Don Chance's Teaching Philosophy

Inasmuch as finance is taught almost exclusively at the junior, senior, and graduate student levels, there is no reason to treat students as though they are right out of high school. Rather, I believe that advanced courses in finance should treat students as employees in a business. This will serve to prepare the student for his or her entry into the real world of business.

I think of myself as the employer and the student as the employee in an employer-employee relationship. No one is forced to work for someone, but if someone chooses to work for someone else, there is an implied contract that each party will do something for the other. The employee makes a commitment that includes a promise to come to work and to work diligently to help the organization achieve its objectives. The employer commits to provide the employee with a safe and stimulating work environment that is conducive to the employee fulfilling his or her obligations. Obviously not all employees will succeed. Some will perform so poorly that it is necessary to sever the employee's relationship with the company. Others will succeed brilliantly and must be rewarded accordingly.

In the context of a college course in finance, the objective is for the student to learn the material deemed necessary by the instructor. I view the situation as one in which I ask the student to provide information in the form of questions asked in class, examinations, papers, projects and homework. This information is viewed as a critical input in an executive decision to be made by me. Obviously fast and accurate information is valued most highly. While in a college course it is unreasonable to expect that absolutely correct information always be provided, in a real business situation, higher standards of performance are demanded.

The grade a student is assigned is an evaluation of the quality of the information provided by the student. The student should use it as an indication of how that student would be evaluated in a business environment. While one should always strive for excellence, it is far better to make mistakes in a course environment than in a business environment. That is why excellence is not required in a course but is in a business situation.

Let me also add that I believe my job is not only to prepare you for the business world but to also prepare you to become responsible adults.  I will strive to teach you lessons that have nothing to do with business but will make you a better person.  I get a lot of compliments from students and alumni who have learned more than just finance from my classes.

In keeping my end of the bargain, I pledge to provide a safe and stimulating environment that will challenge you to perform to the best of your ability. I will not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, age, or ethnic origin. I will discriminate on the basis of performance: those who do the best work will get the best grades.

The following are my basic demands and expectations:

Unless I say otherwise, I respectfully ask that you do not call me at home. You can easily reach me at the office (usually in the afternoons) or by voice mail (578-0372) or by email (, which I check often. I will definitely reply as soon as possible.

Let me add, however, that while the above items might appear to lay out strict ground rules, I think you will find that I am an easy person to get to know and deal with.  If you behave in a respectful and professional manner, treating me as you would like to be treated ("The Golden Rule"), all will be well and you will enjoy taking my class.

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Last updated:  January 9, 2011