Reflecting the entrepreneurial spirit that is a defining principle for many at Baruch, Elissa Grossman, an assistant professor of management in the College’s Zicklin School of Business, is a winner of the Acton Foundation’s 2007 Entrepreneurship Master Teacher Award. Sharing in the honor is Baruch senior Catherine Gibbons, one of Grossman’s students selected to join her in attending the recent awards event in Austin, Texas.
The Acton Foundation for Entrepreneurial Excellence is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping teachers develop case-based entrepreneurship curricula.
The national award recognizes outstanding teachers who inspire students to build businesses that create jobs, increase wealth, and improve society. Grossman was nominated by her students for the award, while Gibbons was chosen to accompany her based on class performance.
“Great teachers change lives by inspiring students to recognize their gifts and to learn how to use them to pursue a worthy dream. Elissa Grossman is one such great teacher,” said Acton Foundation President Rick O’Donnell.
Grossman is especially pleased that the award is inclusive of students. “For me, teaching is about the students, so to give an award to a teacher without bringing the student into the equation misses the point,” she says.
“Catherine is an embodiment of the Baruch spirit; she works two jobs while simultaneously excelling as an entrepreneurship major and educational psychology minor,” Grossman notes.
Teachers receive a $5,000 cash prize, while students each receive $1,000 toward their education costs. Both participate in case discussions lead by master teachers from the Acton School of Business during the two-day award event.
“One of the best things about the awards event was the opportunity for students and teachers to discuss what constitutes a great education, something you don’t always get the chance to talk about during class,” Grossman explains. “It’s a conversation that really goes a long way to improving education in the future.”
A member of the Baruch community for the past two years, Grossman previously worked in brand management and marketing for large to mid-sized companies, and as a consultant for several start-ups. Her research focuses on how entrepreneurs build the social networks with which to secure the resources needed to launch a business.
In addition to serving as one of the Field Center’s small business mentors, Grossman also teaches an introduction to entrepreneurship class and a course on managing a new and growing venture. The latter uses case studies and features guest speakers from diverse industries.
In nominating Grossman, one student said: “Sitting in her classroom, you can tell that she has a great passion for teaching and that every lesson she teaches requires many hours of work and dedication. Every student tries hard, not out of fear of failing the class, but out of desire to achieve the standard that she sets for her students.”
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