RateMyProfessor.com ranks SBE Faculty Member 16th in the Nation


Joel Tuoriniemi, Assistant Professor of Business Law, was ranked 16th in RateMyProfessor.com’s first ever rating of all US college teachers. Millions of college students grade their professors on RateMyProfessors every semester for their easiness, helpfulness, and clarity on a scale of 1 (poor quality) to 5 (good quality). Tuoriniemi’s average scores for helpfulness and clarity were 5.0 despite a lower (3.9) average for easiness.

Tuoriniemi, who was recently appointed as an assistant professor of business law, joined the SBE faculty in 2002 as a lecturer. He holds a J.D. from the Detroit College of Law at Michigan State University and received the University’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2003 and the School of Business and Economics Teaching Award in 2006, and was nominated for the University’s Innovative Teaching Award in 2006.

Sample comments from his students on RateMyProfessor.com include:

“One of Tech’s best teachers, and a great asset to the SBE. He tells good stories which actually relate to the material and does a great job of maintaining your interest.”

“Had him for Accounting, Business Law, and Intellectual Property Law. The best –.hands down. Tells hilarious stories and what ifs that relate to the material so you absorb things better.”

“Awesome Professor. Great Guy. He keeps classes entertaining and informative. He’s the best professor I’ve had!”

“He’s an awesome teacher. He doesn’t just teach the material but shows how you can relate it to real life situations. He makes himself very available to your needs. Take his classes. Also, he has fun stories”

“Best professor at MTU!!”

“Best college teacher ever.”

“One of the best teachers at MTU. If more faculty were like him, students would WANT to go to school! He makes class fun and gets you thinking ‘real worldish’. Makes you work but you actually learn stuff that will help in the future!”

Michigan Tech MBA Program Ranks in Top 100 Worldwide

During its first year of existence, Michigan Tech’s Master of Business Administration program ranked in the top 100 MBA programs around the world for its emphasis on sustainability and social/environmental issues.

The Aspen Institute’s 2007-08 edition of “Beyond Grey Pinstripes,” released on October 11, ranks Michigan Tech’s new MBA program 94th on a list of Global Top 100 Schools. More than 600 business schools were invited to participate in the biennial survey and alternative ranking conducted by the Aspen Institute’s Center for Business Education.

Christa Walck, dean of the School of Business and Economics, is thrilled with the results. “We are now on the map for sustainability in business education,” she said. “’Beyond Grey Pinstripes’ is the ranking for sustainability in business programs, and sustainability is a major strategic emphasis for Michigan Tech.

“This indicates that even a brand new and small program like ours can be recognized if we are doing the right things,” Walck went on to say. “To get this recognition from a well-recognized program like ‘Beyond Grey Pinstripes’ says we are on the right track.”

The dean said the ranking will help Michigan Tech attract faculty and students who are interested in sustainable business. “Businesses are becoming much more aware of how important it is for their processes and products to be sustainable ecologically as well as economically, so I have been encouraging School of Business and Economics faculty to incorporate sustainability concepts into their courses,” said Walck.

Provost Lesley Lovett-Doust noted, “This comes at a perfect time, when we have just announced our new Strategic Faculty Hiring Initiative, with the theme this year of sustainability. We envision strong applicants for our three endowed chairs—the Robbins Chairs in sustainability—and the seven faculty positions. This recognition should help us attract some excellent candidates for these positions, including faculty in the area of sustainable business and economics of sustainability.”

A small but growing number of business schools are leading the trend to incorporate social and environmental issues into their core curricula, the Aspen Institute reported. Society and the environment are becoming significant issues on campus, but in many schools of business, they are still confined mostly to discussions of nonprofit management, social entrepreneurship and ethics, said Rich Leimsider, director of the Aspen Institute Center for Business Education.

In “Beyond Grey Pinstripes,” success is measured by how well prepared graduates are to guide a company through the complex relationship of business and society, the environment and the well-being of communities, countries and the world. “Our National Advisory Board members have commented on the value of our students’ knowledge and experience in sustainable business practice,” Walck noted.

In the latest Aspen Institute report, as in 2005-06, Stanford University ranked first. The University of Michigan ranked second, and York University in Canada was third.

Merz Receives MTU Faculty Distinguished Service Award


On September 18th, the University presented Dr. Thomas E. Merz the 2006 Faculty Distinguished Service Award . Merz, former Mayor of the City of Houghton, was cited for improving the relationship between the City and the University, for giving MTU students a voice in city government and for his active involvement in the establishment of the Michigan Tech Enterprise SmartZone.

