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5 New Faculty Members Share the Moments That Shaped Their Passion for Teaching

By Wisconsin School of Business

January 30, 2024

Grainger Hall interior with students

A new semester means bold ideas, fresh faces, ambitious goals, and exciting opportunities to learn. From lecture hall to lab, virtual or in-person, renowned faculty from the Wisconsin School of Business continue to prepare the next generation of business leaders one class at a time.

Read on as five of WSB’s newest faculty share the unforgettable stories and moments that inspired their passion for teaching.

1. Ewelina Forker, assistant professor, Accounting and Information Systems

“It’s such a privilege to be a part of someone’s pursuit to better themselves, personally and professionally. My undergraduate degree is in industrial engineering, and I received my doctoral degree in accounting from Emory University. Even growing up, I think I’d set in my mind this boundary that I must not be a good writer—I was a ‘science and math person.’

After Emory, I wrote a letter to a teacher from my junior year of high school to thank her. She had pulled me aside one day and said, ‘You are an incredible writer, I know that you don’t know this, but you are.’ If she hadn’t planted that seed and seen something in me that I didn’t see in myself, then I wouldn’t be here, because most research is all about writing, clearly and concisely. So, taking the time to find things in students that they may not know themselves can really set them up for opportunities that they would not have thought were possible.”

2. Anyi Ma, assistant professor, Management and Human Resources

“I feel like the classroom is not just a place to share knowledge. I had just started teaching in 2020, right when covid started. A few students came up to me after my negotiations class in tears, telling me they were really grateful for our class because they needed that social connection, and our class was very interactive. That really struck me and I am still thinking about the lesson behind it. In the end, we are humans. I’ve really tried to build a sense of micro community within my classes ever since.”

3. Philip Mulder, assistant professor, Risk and Insurance

“We all learn in different ways, and explaining something helps me learn it, too. Teaching was always a big emphasis at Kalamazoo College, where I went as an undergraduate, and I still hope to provide that same level of quality in my own teaching. I had a math instructor there, Professor Fink. If something came up in class that he didn’t know, he’d say, ‘Oh, we’re learning together now.’ He really had a lot of enthusiasm for the subject material and was excited to teach it.”

4. Tarun Kushwaha, professor, Marketing

    “The quickest way for the new knowledge, i.e., state-of-the-art research, to be put into practice is evangelizing it through students in the classroom. The very same students are also the source for the next research idea. Thus, I not only enjoy teaching, I see it as a learning opportunity.”

    5. Stuart Craig, assistant professor, Risk and Insurance

      “One of my first economics professors would give us exams that were way too long to finish, but they were similar to the problem sets he gave us throughout the semester. The whole idea was to reward practice, because how far you got depended on how much you had practiced up to that point. I don’t like to give exams like that, but I really appreciate the emphasis on effort. Learning to think like an economist doesn’t require you to be a math genius—you just have to have a growth mindset and practice applying the tools.”