Bruce Rudy fell in love with teaching during his first teaching assignment as a doctoral student at the McCombs School of Business at UT-Austin. Ironically, he hadn’t even considered teaching before walking through that classroom door. Now, four years later he has been named the recipient of the 2014 Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award.
“At first I was nervous, I didn’t know what to expect. I stumbled through my first few weeks of teaching,” said Rudy, an assistant professor of management who has taught at UTSA since 2011. “But once I started thinking creatively about how I could teach the class and after researching teaching models, it all came together.”
Calling upon his experience in the corporate world, Rudy challenges students in his management strategy class to become critical thinkers. “When you are managing a company, there is no script to follow,” said Rudy, who previously worked at Enron and in the renewable energy sector in Austin. “Companies today are all about innovation, new ideas and finding efficiencies. Inductive problem solving skills are highly valued in business.”
Rudy utilizes a unique hourglass class structure that breaks the class period into 15 minute increments. He starts first with trivia questions and current events that apply to the day’s lesson. Then, he delivers the lesson for the day. Utilizing the case study method, the students apply these concepts and theories to business cases. In teams, students analyze the case, then participate in an interactive discussion.
“If you publish in a top journal, it might take two or three years to receive 40 citations,” said Rudy. “But in every class I get to influence 40 students. Teaching is where I can really impact students and, I hope, influence them for the better.”
Teaching primarily undergraduates, Rudy finds that his students offer fresh perspectives on the subject matter. “Teaching is incredibly enjoyable and rewarding, particularly as I observe the success of students in the classroom and beyond,” said Rudy, whose lowest teaching rating during his three-year tenure at UTSA was a 4.8 out of a 5.0 scale.
This spring Rudy looks forward to working with the college’s Executive MBA students. “New strategies in management come out all the time,” he said. “Working with executives, you can teach them something that can be put into practice the very next day.”
Offered annually in recognition of faculty members at the 15 University of Texas System institutions who have demonstrated extraordinary classroom performance and innovation in undergraduate instruction, the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards are the Board of Regents’ highest honor. With a monetary award of $25,000, the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards are among the largest in the nation for rewarding outstanding faculty performance.
“This is an incredible honor,” said Rudy, whose friend and colleague at UT-Austin was a previous recipient. “Knowing how good he is in the classroom, it is humbling to be placed in the same group as him. I can’t imagine not teaching now. I truly love it.”
Story by Wendy Frost.