Students at Findlay not only get experiential learning opportunities beginning with the freshmen year, but they have the added benefit of learning from faculty members who remain actively working in their fields.
Dan Yates, Ph.D., associate professor of business, and Chris Ward, Ed.D., associate professor of business and director of experiential learning, student engagement and community outreach, recently co-authored “The Perception Versus the Reality of Retirement: Are You Ready to Retire?” It was presented at the Clute International Academic Conference in Las Vegas, Nev., in October, and was published in the Journal of Business and Economics Research (January 2013, Vol. 11, No. 1). The paper was reviewed by two independent reviewers and the journal editor in a blind review process.
The research leading up to the publication was a collaborative effort between UF faculty members and a community business partner, Scott Hohman at Strategic Investment Advisors (SIA) in Findlay.
Hohman works with clients who are near retirement. Hohman approached Paul Sears, Ph.D., dean of the College of Business, with an idea to develop a survey of people who were five years within retirement or who are retired. “The way financial products are marketed to people in retirement isn’t the reality for most people I know who are retired,” Hohman said. “I witness these things, but I didn’t have anything concrete to put around it.”
His goal was to survey SIA’s local clients and then use that information to help people contemplating retirement imagine what the experience may actually look like for them.
Hohman approached Sears with the idea because he wasn’t sure where or how to begin the research process. Sears connected Hohman with Yates, who teaches both personal finance and business research classes at Findlay.
Yates played a large role in helping Hohman develop a survey instrument, test it and launch it to SIA’s client base. Ward, who also teaches business research classes, helped during the review process, as well.
When the results of the survey came back, Yates helped Hohman break down the data, analyze it and identify interesting trends so it could be organized into a useful format. Hohman, with help from a professional writer and publisher, developed a whitepaper: “Planning for Happiness: Retiring in Northwest Ohio.”
“I wanted something I could hand to potential clients or people contemplating retirement,” said Hohman. “I wanted something the every-day user could look at as an easy read.”
In addition to publishing the whitepaper, Hohman created a website on the same topic.
Having the University expertise available was essential to the project’s success. “I’m very appreciative of having this resource available to me,” said Hohman. “I don’t think I would have gotten this far with this project if I’d been doing it myself.”
Throughout the process, Yates used the experience to demonstrate to his students how what they are learning in class translates into a tangible product. He also invited Hohman to a personal finance class to share the results of the survey and a presentation developed for SIA clients as a result of the work that was done.
Yates will continue to assist Hohman as he revisits the survey.