to Anat Carmy Wiechman at email@example.com or (212) 992-6173.
Saturday, February 5, 2022
In 2013, acclaimed short-story writer George Saunders gave a commencement speech on kindness at Syracuse University. The speech went viral, the transcript landed on The New York Times blog, and the talk later became the basis of a book.
The entire speech is well worth listening to, but the gist is Saunders saying: “What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness.”
Oxford English Dictionary defines “kindness” as “the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.”
When I think of the profession of law, “kindness,” “friendly,” “generous,” and “considerate” are sadly not among the first words that come to mind. “Analytical,” “bold,” “competitive,” “critical,” and “justice” were the first five words I would use to describe our field.
As C.S. Lewis reportedly said, “love is something more stern and splendid than mere kindness,” but I am not sure love is ever less than kindness. There may be ways, as negotiation theory teaches us, to “be soft on the person, but hard on the problem.” We can tackle injustice with vigor, but be mindful of the people across the tables from us.
Pre-pandemic, I put a real premium on “tough love” and preparing students for the rigors of practice. While I still think there is a place for the critical and exacting skills that law training tends to emphasize, I also think we would all do well to increase our focus on kindness.
Monday, October 11, 2021
The University of Miami is accepting applications for a tenure-track faculty position within the Business Law Department at the Patti and Allan Herbert School of Business (MHBS) commencing August 15, 2022.
MHBS’s Business Law Department seeks applicants with experience and accomplishment in law scholarship, specifically in areas related to technology, data science, corporate governance, or sustainability. The position is open to those candidates with a law degree who have a strong research stream, or a well-developed relevant research agenda. A record of outstanding teaching or clear potential therefor is required.
The successful candidate will join a thriving Business Law department of 19 full-time regular faculty and instructors with varied scholarly interests, who teach a wide range of bachelors, masters, and executive level courses.
The University of Miami is a Carnegie comprehensive degree-granting research university with approximately 17,800 students and 16,400 faculty and staff. MHBS has approximately 4,000 total graduate and undergraduate students and is located on the University’s main campus in suburban Coral Gables, Florida.
Salary, benefits, and research support are competitive. Interested candidates should submit a letter of interest describing relevant qualifications and experience, detailed CV, as well as contact information for at least three academic and/or professional references who may be contacted.
Completed applications and any questions should be addressed to Professor Patricia Sanchez Abril, Chair, Business Law Department, Miami Herbert Business School, via email to BSLrecruiting@mbs.miami.edu. Deadline is December 1, 2021.
University of Miami is an equal employment and affirmative action employer and a provider of ADA services. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, ethnicity, color, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or identity, national origin, disability status, or protected veteran status.
Friday, August 6, 2021
Indiana University has a top-notch Business Law and Ethics department in their business school. I know a number of their professors and they would be fabulous colleagues.
The Kelley School of Business at Indiana University in Bloomington seeks applications for a tenured/tenure-track position or positions in the Department of Business Law and Ethics, effective fall 2022. The candidate(s) selected will join a well-established department of 28 full- time faculty members who teach a variety of courses on legal topics, business ethics, and critical thinking at the undergraduate and graduate levels. It is anticipated that the position(s) will be at the assistant professor rank, though appointment at a higher rank could occur if a selected candidate’s record so warrants.
To be qualified, a candidate must have a J.D. degree with an excellent academic record and must demonstrate the potential for outstanding teaching and excellent scholarship in law and/or ethics, as well as the ability to contribute positively to a multicultural campus. Qualified applicants with expertise in any area of law and/or ethics will be considered, and we welcome candidates with teaching interests across a broad range of legal and ethical issues in business, as well as research methods or perspectives, that would contribute to the diversity of our department and help usadvance the Kelley School’s equity and inclusion initiatives and programs.
Candidates with appropriate subject-matter expertise and interest would have the opportunity to be involved on the leading edge of a developing interdisciplinary collaboration between the Kelley School of Business and the Kinsey Institute, the premier research institute on human sexuality and relationships and a trusted source for evidence-based information on critical issues in sexuality, gender, and reproduction. Such expertise, however, is not required to be qualified and considered for the position or positions.
Interested candidates should review the application requirements and submit their application materials at https://indiana.peopleadmin.com/postings/11252. Candidates may direct questions to: Professor Josh Perry, Department Chair (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Professor Tim Fort, Search Committee Chair (email@example.com), both at Department of Business Law and Ethics, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University, 1309 E. 10th Street, Bloomington, IN 47405.
