Three Darden School Professors Receive the Distinguished 2012 Wachovia Awards for Case Development

The case teaching method is a hallmark of the educational experience at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. At the heart of this approach are cases that inspire students in business schools around the world, thanks to Darden Business Publishing. The writers of these cases, Darden’s No. 1 globally ranked faculty members, are recognized each year through the Wachovia Awards for Excellence in Case Development. Professor Raj Venkatesan, chair of the Research and Course Development Committee at Darden, presented the awards on Wednesday, 25 April, during First Coffee.

Professor Susan Chaplinsky received the Wachovia Award for “Excellence in Teaching Materials — Innovative Case” for a pair of cases and a supporting technical note pertaining to the leveraged buyout of Hertz Car Rental. The materials also cover a wide range of issues that arise over the course of entry and exit of private equity investments.

“It’s designed to allow a professor to cover all the issues that were important to this transaction. It was a complicated and controversial transaction and the case discusses linkages in practice, which come to life in the classroom,” says Chaplinsky. “It’s a nice case for students also because private equity is a growing career interest.”

Chaplinsky’s materials include, “Bidding For Hertz: Leveraged Buyout,” “Investing in Sponsor-Backed IPOs: The Case of Hertz” and “Valuation of Late-Stage Companies and Buyouts.” Felicia Marston, a research and teaching colleague serving on the faculty of the University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce, also contributed to the case material.

Professor Elliott Weiss received the Wachovia award for “High Impact Case” for a course module on service operations excellence. The module features cases on Southwest Airlines and the leadership of its co-founder and chairman emeritus, Herb Kelleher, and JetBlue Airways. The module includes, “Southwest Airlines: Singin’ the (Jet)Blues,” “The JetBlue Story,” “Marlene’s Marvelous Adventure: Southwest Airlines,” “Marlene’s Marvelous Adventure: JetBlue Airways,” “Dear Herb,” “Dear Elliott” and “Herb Kelleher and the Four Ps Toward High Performance: People, Purpose, Process, Philosophy.”

“The idea behind this case is to examine the interaction between people, process and purpose,” says Weiss. “What’s nice about this is the students can relate to Kelleher as a leader and it helps them to examine their own leadership styles.”

Weiss says the case also brings to life the “enterprise perspective” for which Darden is well known. In his executive education classes, professors from other business areas teach alongside Weiss to enliven the learning experience.

This is not the first time Weiss has been recognized for his contribution to course materials. In 2005, Weiss received the Wachovia Award for “Most Innovative Case” for a course module he developed on strategy and service excellence.
Professor James Clawson received the award for “Distinguished Case Writer.” Clawson is one of the most prolific case authors in the history of the Darden School. Covering topics ranging from leadership, organizational behavior, business ethics, negotiations, entrepreneurship and strategy, the 221 cases penned by Clawson are offered by Darden Business Publishing.

“I have really enjoyed doing case research and writing up the results over the last 34 years. Many of those projects had a significant impact on my thinking,” says Clawson. “For example, ‘The Aberdeen Experiment’ case shaped the way I thought about organizing manufacturing for high energy, high productivity, high quality and high profits. The ‘Chicago Part District’ series shaped how I thought about leading change in large bureaucratic organizations.”

Clawson also credits the “Bob Johnson at Honeywell Aerospace” case for leading him to rethink the development of chief executive officers and how they manage their lives, and the “Chamberlain” exercise for helping him think through the concept of leading at “Level Three” — the level of semi-conscious values, assumptions, beliefs and expectations (VABEs).

“Each case writing experience gave me a wonderful opportunity to get close to practicing managers, executive education participants, MBA students, their lives and practices, to learn from their experiences, and to share them with others,” Clawson adds.

Wachovia established an endowment in 1982 to fund research and case development awards at Darden. The awards recognize faculty for the creation of world-class, vibrant course materials, as well as teaching notes that inform other instructors how to make the most of the cases in the classroom.

The awards alternate each year between recognition of course materials and honoring faculty for their outstanding research.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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