Best Teacher 2017 Award

Three weeks ago students of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Higher School of Economics elected me a Best Teacher 2017 at the Higher School of Economics in the annual Best Teachers competition. Thank you! This is a great honor for me as well as a strong motivation to continuously improve my teaching. Following the announcement of the results Anna Chernyakhovskaya from HSE’s media department asked me to share some experiences in an interview. Here is what I said; the interview is also available at https://www.hse.ru/en/news/campus/208020103.html

Anna Chernyakhovskaya: What have been some of the main ‘lessons learned’ by each of you since you started teaching at HSE? 

I am enjoying being among students at HSE, both in terms of cultural diversity and creative intelligence. Students are very demanding while also very flexible. Students at HSE significantly differ from what I knew in Germany. They are flexible in identifying solutions towards a given problem and heavily motivated to reach goals. Given an instruction they exhibit a very high degree of creative intelligence. Networking is an essential part of students’ life; for example, second-year students exchange experiences with their peers from the third year.

What has served as a source of motivation in your profession? How can one become the best in a profession?

I am far away from being the best in my profession, but I would like to share three routines that peers may consider helpful.First I use LMS, HSE’s learning platform, to prepare and evaluate my teaching sessions afterwards, to manage performance assessments, as well as to provide students with learning materials. Any student is virtually online 24/7 nowadays, using smartphones both inside and outside the classroom. LMS allows me to post and distribute readings and worksheets in advance. Second, I prepare an action plan for each teaching session by splitting each session into five to ten parts or items. For each part I define a goal, like today I want to introduce the following terms, or deepen their understanding of the concept of XYZ. I define particular actions, or treatments to achieve this learning effect. I also allocate an amount of time for each of these actions. Third, I allocate clearly defined tasks to students, for example, as part of group work activities.

Did ever you meet any distinguished professors as a student? What do you remember impressing you most?

Tim Jaekel: Uwe Wagschal, now Professor for Public Policy at the University of Freiburg, Lars P. Feld, director of the Walter Eucken Institut, Professor for Economic Policy at the University of Freiburg, and a member of the German Council of Economic Experts, and Manfred G. Schmidt, Professor for Public Policy – all of them deeply and continuously inspired me when I was a student at the University of Heidelberg in Germany.

(Pictured above: Ferris wheel “Star of Berlin”, Ahlbeck, Germany, 2017)