by Abena Foreman-Trice
Six professors at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business have been recognized with the Wells Fargo Award for Excellence in Course Materials for teaching cases they developed to prepare students to make decisions amid uncertainty.
Darden's case and teaching materials are also used by other schools and programs, and are sold through Darden Business Publishing — the second largest case publisher in the United States.
Case studies are dynamic learning tools that combine conceptual material with real-world business situations. In class, professors engage students in a Socratic-style discussion of how to tackle the issues that case materials present. The case method is a hallmark of the Darden experience.
"The Wells Fargo Award celebrates one of the most important things we do at Darden as faculty members - develop educational and thought-provoking teaching and research materials," said Professor S. Venkataraman, senior associate dean for faculty and research. "Outstanding teaching combined with excellent course materials are elements that contribute to the unique Darden experience."
This year's award winners are Professors Marian Chapman Moore, Erika Hayes James, Susan Chaplinsky, Pedro Matos, Rich Evans and Yiorgos Allayannis.
Both Moore and James received the Wells Fargo Award for High Impact Case.
The Research and Course Development Committee at Darden, which gave the awards, recognized Moore's case, "Positioning: The Essence of Marketing Strategy." The case provides readers the tools to develop positioning statements in order to reach their target markets. The committee recognized James' case, "Decision-Making and Leading Through Crisis," which she co-wrote with Darden Senior Researcher Gerry Yemen. This case offers three vignettes of challenging situations, in which students can practice effective decision-making.
"For the first time, we have recognized technical notes as part of the best-selling case series," said Raj Venkatesan, committee chair and Bank of America Research Professor of Business Administration. "The marketing positioning technical note and the case study on crisis leadership illustrate the influence Darden faculty have on the way instructors across the globe teach fundamental business concepts."
Susan Chaplinsky received the Wells Fargo Award for Distinguished Case Writer. Chaplinsky, the Tipton R. Snavely Professor of Business Administration at Darden, last year received the All-University Teaching Award, and in 2012 received the Wachovia Award for Excellence in Teaching Materials — Innovative Case.
"Susan Chaplinsky is a prolific case writer," Venkatesan said. "Her case studies always reflect the ideals of real-world cases and research that influence practice."
Matos, Evans and Allayannis received the Wells Fargo Award for Case Series for the cases "Gold as a Portfolio Diversifier," "The Market for Gold: SPDR Gold Shares and Beyond" and "Betting on Gold Using a Futures-Based Fold ETF." This series focuses on the performance of gold as an investment asset in the wake of the market collapse in 2008 and in the macroeconomic uncertainty during the fall of 2012. It challenges students to examine whether gold would have provided capital preservation and improve the overall risk-return tradeoff of a portfolio or an asset class at the peak of a bubble.
"The Gold ETF case series showed innovation in teaching fundamental concepts through very unconventional and new industry contexts," said Venkatesan.
The Wells Fargo Awards for Excellence in Course Materials are intended to encourage the development of world-class educational materials — part of Darden's educational mission.
In 1982, Wachovia, which merged with and is now part of Wells Fargo, established an endowment to fund research and case development awards at Darden. The Wells Fargo awards alternate each year between recognition of course materials and honoring faculty for their outstanding research and publications.
About the Darden School of Business
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business is one of the world's leading business schools, offering MBA, Ph.D. and Executive Education programs. The unique Darden experience combines the case study method, top-ranked faculty whose research advances global managerial practice and business education, and a tight-knit learning environment to develop responsible and complete leaders who are ready to make an impact.
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