Accounting Alum Links Extracurricular and Class Experiences to Success in Job Force

Rich Schalter, a graduate of the SBE and President of Spartan Chassis, talks about how knowing your brand plays a key role in success of a product.


Q: What was your major and concentration at MTU?

A: My major was accounting and my concentration was focus on being a part of the MTU ski team. I skied everyday and went to classes most days. Due to the strength of my accounting education at MTU, I quickly passed the CPA exam and then received my CPA certification.

Q: Can you link any qualities of being in a student organization to being successful in business?

A: Absolutely. At Spartan, we are an innovative team focused on building lasting relationships. We consistently improve ourselves, our products and our processes through learning, sharing and implementing ideas. Just like being a part of the ski team, we make commitments to each team member and we work together to improve each others skills.

Q: Did you have any experiences or classes at Tech that helped you compete in the work force against other students?

A: The intensity of the class schedule to graduate in four years provided a spring board for developing the necessary study and organizational skills needed to drive success in business. Additionally, the openness of the faculty to providing direct guidance regarding the subject matter and the application to career choices broadened my perspective for my chosen profession.

Q: What is your current position?

A: After starting as the CFO of Spartan Motors in December 1996, I became the president of our largest subsidiary, Spartan Chassis, Inc., in March of 2002 and additionally serve as the executive vice-president of Spartan Motors, Inc. and a director for Spartan Motors, Inc.

Q: What are you main job responsibilities? What do you do on a daily basis?

A: My main responsibilities are the setting of the vision and strategy for Spartan, establishing the brand of Spartan and creating the culture necessary for growth in our markets. As a supplier to body builders of motorhomes, fire trucks and military vehicles, it is necessary to establish strategic relationships given the integration and dependence upon our products and our people.

Q: What does your company do?

A: We design and assemble custom chassis for vehicles in the emergency rescue, motorhome and defense markets. The company was founded in 1975 on the design and assembly of custom cabs and chassis for fire trucks and shortly after going public in 1984 expanded into motorhome chassis. We are proud of our current involvement in the production of MRAP vehicles, which are proving to save the lives of our men and women in theatre.

Q: On your website you mention your main focuses which are motorhome chassis and fire truck chassis. What are some of the advantages of focusing on fewer product lines than several product lines?

A: Basically this type of focus allows us to attack our competition collectively. We have great builder recognition and a reputation where people are asking for Spartan Chassis in the products they purchase. That doesn’t happen very often, especially in the motorhome business. Usually a buyer tends to look more at the body and features of motorhome living.

With our fire truck chassis, we service 60 builders and meet annually with fire chiefs to address their changing needs.

Another part of our company not mentioned on the website is our auto integration for military vehicles. In the 700-800 vehicles we have produced, there have been no casualties reported.

Q: Do you have any advice for current students in the School of Business and Economics?

A: Starting with the first day you obtain a position with an organization, get engaged to understand the global perspective, purpose, brand and operational focus of the enterprise of which you are an integral part. Know your personal brand, who are you, what do you do, why do you matter.

Q: Is there anything you wish you knew as a student that you know now as a business professional?

A: I would have to say knowing how to discipline yourself is important. Staying on top of your commitments and recognizing what is important. Knowing when and how to study can create more free time for yourself.

I would tell students to understand their own personal brand. Students should live according to how they want to be perceived. For example, when someone mentions your name, do you want to be known as a hard worker and someone who is reliable or someone who cannot be counted on?

Finally, I could have learned more from my professors in and out of the classroom. I was a quiet student who didn’t get involved in class discussions and I wish I would have engaged more.

SBE Hosts Grand Opening for Sam Tidwell Student Center

On Thursday, September 13th, the School of Business & Economics is hosting a grand opening for the Sam Tidwell Student Center. The student center was finished in fall 2006, and is now being dedicated and celebrated for its resources.

The grand opening will offer faculty, staff, and students the opportunity to enjoy some light refreshments, mingle amongst themselves, and learn what the center has to offer them. On the garden level of the Academic Offices Building, students can use the student center as a place to study or meet with tutors for various business and economics classes, meet with groups to work on projects at one of the two computer stations, or search the bulletin board for job postings. Also located on the garden level are two conference rooms for student groups or organizations to hold meetings, as well as Brad Wagner’s office, the Advisor for the School of Business & Economics, and Andrea Barry’s office, the Outreach Coordinator for the SBE. The student center is named after Professor Emeritus Sam B. Tidwell, originally from Mississippi, who came to Michigan Tech in 1956 as an associate professor in the School of Business. He also started the Red Tie tradition in 1956, through which each student who passed the CPA exam would send Professor Tidwell a red tie. Various red ties can be seen throughout the School of Business & Economics.