She was not even planning on attending the banquet since she was working on a paper but her department chair told her that she had to go. Michelle is an Assistant Professor there and this is only her second year of teaching there. However, all of the PhD students in our doctoral program at the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst are required to teach for a few semesters. This helps them a lot in their future positions as academics and even assists the few who opt to go to industry since public speaking is so important in any profession today. Michelle had been earlier recognized by the Isenberg School with the Outstanding Doctoral Student Researcher Award and together we wrote the Competing on Supply Chain Quality book, which was published by Springer in 2016.
Below is a photo of Dr. Li with her award next to her colleague, Dr. Mello.
To achieve a teaching award so early in one's academic career is quite the accomplishment and to have the award be a surprise makes it extra special and sweet. Plus, Michelle is not a native speaker of English. It was thrilling to share in Michelle's happiness and much-deserved recognition. She attributes some of her success, even in teaching, to the support that she has received from the Supernetwork Center at the Isenberg School, which I founded in 2001 and continue to direct. She has been with the center since she matriculated at UMass Amherst and continues to collaborate with us as an Assistant Professor.
Last year, also in the spring, my doctoral student Shivani Shukla, who will be defending her dissertation soon, and will be my 20th PhD student (Dr. Sara Saberi, who is now an Assistant Professor at WPI, was my 19th), received the 2016 Outstanding Doctoral Student Teaching Award from the Isenberg School. Given that the Isenberg School has 7 different departments and even more tracks in its PhD program, this is quite an accomplishment.
And the good news about my former doctoral students, many of who are now professors, some even Full Professors, continues to arrive.
As for recognition for outstanding teaching, Dr. Trisha Anderson was recognized in 2014 by her university, Texas Wesleyan University, with the Exemplary Teaching Award.
Dr. Jose M. Cruz, who was also my PhD student and is a Supernetwork Center Associate, has been sweeping teaching awards at the University of Connecticut since 2010. He holds 5 degrees from UMass Amherst! He has received not only awards for his undergraduate teaching but also for his graduate teaching and has been recognized by the School of Business, where he is a tenured Associate Professor, as well as by the Provost of his university.
Also, Dr. Dmytro Matsypura, who is a tenured Senior Lecturer (like an Associate Professor) at the School of Business at the University of Sydney, Australia, has also been recognized for his outstanding teaching. In 2010 he received the Wayne Lonergan Outstanding Teaching Award (Early Career) from the Business School and in 2008 and 2013, he received the Discipline of Business Analytics Teaching Excellence Award.
The below photo was taken at the INFORMS conference in Nashville, where I treated all the Supernetwork Center Associates who could make it that evening, to a dinner. On my left are: Dr. Matsypura, Dr. Cruz, and Shivani Shukla, and Dr. Li is the second one on my right.
Now, as some of you may know, teaching Operations Management and Management Science requires the exchange and explanation of material that can be quite technical. Hence, to be recognized for teaching in this area is doubly impressive! Then again, if you love what you research and your subject, the passion in sharing information and knowledge with your students shines through!