In course evaluations, Joseph Goetz’s financial planning students praise his teaching prowess, with many saying he “explains difficult material so that it makes sense.”

Others point to his sense of humor and his willingness to offer extra study sessions. One evaluation of the family financial counseling course emphatically states, “Class was interesting! This course material is boring and Dr. Goetz made it fun.”

But the 2012 recipient of UGA’s Richard B. Russell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching takes instruction far beyond the classroom, developing multiple opportunities for students to engage in experiential learning by working with clients throughout the community. In the program’s capstone course, Goetz brings clients into the classroom and students go through the process of meeting with actual clients, building rapport with them and, ultimately, presenting them completed financial plans. Students also have provided financial literacy workshops to clients at community agencies such as Project Safe and the Athens Area Homeless Shelter.

Goetz also teamed with faculty in other departments to establish the ASPIRE Clinic and has established the countrys first clinical practicum course that allows students direct-client experience, including teaming with students in other fields, such as family therapy, to resolve client issues that go beyond financial planning.

A core principle of my teaching philosophy is that students typically have greater potential than they realize and to be most effective as a teacher I must remain committed to helping students realize this potential through respect, encouragement and mentoring,” Goetz says.

 

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