Category Archives: Faculty

EPIC Spotlight: Claire Yan

As a child, Claire Yan watched closely how her mother, a literature teacher, interacted with students. That experience led to Yan standing out on her balcony, talking to plants and flowers that made up her pretend classroom.

Now she’s teaching in real students in a real classroom. Yan joined the Department of Accounting in August 2014 as a clinical assistant professor at the Sam M. Walton College of Business. She teaches undergraduate courses in accounting principles.

Yan grew up in Sichuan, China, and earned her bachelor’s degree in economics at the Beijing Institute of Technology, where she was ranked as the No. 1 student in her major for the four years she was there. The designation allowed her to enroll in graduate school at the institute without having to take an entrance exam, she says. After earning her master’s degree, she came to the United States, where she earned a Ph.D. in accounting at the University of Houston. She says she changed her major from economics to accounting because she found the concentration useful when applying accounting to the business world.

While in Houston, Yan taught introductory courses in both financial and managerial accounting. “Through the teaching, I found my passion,” she says.

She has brought that passion to the Walton College, which attracted her for its national rankings as well as the reputation of its accounting department. In return, her enthusiasm in the classroom has translated to good feedback from students. Yan was hooked. “I found my childhood hobby verified,” she says.

Yan keeps the motivation going with an office display of thank you cards from her students, including from one who says she hopes to someday be a professor much like Yan.

It isn’t always easy. Last semester, Yan taught 400 students in three classes – a challenge for any professor. Still, she works hard to remember as many of her students’ names and has, at times, had office hours lasting all day, sometimes to the point that she can’t leave for lunch, she says.

Many take her classes to see if accounting appeals to them, she says. Yan draws her students in by creating real-world scenarios they may find useful and presenting them in energetic fashions. “Most of the students are very self-motivated and very appreciative,” she says.

Then there’s research. One area she is examining is why some companies disclose more financial information than required, when they do it, under what circumstance and if people believe that information when they see it.

When she began her teaching duties, she was immediately struck by Walton’s family atmosphere, such as when accounting professor Charles Leflar assisted her when she needed to devote attention to her baby when he was sick. She says the faculty, staff and students all have a special synergy that functions under a strong leadership.

She also gets plenty of support from home. Her husband, Kangzhen Xie, is assistant professor in Walton College’s finance department. The two are the parents of an infant son.

EPIC Spotlight: Peter Katuscak

Peter Katuscak researches around the globe as he examines the behaviors of auction bidders or how people perceive their tax situations. For the 2014-15 school year, he is a visiting assistant professor with the Department of Economics at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, where he teaches microeconomic theory to undergraduates.

Originally from Kosice, Slovakia, Katuscak has already lived in the United States for more than seven years. This includes Ann Arbor, where he earned his Ph.D. in economics at the University of Michigan and San Diego, where he worked as a visiting assistant professor during the 2005-2006 school year.

Always on the move, he jokes that he lives out of two suitcases. Katuscak says when it was time for him to come to the Walton College in August 2014, he had no time to spare. He was in Prague, organizing a conference, and then flew in to Northwest Arkansas and taught his first class the same day he arrived.

Before coming to the University of Arkansas, he was a faculty member at the Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education – Economic Institute (CERGE-EI) in Prague. Katuscak came to Fayetteville on the invitation of Cary Deck, Walton College economics professor, whom he knew from his teaching visits to Prague, Bratislava and various experimental economics conferences.

“I enjoy a family-like atmosphere of the department and the college.”

Katuscak’s research as an experimental economist involves testing theories and looking at causes of economic behavior using human volunteers in a lab. “We try to see how people react to different incentives and information, hoping to learn how to improve design of market mechanisms such as auctions.” he says.

His work on auctions has touched on topics such as learning from historical feedback, anticipation of future feedback, reaction to lacking knowledge about other bidders, but also issues such as differences in bidding behaviors between males and females.

One other area Katuscak is researching is how people perceive their tax rates. In particular, he is interested in whether taxpayers confuse their average tax rate for their marginal tax rate. If this is so, then taxpayers might end up reacting to tax system elements such as tax refunds or tax credits that have so far been thought of as not being important for marginal incentives to work more hours or look for a higher-paying job.

Katuscak’s research has been published in Games and Economic Behavior, Journal of Economic Theory, Journal of Human Resources and CESifo Economic Studies. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia, and another master’s degree from the Central European University in Budapest.

In the classroom, Katuscak likes to challenge his students. “What I’m discovering is that these kids are smart and talented, but they need to be pushed,” he says.

Katuscak says he’s enjoying his time at the Walton College, which, through the university’s various support systems, allows him to focus on his teaching and research. He says he finds his colleagues collegial and friendly. “I enjoy a family-like atmosphere of the department and the college,” he says.

EPIC Spotlight: Dongya Koh

As a self-described “computer geek,” Dongya Koh has found a good use of his ability to write programming code: numerically solving complicated macroeconomic models.

He has the background for it, too. His professional career includes serving as a system engineer for Yahoo! Japan, a joint venture of the American internet company Yahoo! and the Japanese internet company SoftBank. As he continued his education, both in his native Japan and the United States, he developed an interest in economics and found a way to combine that with his computer knowledge.

Continue reading EPIC Spotlight: Dongya Koh

Miles to Represent Walton at U of A Ethics Summit

Rebecca S. Miles

Join the University of Arkansas Center for Ethics in Journalism and UA Honors College for a fast-paced, thought-provoking discussion of contemporary ethics in law, business, medicine, education and journalism. It will be 2-3:15 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014, at Room 130, Ozark Hall.



Panelists include

Read more at the Walter J. Lemke Department of Journalism page.


Walton College Welcomes 11 New Faculty

With the start of the fall semester, the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas welcomes 11 new faculty members.

Over 5,200 students (4,812 undergraduate and 379 graduate) from 41 states and 44 foreign countries will benefit from their teaching and research.

T.J. Atwood

Associate Professor
Accounting Department

Stace Sirmans

Assistant Professor
Finance Department

Xiao (Sean) Ma

Assistant Professor
Information Systems Department

Dongya (Don) Koh

Assistant Professor
Economics Department

Suresh Malladi

Assistant Professor
Information Systems Department

Jinqiu (Claire) Yan

Clinical Assistant Professor
Accounting Department

Anne Velliquette

Clinical Assistant Professor
Marketing Department

Susan Jurney

Clinical Assistant Professor
Accounting Department

John Kent

Clinical Assistant Professor
Supply Chain Management

Muhammad Saifur Rahman

Clinical Assistant Professor

Peter Katuscak

Visiting Assistant Professor
Economics Department