Application materials received by September 15, 2021 will be assured of consideration. However, the search will continue until the position(s) is/are filled.
Indiana University is an equal employment and affirmative action employer and a provider of ADA services. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, ethnicity, color, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital status, national origin, disability status or protected veteran status.
Wednesday, July 7, 2021
“Set me free from the laziness that goes about disguised as activity when activity is not required of me, and from cowardice that does what is not demanded in order to escape sacrifice.” Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation (p. 47).
Countless people reminded me how lucky I was to have my first sabbatical this past spring semester.
And I acknowledge my good fortune, not only for the change of pace, but also for the break during a difficult year.
But there was something uncomfortable about this past semester. I missed the classroom. I missed my colleagues and students. I missed my office. I missed my office calendar with multiple defined events scheduled throughout the day. I even missed my commute and faculty meetings. I missed--believe it or not--busyness.
While I had an endless amount of research and childcare responsibilities last semester, I realized that this was likely the least scheduled I’ve been since early childhood. For the first time that I can remember, I wasn’t constantly thinking about the next thing on my calendar.
I have always been fairly future oriented, and I think legal training makes you even more focused on the future. Good lawyers, especially good transactional lawyers, see around the corner, predict possible problems, and address these issues in contracts. Good lawyers tend to be planners with a high capacity for time management.
Prior to my spring sabbatical, I felt like my mind was always about 15 minutes ahead of my body. I didn’t even really realize this until I slowed down some during the sabbatical. The sabbatical allowed me, for the first time in memory, to be fully present. This full presence only happened in spurts, and it was both glorious and terrifying.
In Leaving the Future Behind, an essay in The Art of Loading Brush, Wendell Berry reminds us that the present is the only time we are alive. Preoccupation with the future, fearful worries or even hopeful wishes, threaten to draw us out of the present. And the present is where both good work and good relationships exist.
Without a doubt, we must still make time for planning, but this sabbatical started teaching me to cabin that planning time and to live more in the present than in the future. In addition, making time for silence is something I hope to continue. (I spent a day of silence at a convent in Dickson, TN and became a bit more consistent with taking a few minutes of stillness in the early mornings). Regular observance of outward silence--which is quite difficult with 3 young children in the house--can help cultivate inner silence and can lead to the mental stillness needed to reside fully in the present.
Tuesday, July 6, 2021
In 2008, my university (Belmont University) was supposedly the first to offer a social entrepreneurship major. Since then, not only have the schools offering majors in social entrepreneurships grown, but many schools have created centers, institutes, or programs dedicated to the area. Below I try to gather these social enterprise centers in universities. The vast majority are in business schools, some are collaborative across campus, and a few are located in other schools such as law, social work, or design. A few have a specifically religious take on business and social good. Happy to update this list with any centers I missed.
Lewis Institute at Babson https://www.babson.edu/academics/centers-and-institutes/the-lewis-institute/about/#
Christian Collective for Social Innovation at Baylor https://www.baylor.edu/externalaffairs/compassion/index.php?id=976437
Center for Social Innovation at Boston College https://www.bc.edu/content/bc-web/schools/ssw/sites/center-for-social-innovation/about.html
Watt Family Innovation Center at Clemson https://www.clemson.edu/centers-institutes/watt/
Center for the Integration of Faith and Work at Dayton https://udayton.edu/business/experiential_learning/centers/cifw/index.php
CASE i3 at Duke https://sites.duke.edu/casei3/
Social Innovation Collaboratory at Fordham https://www.fordham.edu/info/23746/social_innovation_collaboratory
Social Enterprise & Nonprofit Clinic at Georgetown https://www.law.georgetown.edu/experiential-learning/clinics/social-enterprise-and-nonprofit-clinic/
and Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation at Georgetown https://beeckcenter.georgetown.edu
Global Social Entrepreneurship Institute at Indiana https://kelley.iu.edu/faculty-research/centers-institutes/international-business/programs-initiatives/global-social-entrepreneurship-institute.html
Business + Impact at Michigan https://businessimpact.umich.edu
Social Enterprise Institute at Northeastern https://www.northeastern.edu/sei/
Center for Ethics and Religious Values in Business at Notre Dame https://cerv-mendoza.nd.edu
Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford https://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/research/centres-and-initiatives/skoll-centre-social-entrepreneurship
Wharton Social Impact Iniviative at Penn https://socialimpact.wharton.upenn.edu/
and Center for Social Impact Strategy at Penn https://csis.upenn.edu
Faith and Work Initiative at Princeton https://faithandwork.princeton.edu/about-us
Center for Faithful Business at Seattle Pacific https://cfb.spu.edu
Center for Social Innovation at Stanford https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/faculty-research/centers-initiatives/csi
Social Innovation Initiative at Texas https://www.mccombs.utexas.edu/Centers/Social-Innovation-Initiative
Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking at Tulane https://taylor.tulane.edu/about/
Social Innovation Cube at UNC https://campusy.unc.edu/cube/
Social Innovation at the Wond’ry at Vanderbilt https://www.vanderbilt.edu/thewondry/programs/social-innovation/
Program for Leadership and Character at Wake Forest: https://leadershipandcharacter.wfu.edu/#
Program on Social Enterprise at Yale https://som.yale.edu/faculty-research/our-centers/program-social-enterprise/programs
Wednesday, April 21, 2021
I’m finishing my second semester of teaching Legal Environment of Business, an introductory undergraduate business law course, asynchronously. One of the challenges of an asynchronous course is creating a sense of community among students. I’ve previously blogged about using negotiation exercises in my business law courses (here and here). In this post, I want to share with readers how I’ve continued to use such materials in my asynchronous courses to promote experiential learning and to create a sense of community.
