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Photos: MIT Sloan faculty members honored at annual teaching awards luncheon

The Annual Excellence in Teaching Awards recognize instructors for inspiring students in the classroom

By Amy MacMillan Bankson  |  May 11, 2016

MIT Sloan School of Management faculty members were honored at the 26th Annual Excellence in Teaching Awards May 9 at the Samberg Conference Center on campus. Each year, students nominate instructors for these awards and the final recipients are chosen based on the quantity and quality of their nominations.

Taking top honors this year were Christopher Noe as Teacher of the Year and Rodrigo Verdi and Lily Fang as Outstanding Teachers. Operations Research Center doctoral student Jerry Lai Kung received the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award.

Arnold Barnett and Adrien Verdelhan were each awarded the Jamieson Prize for Excellence in Teaching, which is the school’s most prestigious teaching prize. The Jamieson Prize was established in 2006 and is awarded each year to two MIT Sloan faculty members and two electrical engineering and computer science faculty members for their contributions to educational excellence at MIT.

John Sterman won the Samuel M. Seegal Faculty Prize, which was established by Paula Seegal-Thompson for her father, a member of the class of 1922. The Seegal Prize is shared with the MIT School of Engineering and is awarded every other year to a professor “who inspires students in pursuing and achieving excellence.” The Seegal and Jamieson faculty prizes are selected by review committees at MIT.

David Schmittlein, dean of MIT Sloan, recognized all of the honorees at a luncheon organized by the Student Life Office and Sloan Educational Services.

Christopher Noe, (left) a senior lecturer in accounting, received Teacher of the Year honors. Noe, who has been teaching for more than 20 years, was lauded by students for making a “technical subject compelling and interesting.” In the nominations, one student wrote, “Professor Noe has turned a subject I once found daunting and boring into my favorite class at Sloan thus far!”

Associate Professor of Accounting Rodrigo Verdi, who was named a Teacher of the Year last year, won an Outstanding Teacher Award. One student nominator wrote of Verdi, “[He] inspires me to not only work hard at mastering the topic of accounting, but he also inspires me to be a kind and compassionate leader.”

Lily Fang, an associate professor of finance at INSEAD, also won an Outstanding Teacher Award. Last year, she was a visiting associate professor of finance at MIT Sloan and taught financial management.

Fang, who one student called “a dedicated professor who is passionate [about] finance,” could not be present for the awards ceremony but wrote in an email, “I am thrilled. This is the best type of reward we get as professors.”

Professor John Sterman was awarded the Samuel M. Seegal Faculty Prize. Sterman, who is recognized as a leading authority on sustainability and system dynamics, is a longtime faculty member at MIT Sloan. “I consider it a privilege to be on the faculty here,” he said. “In part, because of my great colleagues, the terrific administrative staff, the administration … all the way to the custodians here. But especially [because of] the students. Every day, the students inspire me.”

Professor Arnold Barnett was one of two recipients of the Jamieson Prize for Excellence in Teaching. Barnett, who has been voted Teacher of the Year and Outstanding Teacher multiple times over the past two decades, is well known for his work on probability, statistics, and aviation safety. “Studying probability, as I do, I really believe in the concept of luck, and doubtless one of the luckiest experiences of my life is having been asked to join the faculty here a long, long time ago,” he said. Barnett also credited the students for inspiring him to give back. He has arranged to have the royalties from alumni purchases of his most recent textbooks to be donated to a fellowship fund for future MIT Sloan students.

Also awarded the Jamieson Prize, Professor Adrien Verdelhan was lauded for his redesign of an MBA core finance course. Verdelhan also received multiple student nominations for the Excellence in Teaching Awards. In accepting the award, Verdelhan credited his colleagues and students. “It’s a bit unfair that I get this prize,” he said. “[Redesigning the class] was really about teamwork. A lot of people helped me … and I got extremely lucky, because I got a fantastic team of teaching assistants … the best team I’ve ever had.”

Doctoral candidate Jerry Lai Kung (left) was honored with the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award for his work in the Data, Models, and Decisions course. One student wrote, “Jerry went above and beyond to help our class understand the course material.”

Catherine Gamon, director of the MIT Sloan Student Life Office, offered the opening remarks at the luncheon.

Students, faculty, and staff members celebrated the Excellence in Teaching Awards.