by James Martin
The John Molson School of Business will give three teaching awards at
its convocation on June 11, two full-time, and one part-time.
All three recipients of this years John Molson School of Business
Teaching Awards are emphatic boosters of the link between academia and
industry, and work hard to make their classrooms professionally relevant.
This years full-time award is shared by Gail Fayerman and Sandra
Betton. Fayerman is a two-time winner, having taken home the honour in
As director of Concordias Chartered Accountancy program, Fayerman
keeps close tabs on the industry by being active in the Order of Chartered
Accountants, and by volunteering her accounting advisory services to various
non-profit organizations. She feels such activities bring a necessary
relevance to her Financial Accounting classrooms.
Accounting [as a university subject] is unusual, because it requires
a professional aspect, she said. One of our main goals is
to ensure that there is a strong liaison between academics and the profession.
She cites an ongoing shift in the industry that sees less emphasis placed
on the traditional memorization of information, and increasing importance
placed on an accountants ability to access information. As a response
to this shift in required skills, Fayerman has implemented several ongoing
classroom projects using the required technologies.
My main strategy is to teach students that they have to thinkthat
is the process Im trying to put forward. Accounting constantly changes.
You can teach a few rules, but you also have to teach them how to respond
to changing environments.
Sandra Betton agrees. She has taught Finance at Concordia for six years,
and believes that learning about the learning process is far more important
than simply getting the right answers. I know Im making a
difference when a student comes to see me a couple of years later and
says, I dont necessarily use exactly what you taught me, but
I know I use the approaches you taught me, and I know I can do it because
of your class. Thats when I know Im giving them more
than just a bunch of knowledge they could have got out of a book.
Betton believes that part of the function of a university is the
dissemination of knowledge, which is why she enjoys bringing her
research results (in the area of mergers and acquisitions) into the classroom.
Ill say to the students, OK, why do we observe this?
What is going on here? and see what kinds of issues get them fired
up, what sorts of explanations they can come up with.
I find that a lot of the students are very inspiring. The effort
that they put into their courses, the desire they have to learn, and the
questions they ask keep me motivated to keep improving in the classroom.
These are people who want to learn, and that makes it very pleasurable
to work on my teaching, because Im giving it to somebody who wants
Betton added, Were wanting our students to become lifelong
learners, and if were not following that process ourselves, if were
not continually engaged with our field, I dont see how we can really
expect our students to do the same thing.
Mark Medicoff, recipient of this years part-time teaching award,
also uses his outside-the-classroom experience to inform his teaching.
Medicoff has taught Business Communication at Concordia since 1988, and
runs a construction business during the summer.
Running a business enables me to be in touch constantly with a sense
of the marketplace, he said. How do you develop business proposals?
How do you put together a report about a problem in a building? How do
you present it verbally to the people who own the building?
This is what I do, and this is what I teach.