Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Finance professor appointed special counsel for digital education

To make sure the university is thinking strategically about educational technologies such as online education, a longtime faculty member has been appointed as special counsel for digital education initiatives.

  Gautam Kaul

Gautam Kaul, the John C. and Sally S. Morley Professor of Finance at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, was appointed to the half-time position in the Office of the Provost this week. He is charged with helping the university develop a strategic approach to the adoption of learning technologies and with guiding the implementation of the strategy.

“This new role is being created to make sure the University of Michigan keeps pace with the rapid changes taking place in educational technology for higher education, and especially online education,” says Martha Pollack, vice provost for academic and budgetary affairs, who led the university’s initial involvement with Coursera, a Web-based educational platform that makes courses created by U-M professors available at no cost.

Kaul, who has been teaching at U-M since 1985, also was one of the initial U-M faculty members to teach an online course in 2012 through Coursera. His popular Introduction to Finance class — which had 133,000 registered students — is being offered again through Coursera starting Jan. 28.

Kaul has published extensively on topics covering a wide spectrum of finance. His teaching interests are as varied as his research. He has taught at the undergraduate, MBA, Global MBA and doctoral levels, and tutored executives all over the world. He also currently serves as the managing director of the Social Venture Fund in the Samuel Zell and Robert H. Lurie Institute of Entrepreneurial Studies.

“MOOCs (massive open online courses) represent the most visible example of new forms of online learning, but the focus of the Gautam’s work will be much broader,” Pollack says. “He will be working with faculty to identify opportunities to leverage online learning both on and off campus.”

So far, seven U-M faculty members have developed courses for the Coursera platform and several more are in development.