Wednesday, August 11, 2010

McGahan Recognized as Outstanding Educator

Another one of our TEDxIBYork speakers has been recognized for outstanding accomplishment. Anita McGahan is the recipient of the Academy of Management Business Policy and Strategy Division's 2010 Irwin Outstanding Educator Award. The award committee noted her 'outstanding contributions to the students she has taught, to the colleagues whose teaching she has improved, to the courses and course materials she has developed, and to the management understanding that her research has created'. Having seen Anita in action at the Rotman School, I totally agree with this assessment.

In her acceptance speech, Anita conveyed her frustration with the current formulation of MBA programs. While many of her students have gone on to worthy achievements in life, too many (one is too many, of course) have used their skills to engage in financial chicanery or unthinking pursuit of tawdry corporate goals.

McGahan's mother was a Grade Two teacher in the tough South Bronx - one of those special teachers who make a difference. While not offering a prescription for how to fix MBA education, McGahan does end her speech with a reflection of some lessons she learned from her mother. They centre on inspiring students by showing them something better than the narrow world they live in. For the South Bronx kids, it was field trips to open their eyes beyond the constrained environment they lived in. For MBA students, it might be showing them how their skills could be used to better the world. We hope that TEDxIBYork might in some small way inspire its audience to broader thinking about the world.

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