B.A. Coe College
J.D. University of Iowa
LL.M. University of Iowa
What classes are you currently teaching?
The courses I teach primarily involve the regulation of business, such as Business Law, Business Sustainability and the Environment, and Law and Economics. I also teach Environmental Law at the College's Wilderness Field Station.
What activities or campus organizations are you actively involved with?
I am the faculty advisor for Sachem, a senior men's honors society. I also serve as the college's prelaw advisor. Finally, I am a member of Coe's Sustainability Committee, a group of students, faculty and staff appointed by the President concerned with greening Coe to the best of our capabilities.
What makes Coe stand out from other schools?
Coe does an outstanding job of preparing students beyond a particular field. In a day and age where most folks will work in more than one occupation, it is important to develop habits of mind that allow one a certain capacity to adapt and evolve. For anyone interested in studying economics or business, I think our department is extremely strong on its own, but benefits immensely from the liberal arts tradition Coe offers. We produce graduates who have experiences beyond the skills learned in other professional programs.
What is your favorite class to teach and why?
By far, this is the easiest question to answer! Coe is extremely fortunate to own and operate the Wilderness Field Station, located north of Ely, Minnesota. For one month each year I guide students through a living classroom, exploring the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The class serves as an introduction to environmental law and the question of preservation of this country's great resource of wild places. There is no other experience that rivals the field station. It truly is a gem, and I'm honored to be part of its proud traditions.
Name your most memorable Coe concert, performance, lecture or program and what it meant to you.
Two come to mind. First, in 2008, I was on hand to watch one of my students, Tyler Burkle, cap off an undefeated year with a national title in wrestling. The team finished fourth in the nation, which at the time was Coe's best ever finish for any sport. I've enjoyed watching the team improve under Coach Oostendorp and am proud of the quality of student athletes we send out on the mat.
A more individual moment came when Barak Obama brought MTV to campus during the Democratic primary. One of my students asked then Senator Obama a question about electronic waste materials, an issue she was considering for a class paper I had assigned. It jazzed me to see a student using her learning to challenge a candidate, making a connection from the classroom to a concern about international equity. What greater delight could a teacher encounter?
What research or projects are you currently working on with Coe students?
The department's Spellman Summer Research Symposium is the main focus of my student-faculty research. Over the past couple of summers I looked at the efficiency arguments for and against different legal and regulatory approaches to the regulation of carbon, and the impact of the Ledbetter Act on equal pay practices.
What is your favorite website?
I waste so much time on the web, I'd hate to be limited to just one website! I do particularly favor an environmental news and policy site called Grist. It's hard to find humor when looking at many of the environmental problems we face, but this group does it well. Good stuff.
Who is playing on your iPod?
My music tastes are a mess, all over the board from classical to alt country to jam band. I do think it is important to Umphrey's your McGee, however.
What book are you currently reading?
I have several books going at any given time. I just completed Auden Schendler's Getting Green Done, which should be required reading for anyone who wants to green business. I like and admire Jon Krakauer, and am now reading his account of Pat Tillman. I'm reading it because we all still need heroes. Finally, I'm really enjoying Ted Leeson's Inventing Montana. I wish I had an artist's eye with the ability of prose like Leeson.
What do you enjoy doing outside of class?
I spend a lot of time with my family, my wife Heather and our three daughters, Mac, Jo Jo and Allie. Individually I love being outside, whether fly fishing, paddling, skiing, hunting or running after my labs.
What does teaching at Coe mean to you?
I don't think any of us would be here if not for one very important thing: we love to teach topics that interest us. I sincerely enjoy exploring these issues with my students. Therefore, I think my commitment is to build on the great traditions of excellent instruction laid down by folks like Bill Spellman. I endeavor to teach with rigor, enthusiasm and skill. Someday I might even pull it off!