Finance professor Carl Ackermann believes the key to teaching well is really getting to know your students. This is why the 500 students in his introductory finance course all address him by name and have come to expect the same treatment from him. On the first day of class, Ackermann requests photos and fun facts from each of his students. This way, when answering questions in a large lecture, not only can he address all his students by name, but he can also explain the subject matter as it relates to facts about their lives.
Ackermann holds an undergraduate degree from Amherst College and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina. Since coming to Notre Dame in 1998, he has taught virtually the same class, but he constantly changes his style of teaching. “It’s important to keep the students alert at all times by mixing it up,” Ackermann says. “By presenting something in new and creative ways, you have the chance to improve the level of learning.”
• “Professor Ackermann really cared about making sure the students understood the class material and taught in an extremely engaging manner. He also was very accessible and gave great advice and insight into potential careers in finance.”
• “He is extremely passionate about the subject, he has realistic yet challenging expectations for students, and he’s extremely friendly and helpful outside of class. He will go out of his way to learn everyone’s name (in a class of over 100 students), and will follow up personally with students if they have any difficulties in class.”
Ackermann on teaching finance:
“The subject is underrated. If you go to the typical cocktail party and say what you do is teach finance, the conversation will inevitably stop. But I find it to be an intricate and fascinating field and I enjoy making it come to life.”
Editor’s Note: This profile is part of Bloomberg Businessweek’s series on favorite undergraduate business professors. Subjects were chosen based on feedback collected in Bloomberg Businessweek’s annual survey of senior business students. The featured professors were the ones most often mentioned by students as being their favorite. Student quotes come directly from the student survey.