Students Honor Three Faculty Members With 2017 Teaching Awards

In three separate ceremonies this spring, students in the MBA, MSx, and PhD programs lauded Professors Charles Lee, Mary Barth, and Adina Sterling, respectively.

May 11, 2017

Charles Lee: MBA Distinguished Teaching Award



Charles Lee | Amy Shechee Ho

Charles M.C. Lee, Moghadam Family Professor and Professor of Accounting, has been honored with this year’s Distinguished Teaching Award, bestowed by MBA students at Stanford Graduate School of Business.

MBA students praised him as a passionate, tireless instructor whose enthusiasm is contagious. Said one, “I have never been so excited for an 8 a.m. class.” Lee’s Alphanomics course teaches investing in public equity markets.

At a recent noontime ceremony, members of the student committee who led the selection process said the annual choice is always tough. This year, MBA students submitted 152 nominations for 40 professors.

“We were inspired by so many of the individuals in these nominations, and narrowing down this outstanding pool to a single awardee was a difficult choice,” said Punit Shah, MBA ’18.

Karen Warner, MBA ’17, remarked on the deep impact of great teaching: “I know that we can all close our eyes and picture a teacher who challenged our thinking, expanded our horizons, and helped mold us into the people we are today.”

It might seem counter-intuitive, but when those around you succeed, you are going to come out alright.
Charles Lee

In accepting the award, Lee said he was “incredibly grateful” for the recognition and for being part of the Stanford GSB community. He shared his top life tips: people have intrinsic value, not just commercial or functional; the pursuit of happiness can’t be separated from the pursuit of virtue; and people should invest in the success of others.

“It might seem counter-intuitive, but when those around you succeed, you are going to come out alright,” he said.

Now crowned with all three Stanford GSB faculty awards, Lee also received the 2013 PhD Distinguished Faculty Service Award, and the MSx Teaching Excellence Award in 2011 and 2012. Prior to this year the only other faculty member to have swept all three categories is William H. Beaver, Joan E. Horngren Professor of Accounting, Emeritus, who was honored by MBA students in 1985, MSx students in 1999, and PhD students in 2004.

Mary Barth: MSx Distinguished Teaching Award


Mary Barth, second from left, accepts the Teaching Excellence Award from MSx student leaders Joe Ballou, Jazmin Gustale Gill and Jeronimo Emiliano Garcia De Brahi. | Dani Dounce Photography

This year, lightning struck again and another accounting professor swept all three categories.

In voting to recognize Mary Barth for teaching excellence, MSx students conferred the triple crown of Stanford GSB faculty awards. She won the PhD Faculty Distinguished Service Award in 2006 and MBA Distinguished Teaching Award in 1996.

Barth, Joan E. Horngren Professor of Accounting, was praised by students for her ability to combine teaching acumen and business experience. Before coming to Stanford, Barth was associate professor at Harvard Business School and audit partner at Arthur Andersen & Co.

One student said she displayed both a passion for teaching and compassion for students. Another said she was remarkable for her ability to make students feel welcome.

Barth said she’s honored but considers her students equal partners.

“You can’t have excellent teaching without excellent students,” she said. “I share credit with them. They never complained when I pushed them and never let me down.”

Barth teaches Global Financial Reporting, a course designed to enhance students’ understanding of current financial reporting issues through a detailed analysis and comparison of U.S. and International Financial Reporting Standards.

Adina Sterling: PhD Faculty Distinguished Service Award


With student award presenters. From left, Research Fellow Zanele Munyikwa, Adina Sterling, Organizational Behavior PhD students Anjali Bhatt and Shiya Wang | Jae Hyuck Park, OIT PhD student

Described by doctoral students as patient, encouraging, generous, and tireless in efforts to impart understanding of basic topics to complex concepts, Adina Sterling received the PhD Faculty Distinguished Service Award.

Sterling was praised as a role model for women and minority students.

An assistant professor of organizational behavior at Stanford GSB since 2015, Sterling is an economic sociologist specializing in how companies, labor, and markets interact. She is currently investigating how traditional methods of hiring compare to trial employment, such as internships where employers can observe performance firsthand.

Students were effusive in their praise.

“Although Adina has been at Stanford GSB for less than two years, she has become an irreplaceable part of our (OB) group,” one said. Another described her as a champion for research assistants and raising issues about gender and race at Stanford.

“She epitomizes the spirit of the award,” another said. “If you’ve had any opportunity to work with her, she has been incredibly generous with her time and attention to PhD students.”

— By David Goll

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