Thursday, August 30, 2012

Program Update from Professor Steve Malpezzi

by Stephen Malpezzi, Professor and Lorin and Marjorie Tiefenthaler Distinguished Chair in Real Estate

Students are filtering back, and we’re gearing up for another rocking academic year.  The streets are filled with students and their friends and parents, and vans and trailers full of the necessities of another year in Madison.

Do you miss the reading lists and syllabi you used to receive each September?  Well, you can get a head start at your lifelong-learning ‘semester’ by reading through the little list here at our blog where I posted the latest Top 12 “Reading for Life” entries.  (Comments welcome!)  But I’m writing today mainly to bring you some news. 

Last year, after several turns as Department Chair, and two years as Academic Director of the Graaskamp Center, I turned the Center directorship into the more-than-capable hands of Morris Davis.  I was planning to spend more time on teaching and research.  But (great!) events intervened, and I stepped in as Department Chair once again last fall, when François Ortalo-Magné became our new Dean. 

I’m very excited about the directions François is taking our School.  School-wide initiatives that he’s spearheading focus on increasing the impact of our research on business and public policy; providing a transformational student experience through innovations in the way we teach; and providing faculty, staff, students and all of us with a “Great Platform for Great Work.”  During the coming year you will learn more about these initiatives both through our blog but also the WSB’s website.

Today I’m writing to tell you more about another positive change.  Recently Dean Ortalo-Magné made it official:  my colleagues and I are very pleased that Professor Abdullah Yavas has accepted the chairmanship of the Department of Real Estate and Urban Land Economics.

Professor Yavas is well known among real estate academics as one of the most innovative and productive researchers in our field; several years ago we were very excited to lure him to Madison from Penn State, where he was a stalwart member of their fine faculty for 17 years.   As many readers of this blog already know, Abdullah is also a faculty member of deep experience across a number of other dimensions, including administration; he’s one of only two real estate academics I know who’s served as president of a university!
I know readers of this blog will join François and me, and the rest of our faculty, in congratulating Abdullah, and thanking him for taking on this important responsibility.  Check out Abdullah’s bio, if you have not already done so.

I must make a personal clarification as well.  The LAST time I stepped down as Department Chair (!), I received a number of messages wishing me well in retirement.  Retirement?  Let me be very clear, I am NOT retiring.

I will be doing whatever I can, as so many others will, to support our School and in particular our Real Estate Program’s management team of Abdullah and Center Academic Director Morris Davis, and of course our Graaskamp Center Executive Director Mike Brennan, in the coming year and beyond.  I’ll be expanding my teaching responsibilities, helping the School with the new Business Analytics initiative (including but not limited to improving our students’ Excel skills), and working to focus the efforts of Real Estate and other parts of the School and UW on some important economic development issues.   Forthcoming blog posts will fill you in on some new Graaskamp Center initiatives on economic development, with an initial focus on the Midwest.

This year, in addition to teaching urban economics, I’m excited to be teaming up with Mike Hershberger to teach valuation, and with Erwan Quintin to revive our housing economics class (last taught in 2002!)  As we bring these courses online this fall, we’ll be looking to make good use of the resources François and donors including real estate alum Milo Pinkerton are bringing to the teaching innovation initiatives that François mentions in the attachment.

We have plenty of other news to share, notably the fact that our newest faculty member, Assistant Professor Jaime Luque, is now on campus and preparing his first courses, in urban economics and real estate finance.  You’ve probably already read about Jaime. In the ensuing months, you’ll be hearing much more from Abdullah and Morris, and Mike, and our other faculty and staff, about the state of our Program and our industry.  At the School level, you’ll hear from François and his management team.  Rest assured that you’ll continue to hear from me, too.  After nine years of administrative responsibilities I’m looking forward to a little more time for teaching and research, but I will continue to be actively involved in all aspects of the Graaskamp Center and our real estate Program.  Especially writing more postings for Wisconsin Real Estate Viewpoint!