It Was Always All About Stats and Spreadsheets

Lee Mundell, Ph.D., recently retired from Loyola’s College of Business after 27 years of teaching, research, and serving the Loyola community. During his tenure at Loyola, he taught many students the finer points of navigating Excel software and spreadsheets—an important skill valued by many employers. Mundell’s academic career includes a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina, with a B.S. and B.A. from the University of Florida.

Jerry Dauterive, Ph.D., former associate dean of the CoB, hired Mundell back when the CoB was the CBA and located in Stallings Hall. Dauterive remembers that one important aspect of Mundell’s contributions to the college was his early adoption of technology in the delivery of business education. “Lee, I believe, was one of the first, if not the first, faculty member to offer his stats sections in a computer lab. He realized the importance of making sure that our graduates were comfortable with the use of PCs in the workplace.” Today, such skills are a given requirement of the workplace—but not so back in the day. Mundell had the foresight to make sure CoB students were ready.

Mundell’s teaching and research centered on statistics and quantitative methods. As he likes to say, “To some that might be a conversation stopper, but please don’t let it be.” His most recent research with colleagues was in the development of Microsoft Excel-based exercises for classroom use. The exercises involve putting students in problem-solving situations, with Excel used to readily change the problem scenarios and to do any needed calculations. In most of the exercises, students first come up with a solution individually, then in groups, and then the group results are compared to expert opinion. “What I like about these types of exercises is that they take learning from the memorizing and problem-solving level to fully grasping and applying the concepts to real-life situations. The exercises range from store and webpage layout problems, to managing which tasks to do as a store manager.”

Mundell’s statistics classes were taught in a modern computer lab setting that reminded him a lot of the bridge of the Starship Enterprise. “I always expected to hear ‘beam me up, Scotty’ at anytime during class.” Mundell has gotten a good bit of favorable feedback from former students who are now wielding computers, spreadsheets, and statistics as aides to fun and profit at work. His course in business statistics is often cited as the most helpful course by CoB interns who are suddenly faced with creating spreadsheets as part of internship duties.

Mundell says he has really enjoyed working with Loyola students both in and out of class and as advisees. “I have worked as faculty advisor to the MBA association, Delta Sigma Pi, Beta Gamma Sigma, and to the Loyola Club Sculling Team.”

His interest in students and their activities did not go unnoticed. Former Associate Dean Dauterive commented, “I was always impressed with Lee’s dedication to Loyola and the College of Business, and especially our students.”

Mundell’s cheerful smile will be missed by his many colleagues in the CoB. Of course, retirement will leave him more time for some of his favorite pastimes with his wife, Sandy: attending Loyola basketball and volleyball games, water aerobics classes, and visiting son Bradley in Pennsylvania.

Mundell was honored one last time, receiving emeritus status upon his retirement.

View the complete fall 2012 issue of Loyola Executive.

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