When asked to describe himself, Jeff Dean replied “I am demanding. I have high expectations of the students I teach in the UW Tacoma’s business school. I don’t let moss grow between their toes. I consider myself pretty honest and ethical, and I have a reasonable sense of humor.” Jeff grew up in Rochester, New York. He came from the Vietnam era, and he was in the ROTC U.S. Navy for seven years, with part of his time spent on the Destroyer in the Western Pacific gun line.
He taught at the Merchant Marine academy in Long Island, New York. When asked how he ended up in Washington, Jeff replied, “We did what a lot of people would not have the nerve to do. My wife and I opened up a map and asked where would we like to live? I was stationed first in San Diego and San Francisco. I wanted to remain on the West coast. My wife has a Masters degree in Japanese regional studies from the University of Washington and I decided to try the Seattle area…We’ve been here 33 years, and I’ve been married 37 years to my one and only wife. After working in the banking business, I obtained my law degree and went out on my own. Jeff started his own law practice, and has been at UW Tacoma for almost 15 years. Jeff also teaches in the Milgard School of Business at UW Tacoma.
Jeff explains details of his career, “I’ve been teaching college level undergraduate and graduate level for 36 years…I’ve taught at 6 different institutions, the longest at UW Tacoma campus in the Milgard School of Business. I teach lots of things here including an infamous stats course, small business, and finance, but law is really my specialty. ”
Jeff described how he started his teaching career, “A long time ago when I was on active duty in the Navy, I was an instructor for the Merchant Marine academy and fell in love with teaching. I really enjoyed it. I love the electricity of the classroom. I like the interaction with my students, when they have questions and when they respond. I like to challenge my students, and I like when my students rise to the occasion. I obtained both my MBA and JD degree at night while working full time. I now teach daytime students and evening students.
Property law is my area of specialty, and I am a sole practitioner in the Seattle area. I don’t do divorces, chase ambulances, or take criminal cases. I deal mainly with community property, trust, estate work and pretty much everything associated with property. I was in the banking business for several years while teaching at night. From there I went to law school at what is now Seattle University, which is part of the University Puget Sound in Tacoma. I decided to leave banking and go out on my own and enjoy being a sole practitioner. I’ve owned my own law practice since 1992, and I really like the freedom. ”
Jeff’s educational background includes a BA in Economics from the University of Rochester in upstate New York, a MBA in Finance with a minor in quantitative methods from NYU in which he graduated with honors, and a JD degree from Seattle University, formerly the University of Puget Sound. When asked what he felt was his biggest accomplishment, Jeff responded, “I think my biggest accomplishment was getting my law degree and going into business for myself. The freedom and enjoyment of being my own boss is my biggest accomplishment. I was not a corporate type, I was kind of a renegade. I like to get into heated discussions and arguments about life, politics, and probe people for their thoughts, and intellectual discourse. I love to do that.”
Jeff mentioned his interests and hobbies, “I do some gardening and I am interested in plants. I’m not much of a sports person. I do like walking and getting outdoors.” Jeff does not consider himself much of a movie watcher, however, “I do like several types of music including classical, jazz and folk music. I like older folk music from the 1950’s and 1960’s, such as Kingston Trio and 4 aces.” When asked what Jeff enjoyed doing in his free time, Jeff replied, “I like gourmet eating with my wife and I belong to an international dinner group which involves trying different things from around the world.
When asked what motivates him, he replied, “It’s not money, believe it or not. My wife gets on my case about this. I’m motivated to enjoy the work I’m doing, and that’s what really motivates me.” Jeff shared what many people may not know about him, “I’m really a shy private person. I’m very at home in the classroom. I’m not a politician type that likes to mix and mingle, and I’m not good at small talk. I love the classroom I really love the students. They make my job fun.” When asked what his career goals were, Jeff replied, “I’m coming to an end of my career, trying to decide what I’m gonna do when I grow up, that’s what I tell people…” Jeff also shared what he likes to tell his students in class, “I want you to get your money’s worth.” He doesn’t want his students to complain to the registrar that they didn’t get their money’s worth in class. He also tells his students “If you weren’t attending my class, you’d be at home eating bon bons, watching TV, and getting fat.”
By Carly Calabrese, Tacoma.com staff