Tom Comstock

I am a teacher. And that helps me learn something new every day.

I used to be an accountant with clients in the banking, manufacturing, and not-for-profit sectors. I also spent some time with two of the world's preeminent investment banks, running a global syndicate desk and serving as a product manager for institutional fixed income products. Along the way, I also successfully restructured a corporate finance group for a leading regional investment bank.

I pursued my doctoral training in the field of Management & Organization. In particular, I like to focus in the areas of strategy, international management, and social issues in management. My teaching represents the intersection of those two pursuits … a formal study of organizations that is deeply grounded in global managerial expertise. More importantly, my teaching flows from all that I have learned from the coworkers, friends, faculty, clients, and students I have interacted with throughout my career.

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Philosophy of Learning

I don’t focus so much on a philosophy of teaching in my classes. Rather, I depart from a philosophy of learning. I am an unabashed Constructivist, and firmly believe that knowledge is best gained through social interaction. I think that occurs when learners:

Congregate: whether face-to-face, online, or through informal meetings, our ability to critically analyze and build new knowledge grows from an opportunity to join with others in social settings and to interact with those “More Knowledgeable Others” we can find around us. My teaching style centers on structuring social organizations (classes, groups, teams) that will spur meaningful learning environments.

Connect: My role as an instructor is to foster learning environments that help students connect with More Knowledgeable Others, which could include me, other students in the class, and experts available via the web. I strive to help my students connect to and interact with the expertise, knowledge, data, facts, situations, and analyses present in their environment.

Construct: Ultimately, then, my role as a teacher is to facilitate the activities and interactions of students with each other, the world outside their class, and curated materials within the class to foster the construction of new knowledge and schemas. In short, I view my role in the learning process as helping to foster what Petersen & Eeds (1990) described as the “coproducing” of meaning.

Academic Background

Doctoral studies, The Pennsylvania State University
Concentrations: Social Issues in Management and Strategy. Within these concentrations, I have studied under Dr. Donald Hambrick, whose work informed the Upper Echelons School of strategy, and Dr. Charles Snow, whose work informed the Configuration School of strategy. In addition, I studied under Dr. Linda Trevino, a leading academic in the field of Business Ethics, and Dr. Philip Cochran, a widely cited expert in the fields of Stakeholder Theory and Corporate Social Responsibility.
Comprehensive Exam Areas (passed all): Organization Theory, Social Issues in Management, Strategy, Research Methods, Multilevel Analysis

MBA, The Pennsylvania State University
Concentrations in Finance and International Business
Honors Thesis: The International Monetary Fund: A Review of Economic and Political Implications from the Perspective of Stakeholder Theory

BBA, St. Bonaventure University
Majors: Finance and Accounting
Dr. Pierre Bretey Award: Outstanding Student of Finance


I believe my teaching experience is interwoven with my managerial experience, and that my teaching is informed and enhanced by that managerial experience.

My principal teaching experience stems from my years as an Assistant Professor of Management with the Dahlkemper School of Business at Gannon University. Given my experience, I taught a very broad range of courses there. While principally responsible for teaching Strategy/Policy, Business Ethics, and Organizational Behavior at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, I also taught courses ranging from teamwork (designed by me) to graduate courses in Decision Making to Quality Management.

I have also served as an instructor and adjunct faculty member at Penn State Behrend (International Management, Social Issues, Business Policy, Microeconomics) and Mercyhurst University (Quality Management, Labor Management, Quantitative Management, Entrepreneurship). In addition, I served as an instructor of Managerial Accounting while pursuing my MBA, and taught both Social Issues in Management and Business ethics during my doctoral studies at Penn State.

My managerial career commenced with my position of Senior Accountant for Arthur Andersen & Co. After securing my MBA, I joined Merrill Lynch Capital Markets in New York, serving as Vice President and Manager of Institutional Fixed Income Marketing. I was invited to join Bankers Trust Co., and served as Vice President and Corporate Syndicate Manager. I subsequently returned home to care for ailing family members while working as Senior Vice President and Director of Corporate Finance at McDonald & Co. Securities in Cleveland, OH. Since then, and during my teaching career, I have undertaken various consulting assignments.

Select Presentations

Comstock, T. G. (2008) Critical Conversations: A Tool to Engage Students in Critical Thinking. Presented at the annual meeting of the Midwest Academy of Management. October 2008: St. Louis, MO

Comstock, T. G. (2008) Where Do I Turn Now? Integrating Mind Maps and Case Discussions in Knowledge Creation. Presented at the Gannon University Second Annual Regional Symposium: Excellence and Innovation in Teaching and Learning. May 2008: Erie, PA

Cochran, P. L., Baucus, M. S. and Comstock, T. G. (2005) Agents, Owners and Stakeholders: The Lack of Diversification in Managerial Portfolios and its Impact on Corporate Stakeholders. Presented to the annual meeting of the Academy of Management. August 2005: Honolulu, HI

Comstock, T. G. (2003) Many Happy Returns: Kohlberg and the Case for the Cognitively Moral Investor. Presented to the annual meeting of the Academy of Management. August 2003: Seattle, WA

Comstock, T. G. (2002) Changing Places: Stakeholder Management and the Labor Process in a Global Environment. Presented at the annual meeting of the Academy of Management. August 2002: Denver, CO

Comstock, T. C. (2002) Relational Resources: Gaining Advantage Through Stakeholder Management. Presented at the annual meeting of the International Association for Business and Society. October 2002: Victoria, B.C.

Comstock, T. G. and Cochran, P. L. (2002). Top Management Teams and Stakeholders: Using Demography to Predict Social Performance. Presented at the annual meeting of the International Association for Business and Society. October 2002: Victoria, B.C.

Cochran, P. L. and Comstock, T. G. (1999) The Institutionalization of Business Ethics. Presented at the annual meeting of the International Association for Business and Society. April 1999: Paris, FR