Haas students recognize 3 Center faculty for teaching excellence

The fall semester course surveys are in, and three of the Center’s faculty have been recognized by their students for their excellent teaching. Students evaluate their courses on a 1-7 scale, a key metric used by Haas to measure the teaching performance of its instructors. Based on these written evaluations from students in all degree programs, the instructors who receive a rating of 6.0+ are recognized as part of the “Club Six” ranking.

Last semester, Brent Copen, another one of the Center’s faculty, was also recognized for his outstanding teaching. Read more about Brent here.


Obama’s SOTU? It’s His Post White House Agenda

President Obama with students

It has been fascinating to observe public and pundit reaction to Obama’s State of the Union address. The President clearly relished delivering this speech – and the agenda he outlined for domestic policy in particular. His enthusiasm and authentic delight reminded me of Obama’s 2008 campaign for President – we haven’t seen much like it since he won office.

The enjoyment he took in boldly proclaiming an unabashedly progressive agenda led some to frame this as a “drop the mic” moment of extreme comeuppance – throwing his achievements in the faces of a Congress made up of many who have lived solely to obstruct any of Obama’s plans.

Others viewed this as a legitimate go-for-broke moonshot, akin to a stratospheric opening bid in a deal that you know will land in far more pedestrian territory.

And of course, many conservatives simply see this as confirmation of Obama as a full-throated tax and spend liberal who is bent on using his last two years in office to do his best to turn the United States into France or Norway. Glenn Hubbard, Dean of Columbia’s business school wrote a thoughtful retort to Obama’s plans, with specific policy alternatives, in his recent op-ed in the New York Times. 

But after digesting his speech for a few days, I have a different view. I believe Obama used this SOTU to begin playing a long, long game for change he believes will benefit the country. I believe people will look back and realize that this speech was actually his first post-presidential speech – that he very strategically delivered while still in office. In my view, this particular SOTU kicked off what I imagine will be a life-long campaign to shape the country according to his values, and he’s decided to start building momentum now, for a life-long campaign for change once he leaves the White House.

Here’s why I believe this:

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Faculty Spotlight – Cleveland Justis

Justis, Cleve_010Having been raised in a family of entrepreneurs, Cleveland Justis recognizes the power of entrepreneurial approaches to solving problems. In particular, he has been interested in the places where business, government, and nonprofits work together in entrepreneurial ways to solve problems and create opportunities, and has been working with the Center for many years to explore that interest. In the past, he has hosted two S3 teams and a Board Fellow and has spoken at a number of Haas classes, and currently, he teaches the Social Entrepreneurship course, an experience that he finds memorable.

“The students are so talented, motivated, and willing to engage in the material and with our guest speakers,” he said. “This semester we’ve had some high profile speakers and the students have engaged fully and asked thoughtful questions and, at times, respectfully challenge the speakers.”

Due to Haas students’ motivation, willingness to question the status quo, and passion for making the world a better place, Cleveland has seen numerous successful startups emerge from his classes.

“There’s nothing more fulfilling than seeing [my] students create a successful enterprise to solve a pressing problem,” he said.

Outside of the Center, Cleveland serves as the Board Chair of the Marin Community Foundation, one of the largest community foundations in the country. He believes that serving on the board allows him not only to bring in the lessons from philanthropy into the Social Entrepreneurship course, but also to put into practice what he and his students discuss in class.