2018 Top 50 Undergraduate Professors: David Long, College of William & Mary (Mason)

David Long

Associate Professor of Management

College of William & Mary, Mason School of Business

Organizational behavior professor David Long is admired across the student body at William & Mary’s Mason School of Business because of his consistent willingness to go above and beyond in all areas. From coming up with new ways to meet students where they are so they can more readily absorb course material to staying knowledgeable on emerging business trends so they can be instantly incorporated into the classroom experience to even meeting with and interviewing established consulting professionals, using their input to introduce an introductory consulting course. His research examines various work-related topics including leader influence and reputation management and it has appeared in several journals and books, including the Academy of Management Journal and Organizational Psychology Review. He is also the recipient of numerous undergraduate- and graduate-level teaching awards, including the Faculty Excellence Award, the Page Teaching Award, and the Alumni Fellowship Award.

Age: 45

Education: PhD, Organizational Behavior, University of Florida

At current institution since: 2013

List of courses you currently teach: Organizational Behavior, Leadership, Management Consulting

Twitter handle: @aisle132

What professional achievement are you most proud of? Being hired by William & Mary. I never imagined I would end up at an academic institution this prestigious. My friends from HS would never believe it.

“I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when…” I was earning my MBA and I fell in love with Organizational Behavior. I told my professor after class that I wanted to be him. Well…

“One word that describes my first time teaching…” Exuberant. I was a ball of energy that day. I had to take a nap after class.

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? I research how people manage their reputation at work. My most significant discovery—we work way too hard to appear smart. People don’t really care about that. They really want to know if we are kind, trustworthy.

What is your most memorable moment as a professor? The time my teenage daughter came to class to watch me teach. She had a mortified look on her face the entire class. I guess she was worried I would tell a dad joke. (Note – I totally should have done that. Darn it!).

Since you first started teaching, how has business education changed? Certainly, technology has allowed us to reach broader audiences…. But, education has adapted to helping students develop the skills that they can use day one in their careers. It’s no longer simply models and theories about how businesses work, but it’s now applied tools that can help students get hired and give them a leg up through hands-on experiential learning.

“If I weren’t a business school professor, I would be…” A baseball scout. I absolutely love the sport (Go Braves!).

“Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a professor”: It’s more than teaching classes. It’s mentoring students, serving your college and academic community, and generating new knowledge.

Name of the professor you most admire and why: My colleague Professor Brent Allred. He genuinely loves what he does, and his enthusiasm is contagious. For example, he dresses up as Steve Jobs and plays the  role aof the former Apple CEO. How cool is that?

What do you enjoy most about teaching undergraduate business students? They do not have many pre-conceived notions, or set ways. That makes their learning pliable.

What’s the biggest challenge? I am never the smartest person in the room. I have to prepare, prepare, prepare.

What is the most impressive thing one of your undergraduate students has done? I had a blind student become my best research assistant. She uses Uber to get around, and forces herself to be very organized to keep up with things. She’s amazing.

What is the least favorite thing one has done? I had a student oversleep on exam day for a 2pm class. C’mon dude.

Since you’ve been teaching, how have students changed over the years? I’ve been teaching for 8 years, so I do not have a big sample size. However, students do expect to use technology in class. It’s no longer “put away your laptops.” It’s now, get out your mobile devices and launch the polling app to vote on some topic.

What does a student need to do to get an A in your class? Be a valuable team member. I use teams, so find a way to contribute to team projects and exercises. No free-riders allowed.

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

If your teaching style/classroom experience had a theme song, what would it be? Good Vibrations

Using just one word, describe your favorite type of student: Optimistic

Using just one word, describe your least favorite type of student: Lethargic

“If my students can recognize the role that people play in the success of business and their careers, then I’ve done my job as their professor.”

Fun fact about yourself: Married to Susie who is a middle-school reading specialist, and I have two daughters (18 and 13).

What are your hobbies? Watching baseball, eating wings, and a bit of running here and there.

How did you spend your summer? We went to Italy. It was incredible. Food was a 10. Wine was a 10.5.

Favorite place to vacation: The beach

Favorite book: The Great Bridge by historian David McCullough

Favorite movie and/or television show: Field of Dreams. “Is this heaven?”

Favorite type of music and/or favorite artist: 1970’s rock. Bruce Springsteen is my guy.

Bucket list item #1: Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

What’s the biggest challenge facing business education at the moment? Disruption from technology. Students have options. We must provide something of value to them.

“If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this…” A collaboration between alumni and faculty.

“And much less of this…” Stuffy lectures based on outdated models.

Looking ahead 10 years from now, describe what “success” would be like for you: As happy as I am now. I wake up almost every day and think, “How did I get so lucky to have this job at this incredible place?” I hope I do that in 2028. I don’t see why I won’t.

Students say…

“Some professors are passionate about what they teach, and are excited to communicate the material they have dedicated their careers to. Some professors care deeply about their students, and are excited to interact with them. However, rarely do the two categories overlap as comprehensively as with David Long. The semester I took Professor Long’s course on Organizational Behavior was the most academically satisfying semester of my college career, due to the knowledge that when I stepped into Professor Long’s classroom, I would be greeted with a relentless and authentic care for my status not just as an audience member to his lecture, but also as a unique individual with my own style of learning, my own experiences, and my own personality. Professor Long will always be remembered as one of the most energetic, intelligent, and charitable individuals I had the pleasure of meeting.”

“His organizational behavior course was the only class I was excited to attend in college, and it wasn’t because of the course material. Professor Long empowers, encourages, and welcomes every single student in the room. He knows how to connect with people and utilizes entertaining learning materials like jeopardy and movie clips to reinforce vague concepts. Moreover, Professor Long wants students to forge their own careers and paths, and brings in entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 employees to share their business and life perspectives with his classes.”


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