As Director of the Risk Management and Insurance (RMI) Program at Baylor University, I have program responsibilities for this area. At Baylor, RMI courses are offered at undergraduate and graduate levels. At the undergraduate level, RMI is offered as a major within the Department of Finance, Insurance and Real Estate. At the graduate level, RMI courses are occasionally offered as electives for students enrolled in the Business School’s various masters degree programs.
Prior to my appointment at Baylor, I received teaching awards and award nominations at other universities. As a graduate student at the University of Illinois, I was honored as the Outstanding Instructor in Finance. At the University of Texas at Austin, my academic department nominated me for two undergraduate teaching awards, and I received the UT-Austin Graduate Business Council’s Award for Excellence in Teaching of the (MBA) Core Curriculum. At Baylor, I consistently receive favorable teaching evaluations. ((Statistical profiles of teacher ratings are available upon request.)) Students view me as an instructor who is interested in his subject and is well prepared and concerned that they learn the subject material. In 2002, I was honored as the recipient of the Lambda Chi Alpha Professor of the Year Award. In 2005, I received the Hankamer School of Business Distinguished Professor Award, which is given in recognition of excellence in teaching, research, and service. In 2009, I received the American Risk and Insurance Association’s Excellence in Teaching Award, which is given “in recognition of excellence in Teaching in the Risk Management and Insurance field.”
My teaching is at the cutting edge of theory and practice, and it is informed by my scholarship. Furthermore, my pedagogical approach is oriented toward building deductive problem solving skills that are based upon principles of finance, economics and statistics. Because my teaching experience has primarily been in the fields of RMI and finance, I will illustrate my approach to pedagogy by drawing upon examples in these fields.
Although institutional arrangements are important in insurance markets as well as financial markets, such arrangements conform to a common set of fundamental economic principles that govern other markets as well. For example, portfolio theory (which is taught in our investments courses within the finance curriculum) can yield insights into the economics of risk pooling; information economics (which is taught in various economics courses within the economics curriculum) can be applied to the study of contract and organization design; and industrial organization (which is the subject matter for an entire course offered by the economics department) can be used to explain insurance market structure.
In spite of all that RMI and finance have in common, only recently have serious attempts been made in scholarship and pedagogy to synthesize the two fields. Such efforts are underway at business schools with leading RMI programs such as the University of Georgia, Georgia State University, the University of Iowa, the University of Wisconsin, and the Wharton School, as well as at Baylor University. ((For a recent example of a scholarly attempt to synthesize these fields, see my paper with Richard D. MacMinn entitled “On the Demand for Corporate Insurance: Creating Value,” Chapter 18 in Handbook of Insurance, G. Dionne (ed.), Springer Science+Business Media, New York, 2014.)) This change in approach and philosophy has been motivated significantly by the convergence of insurance and financial markets, along with the ever-increasing frequency and severity of natural and man-made catastrophes. Indeed, as was famously noted a number of years ago in a Economist article, “The business of financing companies is converging with the business of insuring them.” (See “The New Financiers,” The Economist, September 2, 1999.) Organizationally, business firms have responded to these trends by putting increased emphasis upon risk management as a core management competency, and in some cases establishing the position of “Chief Risk Officer.” The Chief Risk Officer is typically a highly visible, top-level corporate executive who is responsible for ensuring that the firm understands and properly manages its key risks in an integrated and coherent fashion across the entire business enterprise. (This type of integrated approach to risk management is commonly referred to by its practitioners as “enterprise risk management.”)
My undergraduate Business Risk Management course (FIN 4335) course views risk management in an integrated fashion. This course examines the use of insurance as well as derivative financial instruments such as options, forward contracts, and futures contracts to control the costs of corporate risk. Careful attention is given to the incentives for mitigating corporate risks (e.g., through investments in safety and loss prevention) that are conveyed by the use of such instruments. By enabling firms to transfer and pool risk more efficiently, insurance and derivatives often generate social as well as private benefits by facilitating the optimal allocation of scarce capital. Unfortunately, such instruments can also generate social costs if they are not properly used. A well-known unintended consequence of risk transfer is the “moral hazard” problem in which insured firms and individuals underinvest in safety and loss prevention. Consequently, careful attention is also given to how the moral hazard problem is influenced by the design of managerial compensation contracts, corporate limited liability, regulation and the legal system.
My undergraduate Options, Futures, & Other Derivatives (FIN 4366) course focuses upon financial risk management, the pricing of derivative securities, and the design of risk management strategies. From a pedagogical standpoint, this course serves an important complementary role to the Business Risk Management course, and as a “capstone” course for students interested in investment management.
At the graduate level, I occasionally teach a graduate version of Finance 4335 called Risk Management Seminar (FIN 5335). I have also taught Managerial Economics in Baylor’s Executive MBA program, as well as PhD courses at University of Queensland (July 2007), the Wharton School (Spring 2006), and University of Cologne (May-June 2013).