Faculty Spotlight: Seth Levine

By Seth Levine

Faculty Spotlight: Seth Levine

By Seth Levine
Seth Levine's goal is to have his students leave his class being “financially literate” and not afraid of reviewing annual reports and financial statements. Get to know him in this faculty spotlight!
  • Full-Time Lecturer at Miami Herbert Business School
  • CPA (Florida), MPrA, MBA, and Ed.D. (ABD) from the University of Miami
What led you to become a professor?

One day a partner from the accounting firm where I began my career invited me to attend a Toastmasters meeting. Toastmasters is an international organization that promotes public speaking. After this experience, I returned to the University of Miami where I had been a student and began teaching accounting courses part-time as an adjunct professor. 30 years later and I’m still here!

What drives you as a professor?

I love working with students and educating them on money and investing. Accounting is the language of business, and so we spend lots of time investigating publicly-traded companies to determine who to buy, hold, and sell. I suppose we’re all trying to identify the next Amazon and Apple. I’m currently working on my Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) here at UM specializing in Applied Learning Sciences.

What is your teaching philosophy?

I like to encourage my students to read, read, read, especially about business. I highly recommend the Wall Street Journal and Barron’s, but also books like Rich Dad, Poor Dad, A Random Walk Down Wall Street, and anything about Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway. I also encourage them to pay attention to CNBC and watch shows like The Profit and Shark Tank. This makes for very lively and informative classroom discussions.

How do you engage your students in the classroom?

Many/most of them have already begun to invest, and so we speak about companies that might already be in their or their parents’ portfolios. I try to incorporate as many current events as possible, which is easy since companies are always releasing financial results.

How do you help students understand your topic?

Although we utilize Blackboard and Connect as learning platforms, students can still struggle in the course since accounting can seem like a foreign language. We spend a lot of class time working through exercises and problems, and students have many ways to ask for help, whether by messaging me through our LMS or by emailing or meeting during office hours. I encourage ALL students at the U to take advantage of their professors’ office hours since this is not an opportunity afforded to students at many larger schools.

How did you develop your approach to teaching?

My approach was probably developed via some trial and error. I’m sure 30 years ago when I first began that I wasn’t very good and probably lectured way too much. However, I thought back at who my favorite professors were during my time at the U, and one by one I tried to emulate the things I liked about each one. Over time I’ve probably channeled a lot of their spirits. I think the single most important characteristic for any professor is “connection.” Are you “connecting” with your students, and are you making a difference?

What are your goals as a professor?

I would love for each of my students to leave my class being “financially literate” and not afraid of reviewing annual reports and financial statements. I would like them to be able to apply and analyze accounting and financial concepts during their internships and once they begin their careers. This is precisely why we try to incorporate data analytics into our curriculum because this is one of the things our employers consider a very critical skill today.