From Student to Teacher: Implementing the Kelley Teaching Ethic
Dong Chen PhD'05
Assistant Professor, Peking University
“The teaching techniques I learned at Kelley are very useful, especially how to initiate class discussions, which I’ve adopted for my courses.”
Dong Chen was initially drawn to Kelley’s strong faculty and research reputation—and it lived up to his expectations. As a doctoral student in Kelley’s Department of Business Economics and Public Policy (BEPP), he discovered his niche—applied microeconomics with a focus on industrial organization. “The department has a clear focus on the field of microeconomics,” he says, “and the relatively small size allows more frequent interaction between the students and the faculty members.”
Chen, who had previously obtained bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics from Chongqing University in China and the University of Victoria in Canada, was fascinated by the industrial organization course he took during his second year. “It directly addressed issues related to firm strategies and showed that firms’ behaviors could have great social welfare implications—exactly the issues I’m interested in,” he says.
The teaching and research skills Chen developed at Kelley helped him easily transition to his work as an assistant professor at Peking University, where he started teaching two courses: Econometrics and Introduction to Chinese Economy. “I learned that it’s important to integrate teaching and research,” Chen says. “The teaching techniques I learned at Kelley are very useful, especially how to initiate class discussions, which I’ve adopted for my courses.”
He’s also integrated another tactic he learned from his Business Economics and Public Policy professors: being patient and paying attention to students’ needs. “Personal interactions between faculty and students are an important component of the learning process,” he says. “I spend a substantial amount of time talking to my students after class, either on questions related to course materials or on idea development for their term papers.
"The students appreciate that as much as I appreciated the time that the professors at Kelley spent on me.”
What he likes most about his job: “I can work with the best people in my field in China. Peking University attracts the best students as well as great scholars from both China and abroad. And as China is attracting more attention from the world for its spectacular economic performance, Peking University is gaining more opportunities to cooperate with some of the best academic institutions in the world.”
Best aspect of being a faculty member: “The flexibility of choosing to do what one likes. No boss is going to tell me what kind of research to conduct or what type of papers to write. This flexibility allows for the maximum level of creativity, which means the job is challenging as well. But compared to repeating the same routine every day, I still count that as a plus.”
Favorite Bloomington restaurant: Sushi Bar on 10th Street
What he misses most about Bloomington: “The peaceful and beautiful environment. Compared to Bloomington, Beijing is way too large, crowded, and noisy. Barbecues by Lake Monroe or at the Brown County Park are very nice memories.”