LAWRENCE – An assistant professor of English who uses digital tools to teach Shakespeare and Renaissance texts and an associate professor of finance who excels at making innovative connections from seemingly unrelated areas are this year’s winners of the two highest awards for teaching at the University of Kansas.
Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little will present the awards at the annual KU Teaching Summit on Thursday, Aug. 21, during the first general session in 130 Budig at 8:30 a.m.
“Our annual teaching awards recognize faculty’s contribution to the university and its students through outstanding teaching,” Gray-Little said. “Jonathan Lamb and Jide Wintoki are held in the highest esteem by their students and peers alike, and they enable us to fulfill our primary mission at KU, which is to educate leaders.”
Jonathan Lamb, assistant professor of English, is the 2014 recipient of the Ned N. Fleming Trust Award. The award was established by a bequest from the late Mr. Fleming of Topeka. The award includes a one-time stipend of $5,000. Faculty members are nominated for this annual award by deans, department chairs or faculty colleagues.
“I’m surprised and delighted to receive the Fleming Award, and it’s especially meaningful for me because I know how many superb teachers KU boasts,” said Lamb, who joined KU in 2011. “The English department has created an encouraging and stimulating pedagogical culture. I believe there must be a synergy between research and teaching, and that the best teaching emerges, plantlike, from the fertile soil of research work. When I finished graduate school and began seeking academic jobs, I knew I wanted to join a university that encourages that kind of scholar-teachers. That’s what I found at KU, and it’s one of the many attractions the school holds for me.”
Lamb’s nomination noted not only his outstanding student evaluations but his students’ appreciation for his use of questions about the nature, purpose and meaning of the material being studied to sharpen and extend critical writing. His engaging style is important for his subject area as he understands his students may not share his personal passion for Shakespeare and Renaissance poets. Lamb has also been a campus leader in enhancing engaged and active learning.
“My goal in every class is to invite students into thoughtful engagement about our shared subject matter. In my courses that usually means getting students to pay close attention to 400-year-old texts and asking how those texts might matter in the 21st century. I also try really hard to cultivate an exciting, deliberative and rigorous classroom culture. I think the thing about my teaching that makes me proudest is that we all really like to be in the class. We laugh often, but we also tackle really difficult issues and questions.”
Jide Wintoki, associate professor of finance, is the 2014 recipient of the Byron T. Shutz Award for Excellence in Teaching. The award was established by the late Byron T. Shutz in 1978. The recipient of the Shutz Award receives a one-time stipend of $4,000 and delivers a public lecture later in the academic year. The lecture is followed by a reception in the recipient’s honor. Faculty members are nominated for this annual award by deans, department chairs or faculty. The award alternates between recognizing excellent teaching in business and economics in even-numbered years, and outstanding teaching in any discipline in odd-numbered years.
“Naturally, I am thrilled to win the award, and it’s the most important teaching recognition I have ever received,” said Wintoki, who came to KU in 2008. “I think the award is a testament to KU’s commitment to rewarding excellent teaching by faculty who are also committed to research. KU is a great research school, but I think recognizing and rewarding research-active faculty who are also committed to excellent teaching strengthens our mission as a flagship school.”
Wintoki’s students cite his integration and application of case studies and in-class problems that illustrate his teaching from a variety of different aspects as the difference between his course and others they have taken at KU. He has also taken on a leadership role within the MBA program, assisting students with research experiences and serving as faculty mentor for Beta Gamma Sigma, the School of Business honor society.
“I think one of the most important aspects of teaching is demonstrating your passion for the subject and the material that you are teaching. If you demonstrate that passion, students will be more engaged, and that ultimately improves student learning outcomes. It’s also important to understand that finance is an applied, professional discipline. Over 90 percent of the students that I teach will ultimately hold some position in finance or business. Thus, in addition to everything else, I always try to also convey two key points about finance and business in general.
“The first is the broad role that finance plays in business. The second is that important business decisions will not always come down to a simple formula. Sound business judgment is something they should expect to develop over time, from their professional experience and a commitment to lifelong learning.”
Jonathan P. Lamb joined the faculty in the Department of English in 2011 after earning his master's degree and doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin with a specialization in Renaissance literature and culture. In addition to his courses in the department, he has taught a Freshman Honors Seminar, “What is Renaissance,” and in fall 2013 taught a First-Year Seminar, “From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg: The Rise and Fall of the Book.” He is the recipient of a Digital Humanities Course Development Grant to use tools for a “Digital Shakespeare” undergraduate course, required for the English major. He has also made the tools developed available to colleagues as part of two Classroom Digital Humanities Workshops. During his first year at KU, he became active in curriculum redesign at both the undergraduate and graduate levels as a member of an ad hoc group that began restructuring the major.
He is a member of the Shakespeare Association of America and the Renaissance Society of America, and he has presented before each several times. In 2013 and 2014, he was an invited participant to Early Modern Digital Agendas, a National Endowment for the Humanities-funded summer institute at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. His current book project investigates the way Shakespeare responded to—and powerfully shaped—the early modern English literary marketplace in and through the “thick” formal features of his works.
Jide Wintoki is an associate professor of finance at the School of Business. His research interests include empirical corporate finance (especially corporate governance), international finance, the intersection between law and finance, and applied econometrics. His research has been published in several peer-reviewed business and economics journals, including the Journal of Financial Economics, the Review of Financial Studies, the Journal of Corporate Finance, Emerging Markets Review, the International Journal of Research in Marketing and the International Journal of Forecasting, among others. His most recent research examines the role of legal institutions, investor protection and corporate governance on the organization and profitability of firms in more than 80 countries around the world. His prior work has been noted several times in the business press, most recently in CNN Money, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, CBS Money Watch and The New York Times.
Prior to joining KU, he taught at the Terry College of Business of the University of Georgia, where he also obtained a doctorate in finance in 2008. In line with his research interests, Wintoki teaches classes in corporate financial policy, business investments, business finance, international finance and financial research methods at the undergraduate and graduate level. Prior to his studies at Georgia, Wintoki completed his undergraduate studies in electrical engineering at the University of Lagos. Before embarking on an academic career, he worked in a variety of positions, including database management (at ExxonMobil), brand management (at Procter & Gamble), and production engineering and project management (at Nigeria LNG).