Category: Faculty Spotlight

Xin Li is COB 2021-22 Teacher of the Year

Image of professor Xin Li
Dr. Xin Li, the Michigan Technological University College of Business Teacher of the Year

During his first year as assistant professor of finance in the College of Business (COB) at Michigan Technological University, Xin Li has been named by students as the 2021-22 COB Teacher of the Year. Li came to Michigan Tech in 2021 after earning his Ph.D. in finance from the University of Cincinnati and an M.S. in Economics from Texas A&M University.

Approaching his second year at Tech, Li is already supporting students as advisor to the Finance Club, in addition to instructing Principles of Finance; Advanced Financial Management; and Risk Management and FinTech.

“Being recognized by students is my life goal and it is the highest award for a teacher.”

Xin Li, assistant professor of finance, Michigan Tech College of Business

More than 80 COB students submitted instruction evaluation responses. Here are a few of their praises about Li:

It is a special experience to be in a class with a professor who clearly loves what they are doing.”

“Dr. Li asks us to bring in outside opinions, so we can diversify our abilities.”

“FIN 3000 is not easy, but Dr. Li helps students understand difficult concepts to really excel.”

“He has a very logical way of teaching material and it has helped the content click for me.”


“Dr. Li expressed his confidence in me ahead of the final exam.”

Li has earned previous recognition for his teaching ability. He was the sole winner for the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award of the College of Business at University of Cincinnati. He also won the Finance Department Teaching Award and was named to  the Dean’s List of Teaching Excellence.

Image of professor Xin Li

“Dr. Li has taken personal initiative by actively engaging with students, colleagues and staff. He is an excellent addition to the COB faculty, and it’s great to see him recognized for his contributions so early in his career,” says Mari Buche, Michigan Tech College of Business associate dean.

Dean Johnson, COB dean, adds: “Dr. Li’s impact on students is so great that students go out of their way to relay their praise of his teaching to me.”

On the research side, Li’s activities center on empirical asset pricing, financial institutions and markets, and market microstructure. He’s interested in understanding how human activities interact with the financial market and drive the dynamics of security prices. While existing finance research has focused on the equity market, Li’s research targets the bond market, which is occupied by passive investors such as pension funds, insurance companies and banks. He’s hopeful his papers will shed light on the strategic roles played by passive investors.

Li is also interested in burgeoning topics such as FinTech and sustainable finance.

“I love the research environment and diversified culture in the College of Business.”

Xin Li

He presents his research at national and international conferences including American Finance Association, Financial Management Association, European Financial Management Association, Eastern Finance Association, Southern Finance Association and American Risk and Insurance Association.

About the College of Business

The Michigan Tech College of Business offers undergraduate majors in accounting, business analytics, construction management, economics, engineering management, finance, management, management information systems, and marketing, as well as a general business option. Graduate degrees include the TechMBA®, a Master of Engineering Management, a Master of Science in Accounting, and a Master of Science in Applied Natural Resource Economics.

Mickus Endowed Faculty Fellow Awarded to Sonia Goltz

Sonia Goltz, Mickus Endowed Faculty Fellow in Business Impact

Through an estate gift from Albert J. and Rosella J. Mickus, Michigan Technological University has created the Mickus Endowed Faculty Fellow in Business Impact. Sonia Goltz, professor of organizational behavior in the Michigan Tech College of Business, is the inaugural Mickus Faculty Fellow.

The fellowship was created in order to attract, reward and retain highly talented faculty in the area of societal impact as it relates to business.

Goltz is a co-principal investigator of Michigan Tech’s ADVANCE grant, which promotes faculty career development and gender equity in STEM. She was a recipient of Michigan Tech’s Diversity Award in 2021 and was an active advocate, based on research data, in creating Michigan Tech’s Diversity Literacy Program. Goltz also serves on the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Sense of Belonging (DEIS) Positive Action Team.

“Dr. Sonia Goltz is a diligent faculty member who effectively blends her research, teaching and service contributions for positive societal impact.”

Dean Johnson, dean, Michigan Tech College of Business

For Goltz, the designation will help deepen her scholarly work on defining coercion and freedom within psychology and business, continuing to impact the field of behavior analysis. She says that funding will also be directed to campus initiatives that promote business skill development and those that support Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Sense of Belonging (DEIS) efforts at Michigan Tech, specifically those that directly benefit student development activities, organizations, and internships.

The late Albert Mickus earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Tech in 1949 followed by bachelor’s degree in business a year later. He also earned a master’s degree in business administration at the University of Michigan. After a career with Kohler Company he retired in 1990 as executive director of distribution for the US and Canada. Rosella and Albert’s son Michael, is also an MTU alumnus, earning a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1974 and a bachelor’s degree in business engineering administration in 1975.

About the College of Business

The Michigan Tech College of Business offers undergraduate majors in accounting, construction management, economics, engineering management, finance, management, management information systems, and marketing, as well as a general business option. Graduate degrees include the TechMBA®, a Master of Engineering Management, a Master of Science in Accounting, and a Master of Science in Applied Natural Resource Economics.

Scholarship Spotlight: Stephenson National Bank and Trust Annual Scholarship Award

The Michigan Tech College of Business boasts more than 50 donor- and industry-sponsored scholarships reserved exclusively for new and returning business students. These awards are offered in addition to competitive, merit-, and need-based aid. For 2020-21, total scholarships and grants awarded to undergraduate students in the College of Business exceeded $4.6 million.

This month we highlight the Stephenson National Bank and Trust Annual Scholarship Award.

The Stephenson National Bank and Trust Annual Scholarship Award, valued at $2,000, is available to incoming first-year Michigan Tech College of Business students majoring in finance who have earned a minimum GPA of 3.0. Additional criteria include being a US citizen and having graduated from one of the following high schools of the Upper Peninsula or northeastern Wisconsin: Oconto, Marinette, Delta, Baraga, Houghton, Marquette, or Menominee.

