Image of Business Instructional Facility

Apr 17, 2024 Accountancy Faculty Finance

Two Gies faculty receive campus, College teaching awards

Gies Professors Richard Excell and Brian Hamm were recognized by both the University of Illinois and the Gies Business Alumni Association (GBAA) with awards for excellence in instruction. They'll receive the GBAA awards at the College's annual Spring Luncheon on May 3, and the campus awards were presented at the University of Illinois’ annual Celebration of Teaching Excellence held April 16.

“These awards are sort of like campus Oscars,” said Mark Peecher, Executive Associate Dean of Faculty and Research and Deloitte Professor of Accountancy. “They are evidence of these teachers consistently delivering classes of outstanding quality – bringing business concepts to life in applied real-world settings. They acknowledge the tremendous value these instructors contribute to students’ development as budding professionals. And to have two instructors from our College receive these recognitions is an indication of the breadth of teaching excellence found here at Gies.”

Excell (left) received the Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching award from both the University of Illinois and the GBAA. “I was completely taken by surprise to receive this,” he said. “I didn’t get into teaching to win any awards. Since I have been here, I have seen the positive impact I can have on students. I hear this from current and former students. This is what keeps me going. To be recognized like this only motivates me more to continue to try and positively impact the students.”

Describing his approach to teaching, Excell said, “I aim to empower students, using as many techniques as needed, to become active participants in their own lifelong learning journey. The great thing about Gies Business is the enormous diversity we have, which brings so many unique perspectives. I encourage all of those perspectives to be heard because we can all gain so much from a broader understanding of how people are thinking about the important factors in our lives.”

Excell joined Gies Business in 2019, and he teaches courses in portfolio management, derivative strategies, and finance for non-finance majors. His name regularly appears on the List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students. He received his bachelor's degree in finance with high honors from Gies in 1990 and his MBA with high honors from the University of Chicago in 2001. He is also a co-director of the Investment Management Academy, and in 2022 he was a recipient of a Dean’s Impact Award.

Hamm (right) received the Excellence in Graduate & Professional Teaching award from the University of Illinois and the Excellence in Graduate Teaching award from the GBAA. “This award has meant more to me than any other recognition I’ve received throughout my career,” he said. “I worked in industry for over 23 years and then made a transition into academia. This award helps validate the reason I got into teaching – to make a difference and make an impact on the next generation of business leaders.”

Hamm said of his philosophy of teaching, “There are three pillars to my approach to teaching: give your students a voice, show students that you genuinely care, and lead by example.” Hamm leads by example by bringing in his long industry experience. “I share challenges I faced throughout my career and stress the importance of ‘always doing the right thing,’” he said. “At the end of every semester, I share my advice on leadership and for their future careers.  My message centers around the four P’s: passion, partnership, positivity, and patience.”

Hamm joined Gies Business in 2018 and teaches courses in financial statement analysis and accounting regulation. He is regularly included on the List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students. He received his bachelor’s in accountancy from Gies 1995.

The Office of the Provost website maintains a list of all Campus Awards for Excellence in Instruction, including links to lists of prior recipients of the awards.

Also honored by the GBAA with the Excellence in Teaching for Teaching Assistants award is Sydney Kim. Sydney is a PhD student in the Department of Accountancy. Prior to joining the program, she worked as a macroeconomic research analyst and equity analyst. During her time at Gies, Sydney was a teaching assistant and instructor for courses in financial accounting and data analytics. She appeared on the List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students in various courses such as Accounting Institutions and Regulation and Data Analytics Foundations for Accountancy. Upon graduation in May, she will join California State University as an assistant professor starting in the Summer of 2024.