Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Let the adventure begin!

"The revolutionary idea that defines the boundary between modern times and the past is the mastery of risk:  the notion that the future is more than a whim of the gods and that men and women are not passive before nature.” (1)

"The ability to define what may happen in the future and to choose among alternatives lies at the heart of contemporary societies.  Risk management guides us over a vast range of decision-making, from allocating wealth to safeguarding public health, from waging war to planning a family, from paying insurance premiums to wearing a seatbelt, from planting corn to marketing cornflakes.”  (2)
Both of the quotations above are from Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk by Peter L. Bernstein, the first couple of chapters of which I am using in the new enterprise risk management course I am teaching to informatics undergraduates this quarter.  I thought it would be a good idea to give them a quick survey of how things stood before 1200, and then to see what Renaissance thinkers improved.  They're reading these chapters (not the textbook for the course) up against the 2014 University of Washington Enterprise Risk Management Report to the Board of Trustees.  

In this first class, it will be my job to explain also what an "enterprise" is, given that many undergraduates do not seem to be aware of the role that public and private companies play in our society.

Students will also draw out of a hat to determine what historical risk event their team will be responsible for presenting to the rest of the class during the quarter.  See what you think, and whether you think anyone will be falling asleep during class.  I'll report back later this week, when I describe what I'm doing in my graduate course that I've never taught before.  In the meantime, here are the seven events I've selected to go into the hat tomorrow.

 Hurricane Katrina (2005) – November 2

London Transit Bombings (2005) – November 16

Deepwater Horizon oil spill (2010) – November 23

Office of Personnel Management data breach (2015) – Oct. 2

Oso landslide (2014) – October 7

Edward Snowden and Espionage Act violations (2013) – Oct. 12

Destruction of the World Trade Center (9/11/2011) – Oct.19


  1. Normally, students are advised by college assignment help online that they must not take any risk as it would cost them badly but I advise my students that they must do something unusual not in the bad sense but for the betterment of their careers and that opens up their minds and they are able to understand the difficult queries as well because they are always ready to handle the problem they will face.