Aidin Namin, assistant professor of marketing, was selected as the winner of the Association of Collegiate Marketing Educators (ACME) 2020 Teaching Innovation Award. Aidin won this national teaching award – which recognizes educators for developing innovations to enhance student learning – for his applications of innovative techniques in teaching marketing courses at LMU.
For many millennial and Gen Z students, math and quantitative methods are not perceived as fun subjects to study in college. However, the world of big data and analytics is changing at a rapid pace and job growth continues to soar. New jobs have been created based on these skills alone, and a number of existing jobs now require some level of analytics aptitude.
“My goal was to create a less intimidating and more enjoyable analytics experience for students, while maintaining the same depth and rigor that these topics require,” said Aidin.
Aidin took an ‘applied’ approach to teaching quantitative methods, which spanned two phases: 1) teach students about the details and mathematical background of quantitative techniques via formula derivation and calculations, and 2) have students apply these techniques in real business scenarios. Using real world case studies with real world data, Aidin developed in-class activities based on his past experience working for a management consulting firm.
Student response was overwhelmingly positive, with many expressing they now see the value in using analytics and quantitative techniques in identifying and solving business problems. These are skills that employers are looking for and will set them apart in the job search process.
The final competition for this teaching award took place back in mid-March when stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19 were going into effect around the country. While the other two finalists competed in-person in San Antonio, Aidin – following LMU policies – decided to compete virtually. He thought it might put him at a disadvantage but his doubts quickly faded once he was announced as the winner.
“This whole experience indicates to me that our world is changing toward using technology in education and teaching, and provides evidence that the merit of developing innovative teaching approaches relies more on the innovative idea rather than the platform used,” said Aidin.
In true humble form, Aidin says this teaching award actually belongs to his LMU students.
“I would like to thank the marketing faculty, CBA leadership and especially my wonderful students for the latitude I was given in developing and implementing these innovative teaching methods. The student’s enthusiasm and positive attitude was very encouraging and motivated me throughout this entire process.”
Aidin received his Ph.D. in Marketing Analytics from the University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas). He holds a B.S. in Industrial Engineering and an MBA. During his Ph.D. studies at UT Dallas, Aidin received the PhD Student Teacher of the Year Award. He also received the Junior Faculty Excellence Research Award (Ascending Scholar Award) from Loyola Marymount University. Before joining LMU, Aidin was a faculty member at the University of Idaho.