Jennifer Koski, a professor of finance at the University of Washington Foster School of Business, has won the 2015 PACCAR Award for Excellence in Teaching. It’s her third time winning the school’s highest teaching honor which was established in 1998 by PACCAR Inc, the Fortune 200 global technology company based in Bellevue, Washington.
This unprecedented feat comes as little surprise to anyone. The PACCAR Award’s annual recipient is selected by a panel of Foster MBA students. And the consensus seems to be that Koski grows more effective the longer she teaches.
Here’s how one student described her in her PACCAR Award nomination: “Jennifer is the professor whose door is always open, who has put a great deal of thought and care into the structure of the course, emphasizes and facilitates supportive discussions that truly lead students to the conclusion or crux of a case, and—I speak from personal experience—will go out of her way to wave to students halfway across a parking lot. She’s an NPV positive professor with incalculable value-add.”
Koski joined the Foster School faculty in 1991, after earning a BS in applied mathematics from Brown University, an MBA from Harvard and a PhD in finance from Stanford.
Her dedication to deeper learning was inspired by an early experience working in investment banking after graduating from Brown. She never really got past the processes, figuring a bond price by following directions on a cheat sheet, for instance. “Somebody told me how to do it, but not why,” she says. “Then I went to get my MBA, and the light went on.”
Her career has been about replicating that epiphany for nearly 25 years of students at Foster. She has long been known for dynamic finance sessions, bringing the real world into the classroom through contemporary cases (many of which she and her colleagues create in-house), and helping even the most finance-averse students understand and appreciate its utility. That, and a tireless dedication to her students.
“Jennifer loves teaching,” wrote another Foster MBA. “You can tell by how much she prepares for class. She deeply cares whether or not her students have a solid understanding of the material she teaches. Her cases are challenging and diverse. She doesn’t try to intimidate her students. She challenges them while giving them all the support and encouragement they need to succeed. She’s a fantastic teacher!”
Several students suggested cloning Koski. Seriously.
Koski’s growing mountain of accolades is testament to her sustained excellence at Foster. She currently holds the John B. and Delores L. Fery Fellowship, and has received the Charles E. Summer Outstanding Teaching Award (2000, 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2015), the Daniel R. Siegel Service Award (2000, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2012, 2013 and 2015), the MBA Core Professor of the Year (1994, 1996, 2001-2008, 2015), the Dean’s Citizenship Award (2004), the Andrew V. Smith Faculty Development Award (2003), PhD Mentor of the Year Award (2001), MBA Core Teaching Team of the Year (1997, 1998, 2000), the Lex N. Gamble Family Award for Excellence in Case Development (2012), and the Burlington Northern Foundation Faculty Achievement Award (1993).
Paramount among these are her three PACCAR Awards, won at the intervals of 2001, 2008 and 2015.
Upon receiving her second, Koski commented that she viewed the occasion both as a great honor and a great challenge. “Having won the award twice,” she said in 2008, “I’m feeling a particular responsibility when I walk into the classroom to teach my core class and electives, because the student expectations will be so high. I don’t want to let them down. I want to deliver.”
It’s pretty clear how she’s executing on those objectives.
PACCAR and its founding Pigott family are longtime supporters of the Foster School. In addition to the PACCAR Award and three endowed faculty positions, support from the Pigott family and company was instrumental in building PACCAR Hall, the Foster School’s 135,000-square-foot classroom facility that was completed in 2010.
Previous Paccar Award Winners
Karma Hadjimichalakis (1998)
Stephan Sefcik (1999)
Elizabeth Stearns (2000)
Jennifer Koski (2001)
Ali Tarhouni (2002)
Robert Higgins (2003)
Jane Kennedy (2004)
Daniel Turner (2005)
Mark Forehand (2006)
Mark Hillier (2007)
Jennifer Koski (2008)
Shailendra Pratap Jain (2009)
Thomas Gilbert (2010)
Lance Young (2011)
Erich Studer-Ellis (2012)
Mark Hillier (2013)
Frank Hodge (2014)