Apples and Dice

Focusing students with the Dice of Dread

Apples and Dice: Focusing students with the Dice of DreadThe Golden Apple Award was good news to Chris Boessen, who received it in late February.  What came with it was bad news for his students.

The additional award was a large pair of black and gold dice.  Boessen has been employing  a smaller pair, which he calls the Dice of Dread, which is used to select students for participation when the class begins to think that engagement is optional.

The dice were a personal gift from Bryan Garton, associate dean and director of academic programs.  “I’ve observed Dr. Boessen using dice in his class to randomly call on student teams and then individual students within the teams to respond to questions over the content and financial equations,” Garton said.  “An interesting way to ensure all students are prepared, stay engaged and alert in class.”

Boessen is a teaching assistant professor in agricultural and applied economics.  He received his degrees in Agricultural Economics from the University of Missouri.  In addition to teaching finance and marketing related courses, he is a faculty advisor to the Agricultural Economics Club and has served as an advisor to the FarmHouse Fraternity.

He also performs regular service work with farmers and agricultural investors pursuing value added projects as well as serving as a volunteer analyst for the Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority in the Missouri Department of Agriculture.

An Educator Who Adapts Quickly

“Dr. Boessen’s teaching is of high quality,” wrote Golden Apple nominators William Meyers, professor; Jan Dauve, teaching associate professor; and Michael Sykuta, associate professor.  “This is not only because he focuses on students and their mastery of key subjects, but he adapts quickly, unlike many instructors who set a syllabus and stick to it regardless of how students perform.  He is innovative and tries various techniques to engage students.”

Meyers, Dauve and Sykuta said Boesen is one of the primary advisors in the department.  “His efforts to help students find jobs is truly exceptional,” they wrote.  “He has an incredible network in the finance industry as well as other state agencies.  He has worked hard to help the Agriculutral Economics Club be successful, even to the point of purchasing tickets to help club members go to national meetings.”

Prior to joining the University of Missouri, Boessen worked in the agribusiness finance field with positions in corporate finance/management, wholesale agribusiness lending and agricultural equity investing. As a wholesale lender, Boessen has worked across the United States with experience in the major agricultural regions and sectors of agriculture. In addition to extensive agribusiness experience, Boessen has a strong production agriculture background, coming from a farm family in Central Missouri.

Boessen and his wife Denise try to give their children, Mia, Carmen and Peter a small taste of farming on their small farmstead in rural Boone County.

Agribusiness Finance is intended to introduce students to the financial markets and help them understand the investment decisions and financing decisions firms make every day. Upon completion, students better understand how firms/individuals choose to make investments and how capital is raised for these investments. It will provide a critical conceptual foundation and basic tools for their own personal and professional financial decisions. The class helps students appreciate the roles and responsibilities of financial managers and allow them to make better decisions regarding this career field.

The Golden Apple Award is designed to recognize faculty in the College who excel and go “above and beyond” in teaching and/or advising.

To be eligible for the award, faculty members must demonstrate clarity, variability and enthusiasm. They need to be accessible to students, helpful, personable and act as a mentor who students can turn to for advice and direction. Nominees should be well-prepared for classes and encourage creative work. They should demonstrate how they provide opportunities for learning, teaching to clearly established objectives and expectations.

Previous Golden Apple awardees include Bryon Wiegand, associate professor of animal science; Marci Crosby, equine instructor; Linda Sowers, instructor of agricultural journalism, agriculture and applied economics; David Vaught, chair and director of graduate studies for the University of Missouri School of Natural Resources’ Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department; and Chip Kemp, Animal Sciences Livestock Judging Team coach.