Associate Professor of Business Administration
Karen Spohn says that it is part of her nature to help others, and so for her, the enjoyment of teaching comes when she has the opportunity to develop an understanding of a principle or concept within a student. “I get a good feeling when I can help somebody understand something they didn’t before and become more confident in their abilities,” Spohn says.
One of the ways she teaches her students is through engaging them in projects that connect course content with the world in which they live. In her undergraduate macroeconomic classes (BUS224 A and B) this semester, Spohn’s students analyzed the economic policies of each presidential candidate. “Students develop a really solid understanding of the economic perspectives that drive each candidate’s policies, and in doing so, they gain a better understanding of which person they think is the best.” As part of her Socially Responsible Investing (BUS347) class, she has her students manage an investment portfolio based on concepts presented in class. “I give my students theory, and follow that with a lot of applications,” Spohn says. In Spohn’s graduate economic course (BUS529), students apply the mechanics of both the macroeconomic and microeconomic models to analyze and forecast the industry of their choice.
Spohn spent her earlier career as an economic forecaster in the private sector. She entered the higher education environment as a researcher at Ohio University. “I would teach on my lunch hour,” she recalls. She later obtained a doctorate in economics. Her research has focused on compensation and corporate governance, which over the years, has evolved into corporate social responsibility and environmental social governance. “This really ties into the mission of Rivier College to ‘transform hearts and minds to serve the world,’” Spohn says. “There is an undercurrent of morality and ethics in these areas of business practice.”