William E Burrows

Senior Lecturer Emeritus

Career at the University of Washington

I started working at the UW as a student in 1968. As a student employee, I provided programming and statistical support to the faculty. After graduating with a M.A. degree in Business, I was hired by Dean Kermit Hanson to create a computing facility for the Business School.

In 1974, the Business School acquired an HP 2000 time-sharing system for instructional support. This was the first interactive system on campus, and aside from the Computer Science group, the Business School was the only academic unit on campus to have its own dedicated computer for student use. The HP system was replaced with a DEC VAX system as time went by and in the early 1980's we started installing IBM PCs.

I started part-time teaching in 1978 and continued teaching and managing the computer resources until 1983 when I resigned my management job and took on teaching as my full-time activity. During the 1980's and early 1990's, the IS curriculum evolved into what we see today.

I had the pleasure to work with undergraduate, MBA, and executive students. I was fortunate to be recognized with student-voted awards at all three levels. After I retired in 2002, the Information Systems and Operations Management faculty voted to award me with an emeritus position.

Must-Know Technologies

To be competitive, it is my belief that all business students should understand and be able to use the following technologies.

  • Data Exploration and Analytics Software

    You should be able to analyze data using tools such as Tableau and Microsoft Power BI.

  • Machine Learning

    David Chappell writes that "With lots of data about something, you can examine that data in intelligent ways to find patterns. And those patterns, which are typically too complex for you to detect yourself, can tell you how to solve a problem." Tools such as Microsoft's ML Studio provide a basis for learning about this field.

The Cloud

The “cloud” is here and you simply MUST know about how this technology works and what it can do for you.

Amazon states that “Cloud computing is the on-demand delivery of compute power, database storage, applications, and other IT resources through a cloud services platform via the internet with pay-as-you-go pricing.”

Microsoft adds that “Businesses can take advantage of scalability and flexibility by not being limited to physical constraints of on-premises servers, the reliability of multiple data centers with multiple redundancies, customization by configuring servers to your preferences, and responsive load balancing that can easily respond to changing demands.”

Some Thoughts ...

Although I am retired, I am still engaged in technology and I also think a lot about teaching. My University of Washington blog, titled “Rethinking Teaching: Bill’s Thoughts on Teaching & Other Things”, is the place where I share those thoughts.

Here are some links to my most recent posts.

  • Cost of college textbooks

    I was wandering through the UW Bookstore the other day and took a look at some prices for textbooks. WOW -- they are really expensive. more ...

  • Levels of understanding

    When we build a curriculum, we have to carefully evaluate course objectives. In considering a specific course, we need also consider what I call the “appropriate level of understanding” we expect students to achieve within the course. more ...