Canvas is the learning management system for my courses. My asynchronous courses are organized into weekly modules. Students can find all materials for a specific week (assigned readings, videos, assignments etc.) in that week’s module. The feedback I’ve received indicates that students find this an easy to follow format. So, for any week in which there is a negotiation exercise, the students’ role assignments, the negotiation materials, and the assignment itself will be posted in that week’s module. For each exercise, I use Canvas groups to randomly organize students into negotiation teams. Use of Canvas groups also facilitate students’ ability to contact each other, coordinate their negotiation, and complete their assignment. I group students into a different team for each negotiation. Students can negotiate by Zoom or in person. I recommend that a date be set by which students must have a date/time arranged for the negotiation and the completion of the assignment. In the related assignment, students are generally asked to reflect upon the negotiation and to apply the related chapter materials to the negotiation context. Readers are welcome to reach out to me for additional logistical details/advice/assignment information. In the remainder of this post, I’ll mention a bit about each negotiation exercise that I’ve used in my asynchronous courses this semester.
House on Elm Street. I use this negotiation with the chapter on business ethics. It’s a great exercise and its free (thank you, Professor George Siedel)! It not only raises ethical issues, but it also powerfully demonstrates the importance of creative thinking and of understanding your negotiation counterparty’s underlying interests.
Waltham Construction Supply Corp. v. Foster Fuels, Inc. In this negotiation, Waltham trucking alleges that antifreeze purchased from Foster Fuels had a corrosive impact on its trucks. I use this negotiation with the chapter covering alternative dispute resolution because the materials themselves include both a bilateral negotiation and a video mediation of the case. Students can watch the video after the exercise to learn about mediation. Another great thing about this exercise is that once the video is purchased from Harvard’s Program on Negotiation (PON), you can use the accompanying negotiation materials without paying additional fees.
DirtyStuff II. In this negotiation, a variety of stakeholders are negotiating the text for an administrative agency rule set for proposal about the regulation of an industrial by-product. Naturally, I use this six-student negotiation in covering administrative law. I think it’s a great way to promote students’ understanding of the administrative rulemaking process.
Super Slipster. I love this negotiation because it reminds me of using backyard water slides when I was a kid! From a quick Google search, I see that these slides are way fancier now than back then (well, I guess it has been a few years…)! Fortunately, I don’t recall anyone becoming seriously injured from such products. Unfortunately, Adam Sidwell suffers serious injuries after using the Super Slipster, making this negotiation exercise a perfect accompaniment in covering tort law/products liability.
Finally, Harborco, a six-player negotiation about the building of a new port, is one of PON’s most popular exercises and generally a student favorite. It’s a great capstone exercise (I use it at the end of the course) and way to have students apply contract law in an experiential context.
Saturday, December 5, 2020
This coming spring, I am on sabbatical.
Typically, I teach 4 courses per semester – each with 5 to 8 decent-sized assessments. Among other responsibilities, I am a pre-law advisor for our undergraduate students. So the school year tends to be a bit of blur.
