New business professors manage first year
Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 21, 2013 12:02
Among the faculty the Huntsman School of Business hired this year are two new professors who each have different stories about what attracted them to the university.
John Ferguson began his tenure in June 2012. He said it was the beautiful valley and multiple academic positions that attracted him to USU. Both he and his wife now teach USU courses.
Ferguson said his impression of Logan was a good one at first.
“You have the mountains right there,” he said. “People were very friendly. My colleagues were very friendly. I thought it was very nice.”
Then things took a turn for the worse, he said.
“The inversion didn’t help the whole pretty aspect of it,” he said. “That was a downer. And then I got the flu, so the beginning of this semester hasn’t been the best.”
Ferguson’s said his first impression of USU students was they tend to be busy.
“The thing that I’ve noticed the most about the students here is the fact that so many of them have other obligations,” he said. “I worry about that sometimes, but they are definitely incredibly dedicated, hard-working students.”
Bryce McEuen, a USU alumnus in mechanical engineering, has returned to campus to teach in the management department in the Huntsman School of Business. He started in the fall.
The best thing about teaching as opposed to being a student is the lack of homework, he said.
“You know what to expect already as the professor,” he said. “You have an idea of types of questions that might surface and the material taught.”
McEuen found employment as an engineer after he received his undergraduate degree from USU. However, his career transitioned into an operations role in the company. He went back to school and received his master’s degree in business administration.
“It depends on what your goals and aspirations are, but I think that careers evolve,” he said. “And I think in some cases, individuals start out down a path they think they might really enjoy and find out they would rather do something else with their life.”
Both professors are somewhat non-traditional because of their applied, rather than academic, backgrounds. McEuen teaches an operations management class through the business college.
“The operations role is a nice blend for an engineer and any given individual interested in business,” he said. “You’re able to see all aspects — the engineering and manufacturing side and the business strategy side.”
Ferguson’s degrees and background focus on religion and law, specifically ethics and the First Amendment. He teaches business ethics and negotiations courses on-campus. He said in his teaching methods, he is an idealist.
“I do whatever I need to do to provide the greatest value to my students so that my classes and interactions with them are preparing them for their careers and life,” he said.
He said he wants to make sure his students have the experiences they need to be successful in their jobs, evaluating who they are as people and in their roles in society and culture.
“One thing undergraduates struggle with is not really having thought through ethics,” he said. “Every undergrad just knows they know right and wrong, but that’s because they’re young. Sometimes right and wrong are not always so easy to identify.”
He said sometimes, choosing is a matter of picking between two wrongs or two good choices and dealing with gray area.
“So a lot of what I teach is helping students evaluate what you do when you have that gray area,” he said.
One of his favorite teaching methods is to not give things away.
“I never give answers,” he said. “I always make you find them.”
Allison Milligan, a junior majoring in accounting, took Ferguson’s class last semester.
“It changed my perspective about everyday life,” Milligan said. “Taking that class gave me a better rationale of why people do things, whether they have a moral standpoint or a religious standpoint.”
She said it’s important USU students have a basic foundation of ethics and laws and a more well-rounded opinion and insight of how things go on in the business world.
McEuen said education is paramount, and not just because of a future career. It also is not limited after graduating from college.