UB Management Dean's Gift Endows Faculty Teaching Award
Arjang Assad, dean of the UB School of Management, considers himself lucky to have had at least one remarkable teacher during each stage of his studies from elementary to high school through college and graduate school.
"Each of them had a big influence on me because of superlative teaching, Arjang says. "I still feel the positive impact of those influences and I am very grateful for that."
He believes that such 'master teachers' contribute significantly to UB students' overall experience and ultimately, their level of achievement.
This belief in the value of teaching excellence inspired Arjang to establish an award in the School of Management designed to pay tribute to outstanding faculty members who have demonstrated distinction in teaching and are passionate about their profession.
Recipients of the award—which also includes a stipend of at least $2,500—are chosen by the school's teaching excellence committee.
The first Arjang A. Assad Excellence in Teaching Award was presented this year to Muriel Anderson, adjunct associate professor, who consistently receives superlative evaluations while teaching the widest variety of undergraduate courses of any instructor.
"Muriel has demonstrated sustained excellence in teaching over an extended period of time and in the face of a very heavy course load," Arjang says. "We are delighted to present her with this well-deserved honor."
With the help of the UB Office of Gift Planning, Arjang arranged to give—with a large share of his gift made through a bequest commitment—to endow the award. He hopes the recognition will "encourage all of us to place a greater value on truly effective, insightful and innovative teaching and learning."
He believes UB graduates tend to remember those outstanding teachers who went above and beyond to mentor them while they were university students.
"One of my happiest moments while interacting with our alumni is when they mention one of our teachers who inspired them in a special way," Arjang says. "I hope that many more of our students would form and retain such memories of their best teachers and mentors."
He also encourages other UB schools to establish similar awards.
"The beauty of teaching excellence is how varied and multifaceted it can be as one moves across different subject matters," he says. "It is imperative that we recognize its value across schools and disciplines."