Amplifying Diversity

McCombs faculty chosen by students in new awards for fostering inclusive classrooms.

Texas McCombs
Aug 26 · 6 min read
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11 faculty members across the McCombs School of Business were chosen as winners of the new Amplify Awards, recognized for their dedication to creating diverse and inclusive classrooms for their students.

Diversity and inclusion are important for a well-rounded education, instilling students with greater empathy, cultural awareness, and confidence. Raji Srinivasan, McCombs associate dean for diversity and inclusion, announced this summer the 11 winners of the school’s inaugural 2019–2020 Amplify Awards. Faculty across the school’s five degree programs were nominated for the awards by students. “Congratulations to all of them,” Srinivasan says. “I would like to acknowledge our gratitude for all McCombs faculty and staff who work hard to create an inclusive community.” Read more about each winner below.

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As the recipient of several teaching awards, including The University of Texas Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award, Katie Gray was described as helpful and engaging by her students.

“(We should) learn — all the time, from everyone,” Gray says. “Including and valuing the experiences of all of my students is critical to everyone’s success.”


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Kumar Muthuraman teaches quantitative courses in analytics and optimization and focuses his research in analytics and decision making.

“My efforts mostly revolve around establishing an environment that allows students to express themselves without inhibition and appreciate the talents of their classmates,” Muthuraman says. “These efforts include group projects that repeatedly make students work with a diverse group of peers, addressing and inviting everyone by name to participate in classroom discussions and peer learning activities to enable them to develop an appreciation for their peers.”


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David Quintanilla teaches Business Law and Ethics with an emphasis on ethics for undergraduate and graduate students. Quintanilla is also a practicing attorney with his own law firm, but he says his favorite place is in the classroom with his students.

“What must it feel like to not have a voice? I ask myself this question all the time,” he says. “Some people, including very powerful people, seek very hard to suppress voices that are different than their own. I strive to ensure that each and every student in my class (knows) that our classroom is safe and that all students are encouraged to share their position.”


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Andres Almazan teaches and researches corporate finance and financial intermediation to learn about fundamental ideas in social sciences. Almazan says he enjoys student participation and feedback.

“Typically, (my students enjoy my) work load, humor and my own concern for their learning,” Almazan says. “They are typically very generous with their assessment and very forgiving about my own flaws. They don’t like my “harsh” tests very much!”


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John N. Doggett’s research and teaching interests include international entrepreneurship, global competition and sustainability and energy. Since 1999, Doggett has taught summer and winter courses on entrepreneurship and global competition in Austria, China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. Since spring 2003, Doggett has led MBA students on annual two-week observation tours of the People’s Republic of China.


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Jaime Schmidt teaches Standards in Auditing for MPA students, who say her classes feel fun and personal.

“I view each of my students as an individual with different needs and perspectives,” Schmidt says. “When I am engaged with one student, I try to give them my undivided attention and ignore all other distractions.”


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Jan Schneider teaches quantitative finance with an emphasis on data analysis with Python. He says he does his best to include everyone in his classroom.


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Prabhudev Konana holds the Thomas O. Hicks Endowed Chair in Business and William H. Seay Centennial Professor of Information Management and is the recipient of 34 teaching awards and honors. Konana is described by his students as fun and inclusive.

“Everyone who sits in front of you will bring different perspectives, interpretations, and thinking that will make everyone else better off, which means my role is to make sure everyone irrespective of their backgrounds, culture, and ethnicity have the opportunity to contribute, engage, and be involved in the process of learning,” Konana says. “Some may be shy or reluctant to speak up for various reasons, but it is my role to make them comfortable and shed any shyness or fear.”


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Andy Gershoff is an award-winning researcher who focuses on interpersonal evaluations, trust, and fairness.

“My goal is to help support the voice and the potential of every student,” Gershoff says. “Each person’s own experiences, differences, struggles and privileges can influence the way they learn and what they can teach others. Every individual deserves respect and deserves to share in the enthusiasm for learning and discovery as each moves themselves forward on their own path in education.”


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Melissa Murphy teaches business communication, negotiation, and entrepreneurship. She is also the founder and chief communication coach of The Pitch Academy, an Austin-based communication consulting firm. Her students say she is positive, engaging and accommodating in her classroom.

“My approach to inclusive teaching is guided by my belief that I should be talking with my students, not at them, and it is important that educators talk with as many students as we can in and outside the classroom,” Murphy says. “By modeling this behavior, students also learn to talk with one another, not at one another.”


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PK Toh teaches technology strategy with a focus on platforms and ecosystems, standard-setting, innovations, competition and litigation, firm search, and research and development organization. He is also a senior editor at peer-reviewed journal Organization Science and is on the editorial boards of various top academic journals. Toh’s students say his classes are important and relevant to their McCombs’ education.

“I believe every student, across all profiles and subgroups, has something valuable to contribute in class,” Toh says. “In comprehending a topic as complex as strategy, the first step is to draw out the students’ varying perspectives on the topic, arising from their heterogeneous experiences, knowledge, and backgrounds.”

Texas McCombs News

News from the McCombs School of Business at The University…

Texas McCombs

Written by

News, business research, and ideas from the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin. Learn more at www.mccombs.utexas.edu

Texas McCombs News

News from the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin

Texas McCombs

Written by

News, business research, and ideas from the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin. Learn more at www.mccombs.utexas.edu

Texas McCombs News

News from the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin

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