2018 Top 50 Undergraduate Professors: Lori Rogala, University of Michigan (Ross)

Lori Rogala

Lecturer

University of Michigan, Ross School of Business

Professor Lori Rogala is recognized by her students and colleagues as an extraordinary teacher. In 2018, she was chosen by Ross students to receive the BBA Teaching Excellence Award, and for two consecutive years she has been nominated for the Golden Apple Award, given annually to one UM faculty member. She has been a leader in curriculum reform and innovation and is the coordinator for the Ross Business Law core course, for which she has authored numerous mini-cases, enabling students to analyze relevant, real world business law issues of the types they will encounter during their careers. Professor Rogala genuinely cares about her students and provides a safe and inclusive environment for class participation and learning. Her students describe her as “engaging,” “skilled at explaining difficult concepts,” and “approachable,” and describe her classes as “thought-provoking” and “informative.

Education: BS in Business from Miami University (Oxford, OH); JD from Case Western Reserve University School of Law

At current institution since: 2014

List of courses you currently teach: Business Law & Ethics; Law of Marketing

What professional achievement are you most proud of? Receiving the Neary Teaching Excellence Award.

“I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when…” I had the opportunity to teach a business law class for the first time.  I loved helping students recognize how the law impacts us personally and professionally, and how we can use our knowledge of law and ethics to make strategically smart decisions.

“One word that describes my first time teaching…” Energizing.

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? I research ways to improve course content and delivery.

What is your most memorable moment as a professor? It’s impossible to choose one.  My memorable moments relate to my students who struggle at the start of the semester but put in the effort to understand the material and do well in the course, who are so engaged that I end up looking at subjects from a different perspective, who triumph over personal obstacles while pursuing their degrees, or who are pursuing an interest that has a strong impact outside the classroom.

Since you first started teaching, how has business education changed? We’re better at integrating content across courses to teach students how one area – like business law – impacts decision making in other areas.

“If I weren’t a business school professor, I would be…” Traveling the world if I had unlimited funds.  Otherwise, I’d be practicing law.

“Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a professor”: I wish someone would have told me how rewarding it would be.

Name of the professor you most admire and why: Juliet Kostritsky, Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University School of Law.  She set the bar high for students and worked hard to help them reach it.

What do you enjoy most about teaching undergraduate business students? Their curiosity and desire to learn and their evolving perspectives on law, ethics, and business.

What’s the biggest challenge? Some students are motivated by grades alone, instead of being motivated to understand and apply content that will be invaluable to them in their long-term endeavors.

What is the most impressive thing one of your undergraduate students has done? I’m constantly impressed by my undergraduates’ achievements inside and outside the classroom.

What is the least favorite thing one has done? Cheat.

Since you’ve been teaching, how have students changed over the years? My students have always been bright and high-achieving.  The biggest change is that the student body is more diverse now than it was when I started teaching.   

What does a student need to do to get an A in your class? Understand the material at a detailed level so that they can thoughtfully apply it to different circumstances to explain an outcome.

“When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as …” Tough but fair.

If your teaching style/classroom experience had a theme song, what would it be? I don’t think it has one. Every day is different. Some days feel like the score from the movie “Jaws.” Other days feel like “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves.   

Using just one word, describe your favorite type of student: I don’t have a favorite type, but I love when my students are engaged in the material.

Using just one word, describe your least favorite type of student: I don’t have a least favorite type. Students who have done disappointing things can take responsibility for their actions and demonstrate that they’re changing their behavior.

“If my students can recognize legal and ethical issues and apply the content they’ve learned to make strategically smart decisions, then I’ve done my job as their professor.”

Fun fact about yourself: I lived overseas during part of my childhood and attended an international school with students from around the world.

What are your hobbies? Reading, traveling, being active outside.

How did you spend your summer? Preparing for the fall and winter semesters, soaking up the sun with family and friends, hiking in Banff, Canada.

Favorite place to vacation: Anyplace with a beach or the mountains.

Favorite book: Too many to name! I love non-fiction and mysteries.

Favorite movie and/or television show: In the rare moments that I have time to watch TV, I’m usually watching whatever my family has turned on.

Favorite type of music and/or favorite artist: I listen to all types of music depending on the day.

Bucket list item #1: Travel to parts of Africa, and go on safari while I’m there.

What’s the biggest challenge facing business education at the moment? Accessibility and affordability.

“If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this…” practical application of content

“And much less of this…” self-interest

Looking ahead 10 years from now, describe what “success” would be like for you: A happy family and a job where I can have a meaningful impact.

Students say…

“Engaging”

“Skilled at explaining difficult concepts”

“Approachable”

“Thought-provoking”