In early August, Dr. Nir Menachemi, professor and department chair for the Health Policy and Management Department at the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI, received the Excellence in Teaching Award.
Established by the Health Care Management Division of the Academy of Management in 2005, the Health Care Management Excellence in Teaching Award annually recognizes innovative and outstanding teaching. It is designed to encourage, recognize and reward the work of excellent, dedicated and inspiring teachers.
According to his students and colleagues, Menachemi fits the bill, playing a vital role in the lives of his students.
“He has been a critical component in my career, having served as my program director, teacher, and enduring mentor,” said Menachemi’s former student, now assistant professor, Alva Ferdinand.
“He offered to do an independent study with me to explain the fundamentals of statistics… and when I didn’t understand a concept, he happily found alternative ways to explain it to me until I understood,” Ferdinand said. “When the independent study came to an end, I was adequately prepared to face my methods courses with greater confidence.”
Through his dynamic lecturing style, conversations about current events, and innovative group assignments, Menachemi is able to engage students of all levels.
“He has a unique way of teaching students the art of publishing,” said Paul Halverson, Founding Dean and Professor at the Fairbanks School of Public Health. “He introduces students to the publishing processes, mentors them, and provides invaluable edits throughout the entire experience.”
Students flock to Menachemi for mentoring, as he has published more than 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers and chaired over a dozen dissertation committees. While his research – examining how organizational strategies impact critical performance measures – is intensive, he still finds time to invest in his students.
“He is generous with his time, making himself available to students via skype, over the phone while commuting, and during the weekends,” Dean Halverson said. “His enthusiasm is contagious, not only for students, but for faculty as well.”
Tory Hogan, an assistant professor at The Ohio State University College of Public Health, would agree. “When Dr. Menachemi and I co-taught a healthcare strategy course, I saw first-hand how powerful he is as a teacher,” Hogan said. “He is one of the most engaging and energetic professors I have ever been in the classroom with.”
Hogan believes Menachemi gives life to the content he teaches by making each concept relevant for today’s healthcare world. Even the most complicated of ideas are understandable to his students. As a first-year assistant professor, Hogan finds herself reflecting on her experiences with Menachemi.
“While creating my own courses, I find myself asking ‘how would Dr. Menachemi present this idea to students’ and ‘how would he explain these concepts,’” Hogan said. “I hope I am able to affect students the way he has affected me.”