Our fall semester ended just before Thanksgiving, and I already miss teaching. That said, I do feel fortunate to be on sabbatical during what will be another hybrid-teaching semester for us. While hybrid, masked teaching was O.K., it did not hold a candle to typical in-person teaching in my opinion.
In any event, I have my main writing project for the spring (somewhat) mapped out, but would love thoughts on sabbaticals in general for those who have taken them. Some of my plans are a bit uncertain, given the pandemic. In addition to research/writing, a few things I hope to do are – take another Open Yale Course, connect/reconnect with business lawyers/judges in Nashville, and give a few presentations (if COVID allows).
Anyway, feel free to e-mail me here or leave a comment below.
Monday, August 17, 2020
On Saturday, I taught Business Planning to the Class of 2020 Professional MBA (ProMBA) Students in the Haslam College of Business at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. I have taught business law topics in this program for a number of years now and thoroughly enjoy it as a change-up to teaching law students. This class is no exception. And two of the students from this cohort plan to go to law school at some point in the next few years.
The class sessions on Saturday--four hours worth--were taught in a hybrid format, with some of the students in the classroom and some participating in the class remotely through Zoom. Starting Wednesday, I will be teaching my Business Associations class sessions in a synchronous hybrid flex format with half of the students rotating in and out of the classroom in accordance with a predefined schedule. The ProMBA program uses classrooms with technology different from that available at the College of Law, did not afford me Zoom hosting privileges that I have at the College of Law, and allows eating and drinking in the classroom. Nevertheless, parts of the teaching I did on Saturday are analogous to what I will be doing at the College of Law in my Business Associations course. Given that some of you also may be teaching in a similar format, I offer a few observations on Saturday's hybrid teaching experience here.
- Sanitizing: An abundant supply of sanitizing wipes were made available. The course administrator noted that she had sanitized my work station (podium, keyboard, mouse, mic) before I had arrived, but she was not offended when I also sanitized everything. A ziplock bag with a travel-sized bottle of hand sanitizer was given to me for my use during class (although I had brought my own). That was a nice touch.
- Hosting: I wish I had asked for hosting or co-hosting status for the class Zoom meeting room. I wanted to offer a short poll to the remote students, but there was a miscommunication between me and the program administrators. As a result, my poll had not been added to the meeting in advance. Also, when the course administrator put the remote students into breakout rooms for a class exercise, I was put into one room as opposed to being able to easily move between rooms. I worked around these issues, but I would have been able to smooth over these bumps in the class plan execution if I had been the Zoom meeting host or co-host.
- Producer: The course administrator served as a "producer" for the class session--a term that is being used to describe the person who is monitoring remote students for participant hand raises, questions, comments, technology issues, and course and college compliance. She sat in the back of the room and raised her hand when a remote student had a question or comment. At my request, she also conveyed information to the remote students through the chat. This worked well, although the chat comments and questions sometimes were predictably a bit out-of-sync with the instruction.
- Acoustics: The voices of the physically present students did not carry well in the room or through the room mics to the remote students. I tried to summarize or repeat the questions being asked or comments being made in the physical classroom since I was mic'ed.
- Masks: Mask-wearing was a somewhat sloppy/noncompliant. The masks of some students appeared to be too small to cover their mouth and nose. Students sometimes (inadvertently, it appeared) pulled their masks down off their noses or even down below their chins. They seemed to be unaware they were moving/removing their masks. When students wanted eat a snack or have a drink, of course, they had to at least move--if not remove--their masks to do so. For the most part, however, the students were not close enough to present a marked danger to me or each other. And there was no belligerent or other refusal to "mask up."
- Gathering: Humans are natural attractive magnets. During the in-class exercise, while most students in the classroom did as I asked and stayed in their seats or in other "eligible" seats in the classroom, I did caution one group to adjust their masks and distance themselves from each other because they stood up and moved to within six feet of each other. They seemed unaware that their masks may not have been fully covering their mouths and noses and that they had closed in on each other's space. (This incident occurred near the end of our third 75-minute session.) But I admit that the students did not look overly concerned that I was offering them cautionary instructions . . . .
I am sure there is more that I could think of if I put my mind to it. But this is the core of what I noticed. I did not sense that I was exposing myself to an uncomfortable level of risk. Teaching in a hybrid format with these ProMBA students (who by now know me reasonably well) was challenging. In the end, it was neither a bad teaching experience nor the best teaching I have ever done. But teaching and learning were happening during the class sessions. I hope that when I am teaching in my home space--with familiar technology, as the host of my class Zoom meetings, with no eating or drinking permitted in the classrooms--things will go a bit more smoothly. Fingers crossed!
