Professor of Finance
At North Park Since: 2002
Dr. Al Kamienski brings more than 10 years of corporate experience to his finance and economics classrooms. He is the 2013 recipient of the Zenos Hawkinson Award for Teaching Excellence and the founder of the grant-funded Freedom Forum, exploring issues of economic freedom in theory and practice. Dr. Kamienski's international teaching experience includes business courses taught in Spain, China, and Belgium.
“Why do I choose to teach at North Park? For me, it’s pretty simple. Number one, it’s about being able to use the gifts that God gave me to develop young peoples’ lives. Secondarily, it allows me to integrate and further develop my faith in terms of how I teach and how I evolve,” he says.
“Finally, it's about building quality, lasting relationships,” he adds. “North Park gives me the opportunity to work with students who have truly unique potential and help push them to rewarding places that they may not have been able to find on their own if they did not have someone caring for and directly invested in their development.”
Dr. Kamienski’s successful career in management consulting and corporate finance, along with his continuous consulting work with both for-profit and nonprofit organizations, gives him the advantage of knowing what skills and abilities new graduates need to be successful, and he creates courses that will help students meet those demands. “The way my courses are designed is an intentional progression from content acquisition to contextual problem-solving and finally to application of the content so that students are prepared to add immediate value to the organizations from which they launch their careers,” he says. “It’s the general skills that are the differentiators for students. Things like leadership, creativity, communications, and teamwork—all those intangible things that employers value in the workplace.”
He designs his courses to challenge each type of skill he's teaching, from complex problem solving with “Professor Al Specials” in Foundations of Finance, to online simulations of running a manufacturing company and competing with students around the world in Strategic Management. “By the time we get to Strategic Management, one of the key themes I project to them is evolving from a learner to a leader,” Dr. Kamienski says.
He is always glad to hear how his former students are doing, and he's interested in more than job titles and salaries. “I don’t just measure my students’ success based off of what their original occupational goals were,” he says, “but on the strength that they have in updating their goals and saying, ‘This is really my calling and that’s what I want to pursue because that’s what makes me happy and gives me the best opportunity to contribute to society in the way that I feel comfortable.’”
Dr. Kamienski believes that preparing students for this ability to be reflective and flexible is what makes a North Park education personal and unique. “If you come here, you’re going to be cared for in unique ways. If that’s what you need to enhance your development, this is what we have to offer.”
PhD, Educational Psychology, Loyola University, Chicago
MBA, Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University
BA, Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign