Haub Professors Recognized for Innovation in Teaching

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Two members of the SJU faculty — C. Ken Weidner II, Ph.D., and Elena Lvina, Ph.D., both assistant professors of management — were recently awarded the Innovation in Teaching Award by the Mid-Atlantic Association of Colleges of Business Administration (MAACBA) for their experiential learning model, inspired by medical grand rounds, in graduate business courses.

“In teaching hospitals, experienced doctors will instruct groups of residents by presenting them with a case from an actual patient,” Weidner explains. “It’s an effective way to teach based on real-world experience, and we thought the theory could apply to business classes.”

In their MBA courses, Weidner and Lvina ask students to anonymously write a brief case to present to their peers based on past or present experience in their actual jobs. The class members vote on the cases to tackle and work on them in groups.

“By using active cases from the students’ workplaces, we develop their skills in self-reflection and applying theory to practice,” says Lvina, who teaches the “executive rounds” model in her Executive MBA classes, which are cohort-based. “The students also learn valuable leadership skills that can be implemented directly in their careers.”

Since implementing “grand rounds” both professors have noticed more energetic participation in their classes.

The effectiveness of the method has proven itself. Both Lvina and Weidner report high quality projects from their students, and those who have taken the classes has responded with overwhelmingly positive course evaluations. “This approach results in a highly engaged class of self-directed learners effectively applying research to everyday situations,” they maintain. Students in on-site programs have found the process invaluable in developing problem-solving skills and building working relationships with their peers.

Lvina and Weidner presented their method in a session at the MAACBA annual conference, held last month in Philadelphia.

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