Saturday, August 8, 2020
Some information for legal studies in 2019 and 2020. Please feel free to e-mail me with more information
New Hires (from the ALSB Newcomer List)
Michael Bell (New Jersey City)
Emma Best (Wake Forest)
Ilisabeth Bornstein (Bryant)
Amy Criddle (NAU)
Rustin Diehl (Weber State)
Terrence Dwyer (Western Connecticut State)
Sam Ehrlich (Boise State)
Mark Feigenbaum (Ryerson)
Valerie Flugge Goyer (California State-Northridge)
Laura Grow (Indiana)
Lindsay Jones (UGA)
Jeff Lingwall (Boise State)
Goldburn Maynard (Indiana)
Sharlene McEvoy (Fairfield)
Thomas Miller (Western Connecticut State)
Eric Sader (Indiana)
Sejal Singh (St. John's)
Christina Skinner (Penn)
Justin Pace from Western Michigan to Western Carolina (2020)
Jennifer Pacella from CUNY/Baruch to Indiana University/Kelley (2019)
Mike Schuster from Oklahoma State to University of Georgia (2020)
Charlotte Alexander - appointed Connie D. and Ken McDaniel WomenLead Associate Professor of Law and Analytics
Gerlinde Berger-Walliser (UConn) - promoted to Associate Professor (with tenure)
Cristen Dutcher (Kennesaw) - promoted to Clinical Associate Professor
Kelly Eskew (Indiana) - promoted from Associate Clinical Professor to Clinical Professor
Todd Haugh (Indiana) - appointed Weimer Faculty Fellow and promoted from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor with tenure
Jessica Magaldi (Pace) - appointed Ivan Fox Scholar and Professor of Business Law
Victor Lopez (Hofstra) - appointed Cypres Family Distinguished Professor in Legal Studies in Business
Josh Perry (Indiana) - appointed Graf Family Professor and Department Chair
Angie Raymond (Indiana) - appointed Weimer Faculty Fellow
April Sellers (Indiana) - promoted from Associate Clinical Professor to Clinical Professor
Wednesday, July 15, 2020
In a past post (here), I mentioned stumbling (thankfully!!) into teaching in the area of Negotiation and Dispute Resolution while a PhD student focused on financial regulation. For so many reasons, the opportunity to pursue doctoral studies in the Ethics & Legal Studies Program at the Wharton Business School was truly a great blessing! So, I’m delighted to share with BLPB readers that applications for the Program’s incoming class of 2021 are now being accepted. If you – or someone you know – might be interested in learning more, an quick overview is provided below and an informational flyer here: Download Ethics&LegalStudiesDoctoralProgram
The Ethics & Legal Studies Doctoral Program at Wharton focuses on the study of ethics and law in business. It is designed to prepare graduates for tenure-track careers in university teaching and research at leading business schools, and law schools.
Our curriculum crosses many disciplinary boundaries. Students take a core set of courses in the area of ethics and law in business, along with courses in an additional disciplinary concentration such as law, management, philosophy/ethical theory, finance, marketing, or accounting. Students can take courses in other Penn departments and can pursue joint degrees. Additionally, our program offers flexibility in course offerings and research topics. This reflects the interdisciplinary nature of our Department and the diversity of our doctoral student backgrounds.
Faculty and student intellectual interests include a range of topics such as:
- legal theory • normative political theory • ethical theory • firm theory • law and economics • private law theory • penal theory • constitutional law • bankruptcy • corporate governance • corporate law • financial regulation • administrative law • empirical legal studies • blockchain and law • antitrust law • fraud and deception • environmental law and policy • corporate criminal law • corporate moral agency • corruption • behavioral ethics • negotiations.
Tuesday, July 14, 2020
Earlier today (July 14), Fordham University hosted a webinar entitled Reopening Justly or Just Reopening: Catholic Social Teaching, Universities & COVID-19.
Speakers on the topic of the ethics of reopening schools include the following theology professors:
- Christine Firer Hinze (Fordham)
- Gerald Beyer (Villanova)
- Craig Ford (St. Norbert)
- Kate Ward (Marquette)
Christine Firer Hinze discussed Catholic Social Thought, human dignity, and solidarity. She reminded us that reopening universities is literally a question of life and death, but is also a question of livelihood. Gerald Beyer stressed looking to the the latest science and considering the common good (the flourishing of all). Craig Ford commented on the reality that some universities may be facing financial collapse, that the pandemic is likely to be with us for a long while, and that there are no perfect solutions. Ford also suggested a focus on protecting those who are most vulnerable. Kate Ward talked about moral injury, lamentation, and redemption. A question and answer period --- including on the topics of racial justice, transparency, shared sacrifices and mental health --- followed opening remarks.
