Tuck professors Praveen Kopalle and Daniel Feiler are recognized for their engaging and practical teaching.
Tuck marketing professor Praveen Kopalle has vivid memories of the statistics course he had to take as an undergraduate engineering student. “The professor was always going over my head,” he recalled, “and I vowed that if I taught it I would do it in a way that people get it.”
It looks like that vow wasn’t merely an idle thought, because Kopalle has just won the Teaching Excellence Award for his core course, Statistics for Managers. The award, set up and endowed by the Tuck Class of 2011, is designed to “celebrate the learning environment at Tuck by honoring two faculty members each year who have made an outstanding contribution to the quality of the second-years’ educational experience.” Daniel Feiler, an assistant professor of business administration, also won the award this year, for teaching the elective course, Negotiations. Feiler is the first junior faculty member to receive the honor.
That creative approach pays off for the students, who praised Kopalle for his ability to explain difficult material so that they really understand it. “The passion and energy Professor Kopalle brings to the classroom makes a typically dry subject, statistics, thoroughly enjoyable,” wrote one student when nominating of Kopalle for the award. “He genuinely cares for his students and works hard to make sure every single student is keeping up with him in class.”
Students applauded Feiler’s approach in their nomination comments. “Everything he taught me was a ‘mind-blown’ moment,” one student wrote, “and I thought the pedagogy was an excellent way to get practical experience with just enough of the theoretical to make it stick.” Another student appreciated that Feiler frequently related the lessons from class to current events.
In teaching these particular courses, Kopalle and Feiler epitomize the scholar/teacher model that Tuck always strives for. Kopalle’s research is heavily dependent on statistics and empirical analysis in the areas of pricing strategy and new product development. Feiler, for his part, studies behavioral science and the psychology of managerial decision-making, two areas that converge during negotiations. And their excitement about their field is palpable. “I love the dynamic of needing to be competitive but also cooperative in deal-making,” Feiler said. “Walking that line is really fun.”
Kopalle and Feiler will deliver “Last Lecture” classes during Friends and Family Day on June 12. Previous winners of the Class of 2011 Teaching Excellence Award include Giovanni Gavetti, associate professor of business administration; Chris Trimble, adjunct associate professor of business administration; Andrew King, professor of business administration; Scott Neslin, Albert Wesley Frey Professor of Marketing; Matthew J. Slaughter, associate dean for faculty and the Signal Companies’ Professor of Management; Joseph Hall, visiting associate professor of business administration; associate dean for the MBA program and accounting professor Phillip Stocken; and Ron Adner, professor of strategy and entrepreneurship.