Catching up with… Tomas Dvorak

Publication Date

Tomas Dvorak, professor of economics, joined Union in 2002. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. He teaches courses on data visualization, econometrics, business analytics and managerial economics. His expertise is in using data to make better decisions. He lives in a newly empty nest in Latham with his wife, Karen. Their two children, Sam and Sophie, recently departed for college.

Tomas Dvorak and family

Tomas Dvorak and family


FIRST APP YOU LOOK AT IN THE MORNING: Email, especially during the term. I tell my students to follow up if I don't respond in 12 hours, and to call 911 if I don't respond in 24.

ONE BOOK YOU HAVE READ MULTIPLE TIMES: I actually don't think I've ever read the same book twice! A book I have recommended more than any other is “Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow” by Yuval Noah Harari. I find his thoughts on history and the future very original.

BEST ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED: My parents liked to repeat the Czech version of "The Early Bird Gets the Worm." It wasn't about being first, or getting up early in the morning. It was more about working hard. I would modify this to say work hard, and love it.

FAVORITE SPOT ON CAMPUS: The top of the stairs of the Nott Memorial facing the library on Commencement day

GO-TO BREAKFAST: The same as when I was 10 years old: hot cocoa and a banana

NETFLIX OR AMAZON: Netflix for “The Chair.” Amazon for “Modern Love.” Apple TV for “Schmigadoon!”

FAVORITE PODCAST: I prefer audiobooks, but occasionally I listen to Freakonomics Radio.


ANOTHER SUBJECT YOU WISH YOU COULD TEACH: Literature. I would love to understand the ambiguity and nuance of text and meaning, and to be able to share this.

MOST CREATIVE EXCUSE YOU HEARD FOR A LATE ASSIGNMENT: Nothing comes to mind. However, I think I have a somewhat creative way of motivating students not to submit late assignments. I show them data on student interactions with Nexus – such as when they start assignments, how much time they spend, etc. I think this cuts way down on creative excuses.