Monday, July 6, 2020
What remains when the intoxicating distractions of life are removed?
I read both of these books on vacation at Ocean Isle, NC late last month; this was not exactly light, uplifting beach reading.
Before the plague engulfed the Algerian coastal town of Oran, Camus’ narrator notes that:
Our citizens work hard, but solely with the object of getting rich. Their chief interest is in commerce, and their chief aim in life is, as they call it, “doing business.” Naturally they don’t eschew such simpler pleasure as love-making, sea bathing, going to the pictures. But, very sensibly they reserve these past times for Saturday afternoons and Sundays and employ the rest of the week in making money, as much as possible . . . . Nevertheless there still exist towns and countries where people have now and then an inkling of something different. In general it doesn’t change their lives. Still they have had an intimation, and that’s so much to the good. Oran, however, seems to be a town without intimations; in other words, completely modern.
In sharp contrast to the citizens of Oran, Ben Ellis had steadier footing in advance of tragedy. Ben Ellis was a teacher at the private school connected to our church in Nashville (CPA). Our current pandemic has been clarifying for me in many ways, and it has convinced me that Saint Paul was correct when he wrote that faith, hope, and love are the things that remain. Ben Ellis was already building his life on those three things prior to his cancer diagnosis. As his condition worsened in September of 2016, over 400 students gathered outside of his home to sing worship songs with him. Ben Ellis died about 10 days later. Difficulties can clarify, and Ben’s death clarified that he spent his time focused on meaningful things outside of himself. Watch the clip below to see clear evidence of a man who loved God, his students, and his family well. (His daughter is so poised and thoughtful, and the headmaster obviously valued him).
But for many of the citizens of Oran, and many of us in the individualistic, materialistic United States, difficulties can also show that we rest on a shaky foundation. If we are focused primarily on financial success and personal status, something like a pandemic or cancer can destroy the entire endeavor in short order.
In terms of “success,” as it is typically defined in the United States, few could be said to surpass Doctor Paul Kalanithi. He followed an undergraduate and masters degree at Stanford University with medical school at Yale. At the time of his cancer diagnosis, he was in his last year of neurosurgical training as the chief resident back at Stanford University. But even with just a few months left to live, Paul went back to work. The purpose of work does not have to be centered on finances and status. In Paul’s case, he returned to work, I think, primarily because he was doing meaningful work with people he cared about. Impending death clarified that status was of little importance, and he turned down a prestigious and lucrative job offer far from family. I do wonder if he would have taken that job in Wisconsin, but for his diagnosis. From his writing, it sounds like he probably would and that may have been a mistake given his underlying priorities. We often lean toward finances and status, even if our highest priorities lie elsewhere. Hopefully, this pandemic can give us all some time for reflection and help us make decisions that elevate those things that are most important.
Monday, June 15, 2020
Recently, I listened to the NPR Hidden Brain’s podcast titled “Playing Favorites: When Kindness Toward Some Means Callousness Toward Others.”
This podcast hit on topics that I have been thinking about a good bit lately---namely selfishness, giving, poverty, family, favoritism, and a culture of “us against them.” This post only has the slightest connection to business, so I will include the rest of the post under the break.
Thursday, May 14, 2020
Details for the ALSB Annual Conference are here.
The organization is primarily geared toward law faculty who teach in business schools, but we have presenters from practice and law school faculties from time to time as well.
The call for participation deadline is June 1, 2020. And the virtual conference will be held August 2-7, 2020.
Sunday, March 22, 2020
In today’s post, I wanted to call BLPB readers’ attention to two blog posts related to current events that I've found helpful.
First, a few weeks ago, I was really excited to learn that Psychology Today had asked my OU management colleague Dr. Mark Bolino, the Michael F. Price Chair in International Business, to start blogging for them. He recently posted, Managing Employee Stress and Anxiety During the Coronavirus: Some practical, evidence-based advice for managers (here). Although the post’s target audience is likely business managers, I think its wisdom is applicable to a wide variety of work environments.
