Engaged Faculty

Dr. Jay Walker (Assistant Professor of Economics)

Dr. Walker joined the College of Business faculty in 2012, after completing his Ph.D. at the University of Memphis, TN. Prior to beginning his doctoral study, he worked in both the retail and insurance industries as an analyst. His recent research has focused on the determinants of success in collegiate education and how collegiate education impacts students.

Most students who enroll in economics courses are not destined for careers in economics, although applying the tools and concepts to everyday life can improve decision making. Economics can offer insight on who to marry, where to go on vacation, how much to save for retirement, and whether you should skip the gym on your way home. I hope to present material and facilitate discussions in such a way that economics can help students in many areas of their lives. In a world where we all face scarcity and tradeoffs, economics offers a unique opportunity to stress the development of critical thinking skills. Economics majors are qualified for essentially any position related to business, but historically students graduating with economics degrees tend to be more apt to transition into careers in banking, insurance, consulting and government. The most important business that economics can prepare you for is the business of life.

Dr. Anna McNab (Assistant Professor of MIS)

Dr. McNab joined Niagara University in 2009 after obtaining her Ph.D. from Washington State University. She is originally from Slovakia and enjoys traveling and getting to know new people from all around the world. Dr. McNab tries to challenge her students' thinking through various discussions and tries to engage her classes by using many different methods of teaching, from debates and scholarly articles to discussions of video material..

I believe we find ourselves in an ever-changing global world and I try to lead my students towards understanding what this means for their future lives. I teach them not only about the role of technology in the world of business but also about the importance of understanding and embracing the many different cultures around the world, as such understanding is important for their future success in business.

Prof. Ed Hutton, CFA (Director of Financial Services Lab, Assistant Prof. of Finance)

Prior to becoming a faculty member at Niagara University, Professor Ed Hutton spent over 25 years in the investment management industry. During that time, he had the opportunity to recruit many new college graduates. Hutton brings this experience to the classroom and says,

I have a good understanding of what employers are looking for in these business positions, and I try to bring that knowledge to the students in my classes. As much as I can, I incorporate real world examples and situations to the classroom. For example, in my portfolio management class, the class actually manages a portion of the Niagara University Endowment Fund, and they are expected to do this with the same level of care and expertise as any other investment manager. Through these experiences, our graduates gain a significant advantage over students whose learning is derived exclusively from a textbook.

Prof. Christopher Aquino, CPA (Assistant Prof of Accounting)

Christopher Aquino, assistant professor of accounting, graduated from Niagara in 1985 with a BBA in accounting and a BS in information sciences. After working in the financial industry for 20-plus years, he returned to Niagara in 2009 to pursue his dream of teaching. He works very hard to try to instill the same love of learning that has followed him throughout his life.

Good teaching does not happen by accident, nor does it happen just because you spend a lot of time doing it. Like any skill, it can only be acquired and improved through hard work and thoughtful preparation. There is no place I’d rather be than NU.

Prof. John Overbeck (Faculty Fellow)

Prof. John Overbeck, '75, returned to his alma mater in 2009 after spending more than 30 years with IBM. Overbeck uses his three decades of marketing experience to engage his students, saying,

Experience tells me that the most prepared graduate is one who has a good foundation of knowledge in their chosen field, a broad background in the liberal arts and skills that have been developed through various experiences. That’s why I try to incorporate a ‘learn by doing’ philosophy in my classes. For example, a student can memorize the elements of a good sales call, but will never fully grasp the concepts until they have had chance to try it in a practical setting. My hope is that my students have a good balance of theory and practical experience when they complete my course.

Dr. Lei Han, CPA (Assistant Professor of Accounting)

Dr. Han joined the faculty in 2010 after receiving her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Arlington. She is a CPA in New York State, and a member of the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA). She embraces promoting accounting as a major and a profession, and is truely honored for being part of a wonderful team that is working very hard to invigorate the accounting programs at Niagara.

I believe that learning is a lifelong endeavor. The knowledge students obtain from their college education will sooner or later become insufficient or outdated in this ever changing world. I supplement my class with up-to-date research results and anecdotal evidence, and encourage the students not to confine their learning to textbooks, because grasping required material is important, but so is knowing how to learn. I hope that, upon graduation, my students will be embedded with the most current knowledge about the discipline, but also the importance of continuous learning and improvement.