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Ross Faculty Honored for Teaching Excellence

4/28/2008 --

Students celebrate professors' outstanding performance in the classroom.

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Ross School of Business students were not the only ones who celebrated personal achievements during the 2008 Commencement ceremony on April 25. Outstanding faculty, cited by students for teaching excellence, also were recognized at the annual event.

James DeSimpelare (pictured at left), lecturer of accounting, received the MAcc Teaching Excellence Award. DeSimpelare, who has been with U-M since 1993, has taught a variety of financial accounting and tax classes, most recently on advanced financial accounting and advanced federal income taxation. He also teaches financial accounting at the University of Michigan Law School. In addition to lecturing, DeSimpelare has been involved in a number of student and community activities, including serving as the faculty advisor for the National Association of Black Accountants, mentor of the University of Michigan Tax Challenge team, and faculty liaison for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program.

Andrew Gershoff (pictured at right), associate professor of marketing, received the Global MBA Teaching Excellence Award. Gershoff's research explores consumer decision-making, word-of-mouth communications, and branding. He has been recognized as a Marketing Science Institute Young Scholar for his research contributions. He has taught at the MBA level at both Ross and Columbia University. He also served as a consultant on a number projects, and has worked with the U.S. government, IBM, and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Daniel Gruber (pictured at left), doctoral candidate in the management and organizations area, was recognized with the BBA Teaching Excellence Award. Gruber's dissertation examines the organizational sense-making that occurs as firms interact with the financial news media and information about events becomes "news." He is currently the student representative-at-large on the executive committee of the managerial and organizational cognition division of the Academy of Management. Gruber has taught the core management and organizations class in the BBA Program at Ross and is the recipient of the Gerald and Lillian Dykstra Fellowship for Teaching Excellence.

Anne Harrington (pictured at right), a member of the communications faculty at Ross since 1988, was honored with the PhD Teaching Excellence Award. She has taught a variety of oral and written communications courses. In addition, Harrington is a founding faculty member and a course coordinator of the MBA Program's flagship initiative, the Multidisciplinary Action Project (MAP), and has been the action learning project director for several executive education programs. In her role as director of instructional development, Harrington supervises the PhD Teacher Development Program, offers "methods of teaching" courses, and provides workshops and coaching for faculty and doctoral students. She also has been cited for her contributions to teaching in the past: Harrington received the Victor L. Bernard Faculty Leadership in Teaching Award in 1998 and the PhD Award for Teaching Excellence in 2000.

The MBA Teaching Excellence Award was presented to Thomas Kinnear (pictured at left), the Eugene Applebaum Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies, executive director of the Samuel Zell and Robert H. Lurie Institute of Entrepreneurial Studies, and professor of marketing. Kinnear was formerly a senior associate dean at Ross as well as a former vice president for development and executive officer for the University. While at Ross, he has received awards for teaching excellence and service to the University. Kinnear's teaching and research interests cover entrepreneurial studies, strategic marketing and planning, marketing and public policy, and market-based management.

M.P. Narayanan (pictured at right), professor and chair of the finance department, received the Executive MBA Teaching Excellence Award. Narayanan first came to Ross in 1986 as a visiting professor; he joined the full-time faculty a year later. His research focuses primarily on corporate governance, and his work with Ross Professor Nejat Seyhun has been instrumental in exposing the practice of executive option backdating. Narayanan has consulted for various organizations in the U.S. and abroad on resource allocation, performance evaluation, and mergers. In addition to a passion for scholarly pursuits, Narayanan demonstrates an obvious penchant for teaching, which has been recognized by students and peers alike. In 2004 and 2006, he was awarded the Executive MBA Teacher of the Year award; he also was named Teacher of the Year in 1992 and MBA Teacher of the Year in 1998. In 2005, he was awarded the Victor L. Bernard Teaching Leadership Award.

Stipends that accompany the Teaching Excellence Awards are made possible with the generosity of Robert D. Neary, BBA '55, and Janet E. Neary, AB '54. Robert Neary's career spanned eight years with Ernst & Young, and both he and Janet Neary have been actively involved at the University since graduation. The Nearys' support of these awards affirms their belief that teaching excellence is largely "the ability to make the pursuit of knowledge an exciting endeavor…the kind of excitement that is contagious and long-lasting."

For more information, contact:
Bernie DeGroat, (734) 936-1015 or 647-1847,