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Srikant Datar named best teacher

STANFORD - After reviewing nominations of 40 faculty members, MBA students selected accounting Professor Srikant Datar for the 1995 Distinguished Teaching Award. It is the highest honor given to a teacher at the Business School.

Datar, now finishing his seventh year on the Business School faculty, has had a reputation as a fine teacher since he began his academic career. In 1986, as an assistant professor of industrial administration at Carnegie Mellon, Datar won that school's George Leland Bach Award for Excellence in Teaching. At Stanford, he is known as a charismatic lecturer who lends excitement to a subject that can be as dry as a spreadsheet. This year's first-year MBAs gave him a standing ovation after his final-review session for the core course in accounting.

"If anyone had told me in the fall that I'd be nominating a cost accounting professor for the Distinguished Teaching Award, I would have laughed," wrote one of his students.

"He is quite simply the best moderator of class discussion that I have ever seen, either at the GSB or elsewhere," wrote another. Said a third: "We, his students, are truly important to him."

Datar agrees that they are. "It was you much more than I who made these courses rewarding, challenging and fun," Datar told his students as he accepted the award. He also paid tribute to several distinguished teachers who had influenced him, especially Charles T. Horngren, the Edmund W. Littlefield Professor of Accounting.

"My association with Chuck goes back to 1978, when I studied from the fourth edition of Chuck's cost accounting text as an MBA student at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. That experience started me down the path that led me to study at Stanford," said Datar. "In a very real sense, it was he who intitiated what today you are recognizing me for."

Datar earned three of his postgraduate degrees from Stanford: a master's degree in statistics in 1983, a master's degree in economics in 1984, and a doctorate in accounting in 1985. In 1994, Datar and George Foster, the Paul L. and Phyllis Wattis Foundation Professor of Management, joined Horngren in putting out the eighth edition of "Chuck's cost accounting text," Cost Accounting: A Managerial Emphasis (Prentice-Hall).

Also receiving special mention from the MBA students were Professor of Finance Paul C. Pfleiderer "for teaching a wide range of ability levels in the core finance class to rave reviews"; Asssistant Professor of Strategic Management Fiona Scott Morton "for distinguishing herself as a teacher combining relevance with rigor and for gaining the respect of her students, all in her first year of teaching"; and Haim Mendelson, the James Irvin Miller Professor of Information Systems, "for his commitment to integrating the core systems course with marketing, finance, operations and cost accounting classes."


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