Thursday, December 27, 2007

Professor Engages Students with Theatrical Teaching Style

By Courtney Westlake

Dr. Richard Judd started out as a young man who wanted to sing classical music, but he soon realized that few people can have a career in opera, so he switched to musical comedy and became a professional actor and singer in the 1960s.

Eventually, though, Judd shifted to a new audience.

With a Ph.D. in Business focused on business strategy, Judd has been a writer, researcher and professor at UIS for the past 28 years, engaging his students with his clever personality and interactive teaching style in the College of Business and Management.

Over his tenure here, Judd has taught subjects ranging from entrepreneurship, business strategy, business and public policy, franchising and marketing. He also teaches a course called Business Perspectives, which is the first course in UIS' MBA program. The class discusses how to analyze a firm and examines key issues business leaders will face in the next ten years.

"We want you, when you move into your career, to move beyond your biases and come to: what is the philosophic point, as I manage and own and make a decision that will have an impact, where I can stand firm?" he said.

Judd has published three different books: one on business strategy, an award-winning book on small business in a regulated economy and the first and only textbook on franchising, which is now in its fourth edition.

He also serves as the director of the UIS Center for Entrepreneurship, which was launched in January 2005 as part of the Illinois Entrepreneurship Network along with twelve other centers in the state. Judd was also the director of the center when it began originally in 1983.

"(Business leaders and entrepreneurs) come in and talk; we see what the center can do for you, whether it be workshops, counseling and developing, guidance to another source," Judd said.

Judd often looks over finances of businesses confidentially and make recommendations about next step. Many who come to the center are also referred to the Small Business Development Center, located downtown. He is thrilled with the Center for Entrepreneurship, he said, and hopes to remain involved after retirement at the end of the school year.

"I want the center to become more intimately involved in the local business community, and all around central Illinois, not just in Springfield. And my personal goals include doing more fishing," he joked.

For students attending UIS, Judd encouraged students to immerse themselves in the opportunity they have been given.

"Why would you ever come to school? You come to school to learn arts and develop habits.
You come here to learn to think critically; you come here for self-examination," he said.
"You come to a good school for one thing: self-knowledge. So you know who you are when you leave much better than when you came."

Judd said he is more than pleased with the growth and continuing excellence of the College of Business and Management over the years.

"We've made dramatic changes in our programming here. The beauty is, after some long and hard work, we are now an accredited association, one of a couple hundred in the country that are accredited nationally and internationally for what we do as a business school," he said. "We've come a long way, and we've done a good job, frankly. The strides made here have been virtually incredible."