Second, University of Chicago Booth’s Initiative on Global Markets (IGM) has a Forum (here) on COVID-19 that’s definitely worth checking out. IGM Directors have also posted “Economic Policy Principles for Combating the Covid-19 Crisis” (here). A summary paragraph from this insightful document is below. Thanks to Professor Kathryn Judge for bringing the site to my attention!
We organize our discussion around three pillars. First, following the advice of medical experts, we must do all we can to spread out the number of infections over time, or “flatten the curve.” Second, policies should facilitate production and decision-making in a temporarily socially distanced world. Third, we should prepare to make the post-virus recovery as rapid as possible. Even though these three aspects of the policy response will play out in sequence, policymakers should start acting on all three now.
Tuesday, January 28, 2020
I promised to check back in after negotiating The House on Elm Street (here). I’m checking in! We negotiated this exercise – which contains both legal and ethical issues – in my MBA Business Ethics/Legal course this evening. It proved to be a great learning experience. My previous post mentioned that Professor Siedel had made its use easy by creating thorough teaching notes. And as I suspected, while it might be ideal to have students read a negotiation text or have a full 75 minutes to debrief the exercise, neither proved essential to a valuable learning experience. It also provided a great segue into agency law, another of tonight’s topics.
During our discussion of ethical issues, I mentioned Professor Clayton M. Christensen's How Will You Measure Your Life? This past week, this question became particularly poignant. Christensen, one of Harvard Business School’s leading lights, passed away at the age of 67. Several years ago, BYU Law School Dean Professor Gordon Smith and I started “The Business Ethics Book Club for Law Professors.” The wonders of technology enabled several of us business law professors from all over the country to gather virtually about once a semester for a few years to read books on ethics, including Christensen’s book, which were generally written by business school professors. It’s a short, but powerful read. I highly recommend it to all BLPB readers. My recollection is that it was a popular book club selection too!
In this book, Christensen (and coauthors) seek to answer three simple questions: “How can I be sure that”: 1) “I will be successful and happy in my career?”, 2) “My relationships with my spouse, my children, and my extended family and close friends become an enduring source of happiness?,” and 3) “I live a life of integrity – and stay out of jail?” (p.6) Christensen wasn’t a business ethics professor. Rather, the book’s prologue explains that one of Christensen’s courses was Building and Sustaining a Successful Enterprise, in which “we study theories regarding the various dimensions of the job of general managers. These theories are statements of what cause things to happen – and why.” (5) On the last day of the course, instead of using these theories to examine organizations, the class used these theories to study themselves: “We are there to explore not what we hope will happen to us but rather what the theories predict will happen to us, as a result of different decisions and actions…Year after year I have been stunned at how the theories of the course illuminate issues in our personal lives as they do in the companies we’ve studied” (p.6) According to Amazon, this is “the only business book that Apple’s Steve Jobs said “deeply influenced” him.” And it’s not the only time Christensen’s work has been widely praised. His breakout work, The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail, was heralded by some as "one of the six most important business books ever written." Without doubt, both books are great, worthwhile reads.
Tuesday, January 7, 2020
More on Incorporating Negotiation Exercises Into Business Law Courses: Some Help from Professor George Siedel
I’ve previously blogged about using negotiation exercises in my undergraduate and graduate Business Law/Legal Environment courses (here). I’ve also mentioned that, having taught both business law and negotiation courses in a law school, I know that such exercises would also work well in a law school business law course.
Last August, at the Annual Conference of the Academy of Legal Studies in Business, I had the good fortune of catching up with Professor Susan Marsnik from the University of St Thomas Business School. Eventually, our conversation turned to one of my favorite topics: negotiation! Marsnik mentioned that Professor George Siedel, the Williamson Family Professor of Business Administration Emeritus and the Thurnau Professor of Business Law Emeritus at the University of Michigan, had written some great negotiation materials (here), and they were free! Obviously, I couldn’t wait to learn more! And now that I have, via Marsnik’s help, I wanted to pay it forward!
Siedel’s comprehensive negotiation materials center on the sale of a house, and include Seller/Buyer roles. He shares that “Over the years, I have developed and tested “The House on Elm Street” exercise in undergraduate and MBA courses and in executive seminars in North America, South America, Asia and Europe. The courses and seminars have been developed for (or have included) a wide range of participants, such as athletic directors, attorneys, engineers, entrepreneurs, managers, and physicians.” (p. 2)
What is absolutely wonderful about Siedel's materials is that he also provides not only a slide deck, but also a twenty-page teaching note, Why and How to Add Negotiation to Your Introductory Law Course, to guide you through how to teach the exercise. This is key. He states (and I agree) that many professors don’t include negotiation exercises in their business law courses because there is already so much material to cover, and perhaps more importantly, they don’t feel qualified to teach it. That’s the beauty of these materials: Siedel walks you through teaching the exercise, step by step! Many negotiation exercises for purchase do include teaching notes. However, Siedel’s teaching notes are free, and among the most comprehensive that I’ve seen. What are you waiting for?
