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Four Jones School professors recognized for excellence in teaching

BY JULIA NGUYEN
Special to the Rice News
 
Students and alumni of the Jones Graduate School of Management recently honored four professors for their excellence in teaching. These individuals have vastly different backgrounds -- from a successful, experienced CEO to rising stars with research interests in an array of disciplines -- all who bring an even greater level of perspective and expertise to Rice MBA programs.
 
Full-time MBA Teaching Award for Excellence
Steven Crawford, assistant professor in accounting

 
Steven Crawford Rice News Article PhotoSteven Crawford joined the Jones School as an assistant professor in accounting two year ago, but already, his teaching has made a positive impact on the full-time MBA students and fellow faculty members, earning him the Jones Full-time MBA Teaching Award for Excellence.
 
Crawford teaches financial statement analysis in the Full-time MBA program. “I strive to teach using a variety of different approaches so that all of my students can grasp the principles at hand,” he said. “I learn as much or more from my students as they learn from me. Rice students always ask interesting questions and provide unique insights from their work experience.”
 
His research interests lie in financial reporting, international accounting and financial analysis. He holds many fellowships, including the Deloitte & Touche Foundation Doctoral Fellowship and the University of Chicago's Charles T. Horngren Fellowship and Doctoral Fellowship. Crawford has served as a lecturer at the University of Chicago, where he earned an MBA and Ph.D. in accounting. He also taught at Brigham Young University, where he earned his bachelor's and master’s in accounting.
 
Jones MBA for Executives Teaching Award for Excellence
Barbara Ostdiek, associate professor of finance

 
Barbara Ostdiek Rice News Article Photo has been awarded the 2009 Jones MBA for Executives Teaching Award for Excellence. The associate professor of finance and academic director of the El Paso Corporation Finance Center at the Jones School is no stranger to the award -- she also received it in 2001 and 2004.
 
Ostdiek credits the caliber of Jones School students for her efforts to excel.
 
“Because of their roles in a variety of companies and their experience with global operations, the executive MBA students tend to start the course already having a great deal of context," she said. "This challenges me to provide a framework that can give some order to this context.”
 
As a member of the Jones School faculty since 1994, Ostdiek has taught courses on investments and portfolio management, economic environment of business, international finance and applied risk management. Prior to obtaining her Ph.D., she was a portfolio manager and was awarded the Chartered Financial Analyst designation. Her research on information linkages across markets, information flow and volatility, and time series covariance estimation, particularly as it applies to portfolio optimization, has been published in top academic journals.
 
She graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor's in international affairs from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1986. She received a Ph.D. in business administration (finance) from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University in 1994.
 
Jones MBA for Professionals Teaching Award for Excellence
Prashant Kale, associate professor in strategy

 
Prashant Kale Rice News Article PhotoPrashant Kale, who joined the Jones School as associate professor in strategy in 2007, was recognized with a teaching award for excellence by the Jones MBA for Professionals students. He currently teaches the two core courses in strategy and has also taught advanced competitive strategy. Previously, he served on the faculty of the University of Michigan, where he also was recognized for excellence in teaching and research. Kale has been a visiting professor at top business schools, including the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, the Wharton School of Business and the Indian School of Business.
 
“In my strategy courses, I focus on helping students build their ability to ask the right questions in the context of any company’s strategy or business, because I think this is one of the most critical skills for a manager or executive,” he said.
 
“I see myself not as someone who ‘teaches’ students, but someone who facilitates their learning in class. My courses are a partnership between the students and me. Students deserve equal credit for any teaching award I receive -- their enthusiasm and their preparation and participation are as important as my contribution in enriching their overall learning experience in class.”
 
Kale is recognized nationally and internationally for his research that shows how companies can enhance their competitiveness or growth through alliances, joint ventures or acquisitions. His work has garnered many awards and has been published in top-rated journals, and he serves on multiple editorial boards. Kale holds an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, a master's in managerial science and applied economics and a Ph.D. in management from the University of Pennsylvania.
 
Jones Alumni Teaching Award for Excellence
Leo Linbeck, adjunct professor of management

 
Leo Linbeck Rice News Article PhotoLeo Linbeck is the president and CEO of Aquinas Corp., a teacher and the winner of the 2007 Jones Alumni Teaching Award for Excellence. Now he can change that to "two-time winner," having been named the 2009 recipient of the award.
 
In addition to teaching Rice MBAs critical thought as an adjunct professor of management at the Jones School, he also teaches at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
 
“My belief is that the problems of business are the problems of life," he said. "The classroom is a special environment where those problems can be explored, simulated, probed, understood and then used as a basis for real actions in real situations. I believe it is my calling in life to help others to become better business leaders by broadening their mind, both in business and in the classroom.”
 
Since Linbeck joined the leadership team at Aquinas, its annual revenues have grown from $40 million to more than $300 million. Aquinas' unusual structure and business practices has inspired tremendous employee loyalty and made a significant community impact. “I am a business practitioner with a passion for teaching, and I have tremendous respect for the academic enterprise," he said. "I try to take the general frameworks they develop and give them practical application, and then teach others to do the same.”
 
Linbeck’s success in business is matched by his commitment to the community, especially in the realm of entrepreneurship and education. He recently created the Houston Life Science Technology Entrepreneurship Institute (Holstein), which is training the next generation of biotech entrepreneurs. Linbeck is also very involved with KIPP, a recognized charter school program in the U.S.
 
Linbeck graduated from University of Notre Dame with bachelor's degrees in civil engineering and in great books. He also earned a master's in structural engineering at the University of Texas at Austin.