The Collins College of Business welcomes Professor Joel Harper, who will occupy the newly established Bill G. Blair Endowed Chair in Finance.
Harper most recently served as professor of finance and the Williams Companies Professor of Business at Oklahoma State University, where he taught finance for 11 years. He also held professorships in finance at Florida Atlantic University and Grand Canyon University.
Harper holds a doctorate in finance from Oklahoma State University and a B.B.A. degree in economics from Harding University. A career in academia wasn’t initially by design, Harper explains. The economic downturn of the early ’90s impacted the job prospects for someone with a degree in economics, but a professor encouraged him to consider pursuing a doctorate in finance. “I thought I would get a Ph.D. and transition to a career in industry, not realizing at the time what a Ph.D. does or where it would lead. I ended up liking the academic and teaching side, so that’s where I stayed,” he said. “One of the best things about teaching is when the light comes on for a student and seeing the progress that students make when they can apply the concepts we teach in class to other parts of their lives.”
Harper is just as passionate about research as he is about teaching. His early work centered on privatization efforts in the Czech Republic, while his most recent research interests focus on the effect of defined contribution plans replacing traditional retirement pensions. Top publications including Journal of Money Credit and Banking, Journal of Banking and Finance, Journal of Risk and Insurance, Journal of International Money and Finance and Financial Management have published his work.
In his new role at TU, Harper looks forward to mentoring younger faculty members in the research and publication process. “I want to be a sounding board for research ideas and provide feedback that will help advance their careers,” he notes.
He’s enjoyed a long-standing relationship with TU’s faculty through participation in the annual Southwest Finance Symposium, which makes his transition to campus a seamless one. “I already know most of the faculty in the department and have seen firsthand the work they do — I knew it would be a great opportunity.”
And as a CFA® charterholder and an active member of the CFA Institute, Harper also maintains strong ties to industry practitioners. “It gives me the opportunity to interact with practitioners in the investment field and bring back current practice and trends into the classroom,” he said.