Mike Kolasa

In this Q&A, we hear from Mike Kolasa, vice president and trust officer for the Marquette, Michigan, office of Stephenson National Bank and Trust, headquartered in Marinette, Wisconsin. Kolasa is also an instructor of personal finance planning in the College of Business.  

Q: How did the Stephenson National Bank and Trust (SNBT) Annual Scholarship Award come to be?

SNBT has several core values, one of which is supporting communities and institutions where we do business, including the Copper Country. We also believe in a strong work ethic, self-responsibility, and entrepreneurship. The College of Business is a natural fit for us to support, as we have overlapping geography and values.

Q: Why is supporting students through college scholarships important to Stephenson National Bank and Trust?

I wasn’t poor growing up, but we could see it from the back porch. Scholarships made a big difference for me. We want to encourage successful students who might not otherwise pursue business degrees. Besides, we want to hire some of the best students that I teach!

Q: By day you work in the financial services industry, and by night you teach the foundation of finance to the next generation of advisors. How does your work influence your teaching?

In my experience, academic texts are valid, but can be esoteric, and students may not learn as effectively. By mixing in stories from the industry, students can attach their new knowledge to applied and practical situations. As a result, I believe they retain that knowledge and have an advantage when embarking on their careers.

I tell my students they can be in the top 10 percent of their field, or the bottom 90 percent. Getting into the top bracket takes deliberate effort, but the rewards that go with it are theirs for the shaping.

I tell my students they can be in the top 10 percent of their field, or the bottom 90 percent.

Mike Kolasa, instructor, Michigan Tech College of Business


Q: The College of Business prides itself on preparing students for the technology needs of business. How is technology disrupting the world of finance?

Technology can be both wonderful and evil. It certainly lends itself to efficiency, but we need to remember we buy technology to serve us, not the other way around. I see too many advisors using technology as a crutch or substitute for old-fashioned common sense and in-person time with clients.

We need to remember we buy technology to serve us, not the other way around.

Mike Kolasa, instructor, Michigan Tech College of Business


Q: What are key takeaways college students should consider regarding their own personal finance?

Students and new graduates should consider their own finances first. Utilizing a budget and spending less than they make is a solid lifestyle that will give them flexibility in their future. It also sets them up as credible advisors; if you’re not practicing the basics yourself, no one is going to respect your advice. Beyond that, continuing education, which can look like advanced degrees, new professional designations, or simply reading a few business books a year, is a must. My goal is to have our students be in the top tier of whatever career they pursue, and staying fresh with knowledge is critical.

Prospective students who qualify for the Stephenson National Bank and Trust Annual Scholarship Award should connect with Shannon Rinkinen, director of outreach for the Michigan Tech College of Business, at smrinkin@mtu.edu.

About the College of Business

The Michigan Tech College of Business offers undergraduate majors in accounting, construction management, economics, engineering management, finance, management, management information systems, and marketing, as well as a general business option. Graduate degrees include the TechMBA®, a Master of Engineering Management, a Master of Science in Accounting, and a Master of Science in Applied Natural Resource Economics.

Brown Bag Research Seminar Series

The campus community is invited to hear Laura Connolly, assistant professor of economics, present ‘Labor Mobility and the Affordable Care Act: Heterogeneous Impacts of the Preexisting Conditions Provision,’ as part of our Brown Bag Research Seminar Series, Noon to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, September 29 in Academic Office Building room 101.

Laura Connolly

“The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) preexisting conditions provision ensures that insurance companies cannot deny coverage or charger higher premiums to individuals due to a prior health condition. We evaluate the impact of this provision on job mobility in the U.S. to determine whether the provision reduced job lock for individuals with chronic conditions. Our results highlight the heterogeneous impacts of the policy on different subgroups of the population. We find significant improvements in labor mobility among male household heads with prior health conditions, but no significant change in labor mobility among females. Declines in job lock are largest among families with children and household heads with relatively low levels of education. The results are consistent with the policy improving access to healthcare, and both mental and physical wellbeing, which ultimately increased labor market flexibility for some workers.”

About the College of Business
The Michigan Tech College of Business offers undergraduate majors in accounting, construction management, economics, engineering management, finance, management, management information systems, and marketing, as well as a general business option. Graduate degrees include the TechMBA®, a Master of Engineering Management, a Master of Science in Accounting, and a Master of Science in Applied Natural Resource Economics.

College of Business Welcomes Professor Tripti Singh

Tripti Singh is an assistant professor of management information systems (MIS) in the College of Business at Michigan Technological University.
Dr. Tripti Singh
Dr. Singh earned her Ph.D. in MIS from the University of Alabama. Before joining the doctoral program, Singh worked in clinical research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She also holds a Master of Business Administration (Information Systems) and a Master of Public Health (Healthcare Organization and Policy) from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Singh is also a certified Project Management Professional and holds the Six Sigma Green Belt certification from the American Society of Quality.

Her research focuses on 1) cybersecurity, 2) healthcare information systems, and 3) information privacy. She focuses on the intersection of human behavior and security within the cybersecurity domain to understand information security policy (ISP) compliance issues. Singh also researches the role of security-related stress among cybersecurity professionals. Her work focuses on understanding the digital divide, adoption of healthcare technology, information privacy, and health information disclosure issues among patients in the healthcare domain.

About the College of Business
The Michigan Tech College of Business offers undergraduate majors in accounting, construction management, economics, engineering management, finance, management, management information systems, and marketing, as well as a general business option. Graduate degrees include the TechMBA®, a Master of Engineering Management, a Master of Science in Accounting, and a Master of Science in Applied Natural Resource Economics.