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Studer-Ellis wins 2012 MBA teaching excellence award

Erich Studer-Ellis, a senior lecturer of quantitative methods at the University of Washington Foster School of Business, has won the 2012 PACCAR Award for Excellence in Teaching.

The Foster School’s highest teaching honor was established in 1998 by PACCAR Inc, the Fortune 200 global technology company based in Bellevue, WA. The award’s annual recipient is selected by a panel of Foster MBA students.

Studer-Ellis teaches the core statistics course in both the Full-Time and Evening MBA Programs, as well as the Undergraduate Program, at the Foster School. His students laud his ability to simplify this highly technical subject. They describe a tireless and energetic advocate for statistical literacy in a world increasingly awash in “Big Data.”

Studer-Ellis seasons his lectures with examples that students can get their heads around—from the calculation of real estate values to the assessment of probability in a mega-million lottery to the intrusion of evidence-based decisions in big-time sports (the Moneyball effect).

The strategic decisions of business—and life in general—are increasingly driven by data analysis. And Studer-Ellis is determined to send his students into this world expertly equipped.

A big impression on students

MBA students appreciate the effort. In nominating Studer-Ellis for the PACCAR Award, students sang his praise in repeated lyrics such as passion, clarity and care.

“Erich has taken what many see as a dull and dry subject and brought it new life and real-world meaning,” wrote one student. “His passion for the subject material is evident and his commitment to delivering it in a way that is both accessible and exciting is really what makes him a great teacher.”

Another wrote that Studer-Ellis showed “real commitment to his teaching, has an amazing command of his subject matter and, most importantly, has the uniquely ‘E-Stud’ ability to make his subject come alive with his exciting, dynamic and challenging teaching.”

Distinguished career

Studer-Ellis earned BS and MBA degrees in business economics and public policy at Indiana University, and a PhD in sociology at Duke University.

He joined the Foster School in 2009 after nine years on faculty at the University of Maryland. There he served as teaching professor of management science and statistics from 2000-06 before being named Distinguished Ralph J. Tyser Teaching Fellow from 2006-09.

Among his many earlier teaching honors, Studer-Ellis received Maryland’s Allen J. Krowe Award for General Teaching Excellence in 2003 and 2007, and was recognized as a “Top Terp” in 2005. He received Teaching Excellence Recognition from the Smith School of Business in 2002, 03, 05, and 09. And in 2006, BusinessWeek named him one of 23 “Favorite Professors” selected from across the nation.

Crowning achievement

This PACCAR Award eclipses them all. Studer-Ellis says he’s humbled by such an honor, and claims that he gets as much as he gives to Foster MBAs.

“After teaching undergraduates for many years, coming to the Foster School was a great opportunity to work with MBA students,” he says. “They’ve challenged me to develop more and better ways to present the information than I could ever have imagined. And it’s an incredible honor to be recognized by them with the PACCAR Award.”

PACCAR and its founding Pigott family are longtime supporters of the Foster School. In addition to the PACCAR Award and three endowed faculty positions, support from the Pigott family and company was instrumental in building PACCAR Hall.