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Cooperation and communication key elements for two great teachers

Fairouz Hussien, a Ph.D. student at the Department of Marketing and Strategy, and Jan Starmans, an Assistant Professor at the Department of Finance, receive the award for Outstanding Pedagogical Achievements Spring 2021. With this award SSE wants to highlight and inspire great teachers and contribute to developing pedagogical tools and techniques.

"I didn’t expect this at all and was amazed and surprised, then very moved and grateful," says Fairouz Hussien upon receiving the award.

In planning her teaching, she finds it helpful to be a student herself. She can consider what she liked about a newly attended course, and what she would have wished had been done differently. Based on this she can betterout what is bothering the students. In her evaluations, Fairouz Hussien was praised for her continuous information and help with structure. She elaborates on her thoughts and intentions behind this:

"Our students are incredibly smart, and they work hard, but their progress can be made unnecessarily difficult by lack of clarity in communicating what is expected of them. So, I try to minimize that, provide information as clearly as possible, and be readily available to answer questions if there is something unclear or confusing."

Establishing a good communication flow

The preparation in advance comes in the form of making sure the syllabus is done, and that everything is up to date in the course tool Canvas. This establishes a good communication flow among those involved in delivering the course. As a tip for others, Fairouz Hussien personally would suggest encouraging feedback from students and considering the feedback seriously. Solve any issues in a way that works for everyone. Don’t leave the students adrift. The past almost two years have been difficult, and no one knows the extent of the struggles in other’s personal lives.

"A little bit of empathy goes a long way, and so if a student reaches out with concerns, please listen," Fairouz Hussien suggests.

Case-based class successfully transferred to online mood

Jan Starmans receives the award for his pedagogy during a completely new course. Teaching a course for the first time always is challenging., andin addition, he had to teach the course online due to the pandemic. The course is case-based, and classes are organized as discussions about real-world case studies. Classes are basically large meetings that everybody prepares for to discuss a particular issue a company faces. The format worked surprisingly well online, but it was surely not the same as in the classroom. Sustainable finance may also be somewhat more challenging to teach compared with other more established topics since the market environment is very dynamic and new research is coming out daily.

"I am very happy that the course turned out well", says Jan Starmans who is looking forward to developing the course further.

Learning from other excellent SSE teachers

To encourage and increase the value of good pedagogical teaching, Jan Starmans suggest that SSE makes more use of the expertise that other excellent teachers at the School possess. He learned a lot from colleagues in designing the course and in preparing for the interaction with students in the classroom.

"I hope that students feel that they were able to develop their skills and to get a good understanding of the fundamentals of Sustainable finance. In particular, I hope that students start their careers with a critical mindset regarding this topic to be able to ask the right questions. Sustainable finance is still a somewhat new topic both in academia and in practice and a critical mindset is important to move the field in the right direction", says Jan Starmans.

On a final note, Jan Starmans thanks his colleagues who supported him in developing this course, and who have been very generous with their time to share their experiences and expertise.

SSE says congratulations to Fairouz Hussien and Jan Starmans for this achievement!


About the award
Outstanding Pedagogical Achievements has recognized and rewarded teachers since 2018. Each recipient is carefully evaluated using several criteria to promote great teaching. Each recipient will be celebrated during an inspirational lunch seminar with the Vice President of Degree Programs Pär Åhlström, and they are also offered tailored pedagogical support to further develop as teachers.