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  • Writer's pictureBrian Kallback

Being impactful is being active

Updated: Jan 20, 2019

Article originally published in Telegraph Herald's bizTimes.

Kallback, B. (2018). Being impactful is being active. bizTimes.

As one of Loras College’s four dispositions, active learning is an integral component of our students’ campus experience.

In an email to faculty and staff to kick off the 2018-2019 school year, President Jim Collins specified that “Loras is a Catholic, liberal arts, residential, and actively-engaged campus community. We want our students to grow in their faith, intellectual capacity, personal and civic engagement. To that end, education occurs not just in the classroom, but through study away, internships, service, athletics, co-curricular experiences, residential life, Interfaith and diverse engagement, the Chapel, and in establishing formative relationships with staff/faculty” (Collins, 2018). In order to recognize these numerous campus learning opportunities, students must develop their active learning mindset.

This mindset is more than marketing. It is in the pursuit of active learning we ask our students to be engaged, curious, and proactive in their personal development. It is one of the reasons we are able to retain and graduate a high percentage of our students and why our students are heavily recruited by local and national organizations. Duhawks are in demand.

Our disposition aligns perfectly with the CFP Board’s Code of Ethics & Professional Responsibility (Rev. 2018). A CFP® professional “must provide Professional Services with competence, which means with relevant knowledge and skill to apply that knowledge. When the CFP® professional is not sufficiently competent in a particular area to provide the Professional Services required under the Engagement, the CFP® professional must gain competence, obtain the assistance of a competent professional, limit or terminate the Engagement, and/or refer the Client to a competent professional” (CFP Board, 2018).

For students within our unique CFP®-Registered Financial Planning & Wealth Management Program, the background in active learning prepares them for a career selflessly serving others in a fiduciary capacity. Being a strong, competent financial planner requires one to learn about their clients, their needs, dreams, wants, motivations, and wishes.

Active learning is always learning.

An active learning lifestyle involves looking at every situation, every conversation, and every moment as an opportunity for learning. “Innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship usually result … when things do not turn out as expected” (Hess, 2017, pp. 320). As we succeed and fail, we learn valuable information that strengthens our understanding. Being aware is being active.

Active learning is often re-learning how to learn

One of the challenges in reaching an active state of learning is not appreciating the process of learning. Few adults spend time considering how they learn best, often relying on tactics learned in high school or college. I remember a former colleague stating as she received her materials for an industry exam she had not studied for over twenty years. “Learning how to learn holds great promise for helping adults to expand their learning effectiveness” (Knowles, 2012, p. 215). As we age, our ability to use study techniques from the past decrease. Silent study time may be replaced by studying while watching Dora the Explorer with a two-year-old under your arm (but not the arm you use to highlight important phrases…). Life can get in the way of study skills we found successful in college. Being adaptable and adjustable is being active.

Active learning is required

The world is changing. Many are familiar with the maxim we are preparing students for jobs that may not yet be created. A laser-like focus on a particular career may end in disappointment if a student does not have the requisite ability to understand new technologies. “Humans will need to be good at not knowing…and continually updating their mental models to better reflect reality” (Hess, 2017, pp. 157). Our mental models, or how we view how things work in the world, become outdated quickly and information we learned in the past may no longer be applicable.

Financial planning is indicative of this reality. Robo-advisors become hybrid advisors. Fidelity can introduce “zero” expense ratio funds because technology has allowed for scale and efficiency. Vanguard is exploring blockchain for its index strategies. As the investment-only, transaction-focused non-fiduciary broker declines in favor of the holistic, fiduciary planner, the talent and skills required to manage a client relationship has morphed beyond the annual “let’s review your investment statement.” No longer can a broker, trust officer, or advisor simply know how to explain an investment statement in order to maintain a relationship. An advisor needs to be an active learner in order to keep pace with this constant change and innovation and thus be knowledgeable about how these advances impact their practice, their clients, and their career.

Therefore, our financial planning and wealth management students will understand the value of active learning and how it applies to their career within a fiduciary landscape. “The average age of a financial advisor is over fifty, and just over one-third of all advisors (about 110,000 in total) are expected to retire in the next ten years and must be replaced (Kitces, 2018). As our Duhawks fill this workforce need, join these practices, participate in succession plans, and assume leadership, they will find themselves ahead of colleagues who resist change or new ideas. Being a fiduciary requires being active.

As we develop our Duhawks, we instill this curiosity and appreciation for learning. Whether they end up as CFP® practitioners or in another industry, their appreciation of active learning will serve them well and move them forward. Being impactful is being active.


CFP Board. (2018). Code of ethics and standards of conduct. Retrieved from

Collins, J. (2018, August 15). A new year; the first day [E-mail].

Hess, E. & Ludwig, K. (2017). Humility is the new smart: Rethinking human excellence in the smart machine age. Oakland, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Kitces, M. (2018). The talent shortage of next-generation financial advisors. Nerds Eye View [blog]. Retrieved September 17, 2018, from

Knowles, M., Holton, E., & Swanson, R. (2012). The Adult learner: The definitive classic in adult education and human resource development, 7th Ed. New York, NY: Routledge.

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