Arthur KeownBy Sookhan Ho
Spectrum Volume 17 Issue 27 - April 6, 1995
It's a challenge few faculty members would relish: teach a large, intro course in a room with uncomfortable seats and poor lighting and sound--at 8 in the morning.
It's a measure of Art Keown's gift as a teacher that students come away from his classes in corporate finance with such comments as the following excerpts from evaluation forms:
"Dr. Keown made it a lot easier to get up and come to an 8 o'clock. I really enjoyed his class as much as you can enjoy a finance class."
"Dr. Keown has an obvious love for finance and he brings that enthusiasm to the classroom. This translates into respect and concern for his students, an attitude which makes all the difference."
"One of the best professors I've had at VT."
Keown, the R.B. Pamplin professor of finance in the Pamplin College of Business, has been selected to receive the 1995 Alumni Award for Teaching Excellence. A previous recipient of a Wine Award and four university certificates of teaching excellence, Keown has taught exclusively at the undergraduate level since returning to full-time teaching less than four years ago after serving as department head for nine years.
In addition to being an outstanding classroom teacher, Keown has developed a variety of innovative instructional materials. His co-authored textbook, Basic Financial Management, is used by more than half-a-million students world wide, and is the first finance text to incorporate a discussion of ethics in finance throughout the book.
Keown's contributions to the teaching mission extend well beyond the classroom, says colleague Vic Bonomo. As a faculty advisor to the student Finance Club, Keown has helped organize the club's annual trips to New York to visit the stock exchanges, banks, and brokerage houses.
As the unpaid chair of the board of directors of Virginia Tech Services, Inc. (which owns and operates the University Bookstore and vending facilities on campus), Keown has been "the champion of student interests," Bonomo says. "His leadership in fairness in pricing of textbooks and other commodities is well known."
It is Keown's teaching talents, however, that have particularly inspired his students and colleagues. Keown's typical teaching load consists of mass sections of an introductory course with up to 300 or more students in a class. "The most amazing thing," says management science department head Bernard W. Taylor, "is that he is able to teach this mob of students as if he were teaching a class of only a few dozen students."
In an unsolicited letter to the Alumni Teaching Award Selection Committee of the Academy of Teaching Excellence, Taylor said "over the years, I have sat in on Dr. Keown's classes for the pure enjoyment of it and the learning experience." Taylor, an award-winning teacher himself, writes that "it is his patience and respect for students' feelings...that I would most like to emulate. I think he is the finest, most dedicated teacher at Virginia Tech."