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The SEPS Excellence in Teaching Award

The SEPS Excellence in Teaching award is a highly regarded award that recognizes faculty who innovate, engage and motivate their students in the classroom. It supports the high value we place in teaching and serves as a pillar of recognition for those who do it well.

Each year The School of Economics and Political Sciences (SEPS) gives out its annual Excellence Teaching Award for the best lecturer in the fields of Economics and International Affairs. The award applies to those teaching in the Autumn and Spring semesters. The award is inclusive to all SEPS faculty in the Economics and Political Science departments.

Year Award Recipient Student Comments on Nomination
2022/2023 Prof Martin Wolf

It is our great honor to present the SEPS Excellence in Teaching Award 2022/2023 to Martin Wolf.

Students highlighted his courses as "straightforward and well-taught," and even the assignments were met with positivity, described as "very reasonable." Martin Wolf's detailed explanations not only facilitated a deeper understanding of economic theories but also made the subject engaging by connecting it to real-world economic situations.

Beyond his dedication to his field and teaching, Martin Wolf stood out to students for his calm and friendly demeanor, along with his willingness to support and guide them.

2021/2022

Prof. Christoph Frei

"Christoph Frei convinced me to study IA at HSG during the "visiting days" when I was still in Gymnasium and accompanied my uni history ever since. His storytelling skills cannot be beaten and his lectures are ALWAYS interesting."

"It is his way of teaching and interacting that makes you wanting to perform well."

"He has always a listening ear for the students and he remains really people-orientated."

"It's his way how he asks questions, how he tries to question things and tries that we activate our brain ourselves for an issue."

"Professor Frei is inspiring and it's amazing how broad knowledge he has. He is able to hold a 4 hours lecture, which is interesting and informative from start to end. His person engages with the students and is able to connect subject matters with stories and experience. He really stands for excellent teaching at HSG!"

2020/2021

Prof. Frank Pisch

In Autumn 2020 and Spring 2021, SEPS students chose the theme "Online learning: Creating motivation & innovation in the digital classroom."  They were asked: "In difficult times, how does one make the necessary adjustments to remain impactful? How does one motivate a digital classroom of students? It is a question that does not always follow with an easy answer. By the Autumn semester of 2020, we were all used to the online teaching model. So this year we ask: who continued to motivate and innovate in the digital classroom?"

The clear winner was Prof. Frank Pisch

"He made little surveys on class to check on our mental health, which I personally really liked so he knew how the students felt. Also he always stayed in the break in the "classroom" to answer questions."

"He is really interested in the subject and gives the lecture with great enthusiasm. He also stays in the Zoom during the break, so one could ask questions. The explain videos he provided were also super helpful."

"Prof. Pisch was the most encouraging and motivated professor I had-- he gave his best with online classes and made it as interactive as possible!"

"He introduced the ThinkPairShare concept in his lectures, where students first reflect individually on a concept, then are moved to breakout rooms to discuss with a couple other students, and finally the main takeaways are discussed in plenum."

"Prof Pisch encouraged to use the chat to talk and he always made surveys and breakout sessions but most importantly; he was just very happy and patient and liked what he was doing"

"He held Interactive online classes, built a very supportive environment and brought a positive attitude."

"He was one of the best lectures I had at HSG, he deserves this award!"

2018/2019

Prof. Christoph Frei

"My first time at this University back in 2015, I went to a presentation about the International Affairs programme. That evening when riding home, I decided that I wanted to attend this University. Not because it is cleaner than any other University in Switzerland or the fact that there were two presentations up at the same time at the Audimax. It was because I felt this thirst for knowledge, this deep-rooted interest in what was being taught and the willingness to share it. I felt this in particular at this one presentation about International Affairs held by Prof. Christoph Frei."

"He is super motivating and passionate about his subject. No matter what subject, he always catches his students."

"Christoph Frei is an excellent motivator. His character, way of speaking and his "groove" is unique!"

"Professor Frei brings the HSG campus feeling to the students' home office."

"Professor Frei embraces the new technology and immediately provides answers to all questions in the chat."

2018/2019 Prof. Ulrich Matter

"Professor Matter brings extraordinary engagement to every lecture. Despite the strong incentives for junior faculty members to put research first, Prof. Matter is dedicated to his courses and provides excellent learning materials beyond the textbook and the lecture slides. Students value Prof. Matter's motivation to teach for a deeper understanding and expertise. Coupled with his timely choice of topics, he equips students with relevant knowledge and state of the art tools to tackle today's challenges in research and practice. "

"I have had the pleasure to be a student in Prof. Matter's Data Handling Course in Fall 2018. In class, we appreciated how he provided a perfect balance between applied knowledge to a 21st century Economist or business leader, but also a deeper understanding of the subject matter. Thereby he is helping students to grasp not only how, but why something is done in a certain way. Students moreover appreciate the first-class teaching materials that he provides which exceed our expectations and greatly enhance the learning process. As a lecturer, we the students, value Prof. Matter for his extraordinary commitment to every single lecture he gives. Finally we would like to congratulate Prof. Matter on the revolutionary achievement of providing Markdown slides, which actually look good!"

2017/2018 Prof. Winfried Koeniger "Professor Koeniger combines innovative, digital and classical forms of teaching and shows outstanding commitment to student-focused teaching. In his course "Macroeconomics II" he implemented innovative ways of examination to ensure students' learning success."

"Professor Koeniger is extraordinarily interested in the dialogue with his students and their individual feedback to ensure the quality of teaching as well as the learning progress of each student. Moreover, he is approachable and very transparent in his grading."
2016/2017 Prof. Johannes Binswagner "Professor Binswagner's programming courses for Economics are varied, engaging and demanding. Prof. Binswanger's commitment and enthusiasm are unique and spur his students on to achieve their very best. His interest in students' opinions and the rapid way he implements feedback are also very distinctive."

"Prof. Binswanger has succeeded in presenting the fundamentals of Machine Learning in a way that all could understand, while also equipping students with useful programming skills, which are essential for implementing this knowledge and conducting individual experiments."
2015/2016 Prof. Dennis Gärtner "Professor Gärtner brings the course material to life, teaching in a charismatic, articulate manner and enabling students to move away from reliance on textbook material. He simplifies topics during lectures and adds value to the materials provided, such that attendance is enjoyable and feels truly worthwhile. Furthermore, he is approachable and very transparent in his attitude to exam preparation and other communications, enabling students to fulfil their potential." 
2014/2015 Prof. Simon Evenett "Professor Eventt's inclusive teaching style incorporates students ́ ideas, proposals and comments in developing the taught content, often times by using case examples. Furthermore, his passionate teaching style and his use of current research and personal experience made the subjects come to live and increased the students ́ intrinsic motivation. His grading design made use of decentral examinations and innovative examination formats such as voice-over-powerpoint presentations. The decentral examinations required students to reflect on the learned knowledge and allowed students to focus on topics of interest."
Professor Wolf was given the award in 2023 on behalf of the SEPS student body by Economic students Johanna Germeier and Ivo Capaul.
Professor Frei was given the award in 2022 on behalf of the SEPS student body by International Affairs students Simona Voney & Eliseo Biondini
Professor Pisch was given the award in 2021 on behalf of the SEPS student body by Economic students Luca Portmann & Cara Stromeyer

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