In my experience, students love negotiation exercises. Probably like many BLPB readers, I’m tweaking and finalizing my spring 2020 course syllabi as the new semester is around the corner. I encourage you to review Siedel’s excellent materials, and consider including negotiation exercises in your business law courses. It would be ideal if: 1) students were to be able to read at least some of a good negotiation text such as Siedel’s Negotiation for Success: Essential Strategies and Skills or Richard Shell’s Bargaining for Advantage: Negotiation Strategies for Reasonable People, and 2) you had a full 75 minutes to debrief the negotiation exercise. However, from my perspective, you shouldn’t let the absence of either deter you, especially from trying out the negotiation exercise for the first time. That’s exactly how I’m about to proceed, and I’ll keep you posted on how it all turns out.
Finally, a huge THANK YOU to Professor Siedel for creating and making these materials available!
Monday, October 28, 2019
After spending the entire day grading undergraduate business law exams, I drove to my son’s elementary school for our first parent-teacher conference. On my wife’s advice, I mostly just listened. My legal and academic training have given me “a very particular set of skills” that I can use to construct and deconstruct arguments in a way some people find combative, so my wife's advice was probably wise.
The parent-teacher conference for our kindergarten-aged son went well. Most important to me, it was clear that our son’s teacher already appeared to love him and seemed committed to helping him develop. But I worry about what our education system may do to my son. Only two months into formal school, my sweet son, who has been in speech therapy since age two, is already receiving grades. Granted, the grades are pretty soft at this point – 3 for mastery, 2 for on track to complete this year, 1 for behind schedule. I hope he will not get overly discouraged. I also know he will not receive nearly as much affirmation in school for his impressive, budding artistic skills as he would for a photographic memory.
This parent-teacher conference, coupled with a handful of especially weak student exams, prompted a lot of thoughts about grading over the past few days.
As a parent, and increasingly as a professor, I am becoming convinced that we (as a society) over-focus on grades and our grades largely miss what is truly important. As a parent, I feel a good deal of responsibility for the development of my children, and as a professor, I obviously think education is an important part of human development. But before my oldest son started kindergarten this August, I wrote down some of the traits I hope my children will develop before they leave our home. In alphabetic order, they include:
While it is tempting to fixate on quantifiable things, like grades, I am attempting to model, praise, and teach the character traits above. And sometimes “failure” will develop these character traits better than “success.” I am seeing this in my son. He has already struggled more academically than I did in my entire educational experience, but, perhaps because of this, he is already significantly ahead of me in compassion and kindness.
As educators, if we are wed to giving grades, why do we only grade such a narrow set of skills? (For a debate in The Chronicle of Higher Education on the usefulness of grades, see here: useful and not useful.) For example, why do we often regulate athletic, artistic, and communication-based courses to pass/fail or effort-based grades, but mark academic work with such relative precision? (One theory is that teachers and administrators are generally naturally gifted in academic pursuits, but are generally not as gifted in athletic, artistic and communication-based areas.) In middle school, for physical education class, we were graded, in part, on our 1-mile time. If I remember correctly, under 6:00 was a 100% and you failed if you ran over 12:00. While it was only maybe 10% of our overall PE grade, I can’t imagine that many schools do that these days. And I understand the arguments against doing so – namely, some students have a significant genetic advantage over other students in endurance running. That said, the same can be said for test-taking. For most students, both endurance running and test-taking can be improved, but some students face much higher hurdles than others.
All of this thinking about grading has not led me to any definite conclusions yet, but I welcome thoughts in the comments. And, in coming semesters, I may try to diversify my grading even more, to capture more skills and to challenge a wider range of students. (The students who are most harmed by our current system may actually be the straight-A students who find tests easy, but who never or rarely face assessment in their naturally weaker areas). I already include a group project and participation as parts of the grade in most of my classes, but I could probably expand this to a higher percentage of the overall grade. That said, I also think that grades should reflect the level of proficiency obtained, so I think substantive knowledge will and should remain important.