Excellence in teaching

Published: May 14, 2014

MIT Sloan instructors honored at the Annual Excellence in Teaching Awards


			Catherine Gamon, director of the Student Life Office, welcomes everyone to the MIT Sloan Excellence in Teaching LuncheonCatherine Gamon, director of the Student Life Office, welcomes everyone to the MIT Sloan Excellence in Teaching Luncheon

Assistant Professor Catherine Turco and Senior Lecturer Leigh Hafrey shared honors as Teacher of the Year at the 24th Annual MIT Sloan Excellence in Teaching Awards last week.

Dirk Jenter, visiting associate professor of finance, was presented with the Outstanding Teacher Award, while Lauren Anne Herman, MBA ’14, was given the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award.

Also recognized at the awards luncheon were Professor Andrew W. Lo, as a 2014 recipient of the prestigious Samuel M. Seegal Faculty Prize, and professors Georgia Perakis and Juanjuan Zhang, both of whom received the Jamieson Prize for Excellence in Teaching.


			Juanjuan Zhang (l) and Georgia Perakis are recipients of the Jamieson Prize for Excellence in TeachingJuanjuan Zhang (l) and Georgia Perakis are recipients of the Jamieson Prize for Excellence in Teaching

Dean David Schmittlein presented the awards at a luncheon organized by the Student Life Office and Sloan Educational Services.

The Teacher of the Year and Outstanding Teacher awards are nominated by MIT Sloan students to honor instructors who have shown exceptional performance and motivation both in and out of the classroom. The final recipients are chosen based on the quantity and quality of their nominations.

“The expectations that our students have of great teaching is appropriate,” Schmittlein pointed out.

Hafrey has taught MBA Core courses for many years, and recently was named as a lecturer for the Organizational Leadership and Change class, which spans the entire two-year Leaders for Global Operations (LGO) program. Students noted how he inspires students to think deeply about principled leadership.


			Leigh Hafrey (l) is honored by Dean David Schmittlein as Teacher of the YearLeigh Hafrey (l) is honored by Dean David Schmittlein as Teacher of the Year

“His calm and engaging style made everyone in his class participate fully,” wrote one student. Said another, “Professor Hafrey is an excellent professor who has had an enormous impact on my academic experience. Through his Leadership Stories class, he makes us think about aspects of leadership that will be very important in the future.”

In accepting the award, Hafrey thanked his colleagues and graciously gave credit to his students. “Teaching at Sloan is a real privilege,” he said. “Because you never walk out of the classroom the way you were when you walked in … every time is a learning experience.”

Fellow Teacher of the Year Turco, who joined MIT Sloan’s Organization Studies Group in 2013, taught the MBA Core course Organizational Processes, or “OP,” as it is sometimes known. During the semester – her first teaching at a business school – she was lauded for “fostering an atmosphere of respect and openness in the classroom,” and “made the subject of OP come alive for all of us,” in the words of one nominator.


			Catherine Turco was also honored as Teacher of the YearCatherine Turco was also honored as Teacher of the Year

“She did an amazing job engaging the class in the discussion and teaching us the concepts through relevant and easy [to remember] examples,” said another student.

Turco was also appreciative of those who took her course. “The students here just blew me away. It was amazing, and I was tremendously grateful for such a rewarding experience,” she said.

Jenter, a visiting professor from Stanford Graduate School of Business, has won Excellence in Teaching Awards, including Teacher of the Year, as an assistant professor at MIT Sloan in years past. Jenter’s research has also won several awards, and focuses on the interaction of managers and firms with capital markets. In the classroom, he is known for “great energy, passion and humor,” according to one student. He “brought finance to life with an incredibly lively performance every single day. He was like a rock star who put his heart and soul into every single performance,” said another.


			Dirk Jenter (l) receives congratulations on his Outstanding Teaching Award from Dean David SchmittleinDirk Jenter (l) receives congratulations on his Outstanding Teaching Award from Dean David Schmittlein

MIT Sloan senators Jeff Clark, MBA ’14, and Shivani Kumar, MBA ’15, presented Lauren Anne Herman, MBA ’14, with the Outstanding Teaching Assistant (TA) Award for her work with the Data Models and Decisions (DMD) Core course. Herman was cited for her “enthusiasm and dedication.” As one nominator wrote: “Lauren was able to take complex theoretical discussions from the lectures and break them down into approachable ways to solve problems. She was always on hand for additional questions, and made the overall experience in DMD rewarding instead of a challenge.”


			Lauren Anne Herman (center) receives the Outstanding TA Award from MIT Sloan senators Jeff Clark and Shivani KumarLauren Anne Herman (center) receives the Outstanding TA Award from MIT Sloan senators Jeff Clark and Shivani Kumar

Although he was unable to attend the luncheon, Professor Andrew Lo was honored with the Samuel M. Seegal Faculty Prize, which is awarded to a faculty member for “pursuing excellence” at either MIT Sloan or the MIT School of Engineering every other year.


			Andrew Lo is this year’s recipient of the Samuel M. Seegal Faculty PrizeAndrew Lo is this year’s recipient of the Samuel M. Seegal Faculty Prize

“I’m profoundly grateful and humbled to be included in the company of previous recipients of the prestigious Samuel M. Seegal Faculty Prize, and will strive to live up to the expectations that come with such recognition,” Lo said.

Schmittlein praised Lo’s work and reputation, and said, “It is great to see our faculty so well-respected across campus and across MIT’s communities.”