Where did you earn degrees and what are your current responsibilities at UGA?
I earned my Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I am a professor of real estate in the Terry College of Business and the holder of the C. Herman & Mary Virginia Terry Chair of Business Administration.
When did you come to UGA and what brought you here?
I came to UGA in 1993 straight out of graduate school. The real estate program was, and is still is, a nationally ranked program with excellent faculty that houses a prominent academic journal. The program was a great fit for me given my interest in urban economics. At the time, the program’s faculty had similar backgrounds, making it an inviting place to start my career and it made the transition from “student” to “faculty member” easier.
What are your favorite courses and why?
Just like with my children, I don’t have a favorite one. Each course has something that makes it unique and enjoyable. I think I just enjoy the challenge of teaching.
What interests you about your field?
I have always enjoyed the areas of real estate and urban economics because it is easy to see how they are reflected in our everyday world. For example, when people sell their house, does the type of agent they choose to list their property with potentially impact its price and selling time? Or, have you ever thought how the price of a property in a new development reflects the risks associated with such a development? The way people finance their homes and the way these loans are bundled is obviously a very important topic in today’s environment. It is interesting because so many people can relate to the questions that we ask in our research. It is also interesting because real estate itself is an interdisciplinary field of study; this opens the door to a wide range of topics that can be introduced in the classroom and in my research.
What are some highlights of your career at UGA?
I recently was named to the C. Herman & Mary Virginia Terry Chair of Business Administration. I also have been recognized for my teaching with several honors, including the Terry College’s Outstanding Teaching Award. I serve as chairman of the Terry College’s Undergraduate Program Committee, which designed the structure of Terry’s new Foundations First curriculum for juniors entering business majors and also created a pilot-testing program of a freshman admissions policy for the college.
How does your research or scholarship inspire your teaching?
To me, teaching and research go hand in hand. In fact, this is what makes universities like Georgia unique. Being active in research allows me to bring my projects into the classroom and allows me to share something I am really passionate about with my students. While they may not always be as excited as I am to discuss topics like the impact of a land use regulation on real estate prices, I think they appreciate that I am looking at interesting questions and it makes the course feel more alive.
What do you hope students gain from their classroom experience with you?
I hope the students gain the specific knowledge of the subject I teach and the ability to apply what they have learned. In addition, I hope they take some things away from the class that will help them throughout their life. It is always rewarding to hear from former students that I helped them be successful beyond UGA. In the end, I hope they learn the subject, but also learn how to be successful at what faces them in the future.
Describe your ideal student.
My ideal student is simply one who wants to learn and understand the world around them. They don’t have to be perfect, they just need to have the desire to understand and willingness to work to achieve their goals. I also enjoy students who let their personalities show through.
Favorite place to be/thing to do on campus is…
My favorite place on campus is my office in Brooks Hall. It is located in an historic building on what I think is the most beautiful part of the campus, all located just off Broad Street – what more could I ask for on a daily basis? I have to admit, Stegeman Coliseum is a close second. I enjoy attending basketball games with my family and cheering on the team – win or lose.
Beyond the UGA campus, I like to…
I have three sons, so I enjoy spending time with my family when I am not at work. My kids play many sports, so I get to see all kinds of sports venues around the state. It is a great way to get to know the state and spend time with each of my sons. Athens is a great town with so much to offer; we take advantage of movies, plays and restaurants. But, to be honest, for the most part, we like to stay around our home in Oconee County.
Favorite book or movie – how about a mini-series? I really enjoyed the HBO mini-series “Band of Brothers.” My father was a young boy in the Netherlands during World War II, so this period of history has always fascinated me. The series was extremely well done and did a good job of giving the viewer the background of the characters, far better than is typically allowed in a movie.
Proudest moment at UGA?
My proudest moment was when my high school aged son told me that he heard I was a good professor from one of his friends at UGA.