2016 Silver Circle winner Özgür Arslan-Ayaydin
Since 1966, the Silver Circle Award has been presented to some of UIC’s best teachers. Winners, who are honored at their college commencements, receive $500 and their names join a long list of distinguished colleagues. But what makes the award especially meaningful is its selection committee: the graduating seniors.
In an era of intensified attention to oversight and international competition, the finance industry has an advocate in Özgür Arslan-Ayaydin.
Arslan-Ayaydin, clinical associate professor of finance, teaches students that holding themselves responsible to a higher standard than anybody else expects of them is absolutely essential to becoming future leaders and contributors in a competitive, innovative and fast-paced profession.
She fosters a learning environment where students can acquire technical skills and gain comprehensive knowledge. She always encourages students to think critically and challenge the views and ideas expressed by their instructors.
In her courses, Arslan-Ayaydin wants students to view financial theories and principles not only as formulas to be memorized, but to grasp the logic behind the theories and apply them as ways of interpreting reality and connecting to the real world.
“I always emphasize incentives beyond earning good grades to motivate the students,” Arslan-Ayaydin said. “When students understand how the topics studied in the class directly benefit them, they are more likely to care, and therefore, learn naturally.”
Arslan-Ayaydin looks to in-class examples for confirmation.
“In my investments course, I teach portfolio allocation by using the 401k retirement plans as the operating example,” she said. “Another example is about the carry-trade application as part of my international financial markets course, where I show students that potential returns from any type of investments, personal now or institutional later, are measurably increased when they are not restricted to investing in domestic financial markets.”
Teaching is an essential and enriching part of her academic life, Arslan-Ayaydin said. She likes the intellectual stimulation and classroom interaction, and she’s been fortunate in meeting some of the “brightest minds out there.”
“My reward lies in knowing that my students leave each one of my classes feeling, hopefully, one step better prepared for the global competition that awaits them just ahead,” she said.