My best teacher that I have had thus far in my academic teacher would have to be Elias Semaan. Professor Semaan taught the upper level Finance courses here at JMU and his intelligence as well as his passion captured my attention and made me want to absorb the knowledge that he was preaching. I had Professor Semaan my sophomore and junior year and he was great. He taught a difficult course, FIN 360 Analytical Methods in Finance but he made difficult concepts and equations seem easy by going through the logic behind them and why and how we use them.
He added in humor to lighten the heavy load of the courses content and keep the class happy. He was also very creative and used his own little real world examples while explaining bigger critical concepts. Professor Semaan did an excellent job of keeping the class active and participating. He was open to the student’s opinion and always asked at the beginning of class if anyone was having trouble with anything in the course or had any questions, if they did we would discuss it as a class until everyone was caught up.
At first I had difficultly grasping some of the concepts as I had switched my major from Management to Finance, but he sat down with me one on one in his office and walked me through any questions I had with clear cut explanations until I had them down. He used tests as assessments for the class and they were tough but fair. If you paid attention and did all your work, the problems would seem familiar and if you slacked off in class or did not attend it would show through the grade of his tests.
He was not an easy teacher by any means and you had to work hard for a good grade but he made you want to succeed and motivated me to reach my full potential more than any other of my teachers had. I liked him so much in FIN 360 that the next year I took his other class, FIN 450 Financial Risk Management. I grew a close relationship with Professor Semaan as we shared stories, went over new and challenging concepts, and he served as a role model for me through my College career.
Professor Semaan said I remind him of a younger version of himself and I take that as a great compliment. He is very intelligent, he received his PhD in Finance at George Washington University and has been teaching at a University level for over 10 years now. He is in his early 50s and has had a hard life with many ups and downs but continues to push forward and motivate his students to succeed and reach their highest potential. He is dedicated, ambitious, intelligent, funny, charismatic and strong-minded and I admire him and respect him tremendously as a person and mentor.
He has made me want to put in all of my effort and work as hard as I have to until I understand what I am learning. He pushed me in the right direction and offers me priceless career information as to what paths to go into and how to make myself look good to employers. He even gave me his cell number to call him if I have any questions or problems at any time. He has my back and I respect him for all that he has done for me and all that he has accomplished throughout his life.
I believe Professor Semaan’s teaching philosophy is to have his students maximize their learning potential and focus on their strengths to pick a career path where they will ultimately be happy as well as successful. He has done a great job abiding by his philosophy and has helped me through College and the job searching process. He held office hours by schedule and by appointment and was very flexible and would work with you and do whatever he had to ensuring that his students learned. He also pushed his students to succeed through his charisma and charm and worked one on one with students who went out of their way to learn. He was my best teacher and I feel very lucky that him and I were able to cross paths and establish such a great relationship as teacher/student, mentor/role model, and friends.