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Celebrating management teaching excellence

Posted by Nicole Maunsell on February 27, 2020 in News

L-R: Interim Co-Dean Vivian Howard, Laura Cumming, Rick Nason, Tony Walker and donor Bill Black

The 2019–2020 Management Teaching Excellence Awards (MTEAs) were presented in January to three professors in the Faculty of Management.

Tony Walker is an assistant professor in the School for Resource and Environmental Studies who brings a decade of professional practice as an environmental consultant to his role. He teaches courses such as research design methods and pollution abatement for graduate students, and team-teaches the interdisciplinary undergraduate management course. He has supervised 23 directed study courses and helped many of his students go on to publish in peer-reviewed journals.

Myriam Mora Hernandez, the MES student whose research Walker supervises, presented his award. She says he began helping her before she arrived in Halifax and is the one who gave her the confidence to apply to grad school. “He helps you believe in yourself and motivates you to continue learning on your own,” she says.

“I exist for my students,” Walker said when he accepted the award. “We all do. I consider them my junior colleagues.”

Rick Nason is an associate professor of finance in the Rowe School of Business who consults internationally on a variety of finance, risk management and complexity science issues. He has been the faculty advisor for the Dalhousie Investment Society since it started in 2011 and coaches graduate and undergraduate case competition teams. He’s known for expecting his students to understand current events and how they affect financial management.

Jesse Salomons, the Corporate Residency MBA student who presented the award, says that Nason is the most influential person he’s ever met. “He sets the bar high for his students, but also for himself,” he says and notes in Nason’s parlance that “he gets us outside the comfort zone and into the growth zone.”

When he accepted the award, Nason said he had planned to move on to something else after two years of teaching, which is his second career. He has been at Dalhousie for 18 years. “The reason I’m still here is the students,” he says.

Laura Cumming is a senior instructor in accounting in the Rowe School of Business. She was a faculty advisor for the Rowe Women in Business Society when it launched in 2015, and in 2013 initiated the Rowe School of Business Volunteer Income Tax Clinic in partnership with the Canada Revenue Agency. Cumming is known for playing music before each class to help students feel relaxed and engaged. She started the Faculty’s Teaching Community of Practice in 2016 to help instructors explore teaching challenges and techniques together.

Kevin Vigneau, president of the Dalhousie Commerce Society, presented her award. He says that Cumming is known for genuinely caring about all of her students, not just those at the top of the class, and noted that the real-world examples she provides emphasize concepts that help her students get jobs in the real world.

On accepting her award, Cumming joked that “people are often surprised at how shy and introverted” she is and recognized her teaching colleagues as well as staff in the Undergraduate Advising Office and Management Career Services who all contribute to the student experience.

Given annually, the MTEAs celebrate teachers who, per the award’s guidelines, “display the qualities of superior teaching, excellent understanding of the subject area and interest in the needs of the students.” Student ratings are integral to the selection process, and the selection committee includes student members. First awarded in 2010, the MTEAs are made possible by a donation from alumnus Bill Black.