By William Harms
Photo by Robert Kozloff

David Lubin chose to study sociology and finance at the University of Chicago out of a deeply held belief that evidence-based research on markets could positively impact society. He quickly discovered that teaching would play an instrumental role in his intellectual development and research. As an instructor in the College, Lubin has had many opportunities to work closely with undergraduates.

“When students asked me to post material weeks ahead of time, and discussed the optional readings during my first teaching assistantship on Urban Policy, I realized that University of Chicago undergraduates are not just smart, but driven by a thirst for knowledge,” he says. Since that time, he has assisted with, designed, and taught several of his own courses.

Lubin was influenced by the instruction and feedback of his own professors in sociology, and has assisted, given guest lectureships for, and/or led discussion groups in two of Prof. Saskia Sassen’s Globalization courses, two of Prof. Mario Small’s Inequality courses, and Prof. Stephen Raudenbush’s Statistical Methods of Research II course. “Each of my mentors have a passion for teaching, a unique style, gave me spot-on advice, and provided invaluable, detailed feedback on my own teaching,” he says.

Several years ago, Lubin was asked to co-design and instruct the three-quarter Senior Seminar sequence, which blends classroom lecture, colloquia, small-group discussion, and individual meetings. In this setting, he helps students identify feasible research questions, design and execute original research projects, and workshop BA theses. 

His students have written: “David is extremely helpful, understanding, approachable, and gives useful feedback,” that he is “it is clear that he is very deeply invested in helping us,” and that “David is always constructive and his advice is excellent; I love having him as a preceptor.” Students have also said that the course “taught me a ton about the research process,” and that “I think my BA is turning out very well, and this course is a huge reason why.”

Lubin, a PhD candidate in sociology who is working on a dissertation titled “The Rise, Networks, and Resilience of Securitization Financial Markets,” says he has come to appreciate the “synergistic relationship” between teaching and research, and works to organize the material and discussion in ways that are conducive to understanding as well as deeper inquiry.

“I realize that my students, by virtue of exposure to new material and ideas, will learn concepts, but it is thrilling to help them develop the ability to ask and begin to answer better questions,” he says. Lubin feels that learning, inquiry, discovery, and communication catalyze innovation, and are the forces behind positive change in society, and shared “I feel fortunate to be a part of this process.”

He adds: “I love to teach, and hope my students learn as much from me as I do from them; it is the answers to their profound questions that will make our world a better place.”

Lubin is currently designing a course titled the Sociology of Real Estate and another called Innovation and Markets.

Originally published on June 3, 2013.