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Professor of the Year Tim Calkins (center) strives to make his classes "as realistic as possible," and says that no two are exactly alike, a quality that keeps things interesting for him and for his students. Joining Calkins are the other finalists (l to r): Professor of Management & Strategy David Besanko, Clinical Associate Professor in Marketing Julie Hennessy, Professor of Finance Sergio Rebelo, and Assistant Professor of Management and Strategy Benjamin Jones.

Marketing's Tim Calkins named top professor

Others also garner kudos as students pick ‘best of best' from among elite faculty; exemplary teaching marks winners in annual awards

By Matt Golosinski

6/5/2006 - Tim Calkins has earned the coveted Lawrence G. Lavengood Outstanding Professor of the Year Award, beating an academic field crowded with talent, including four other finalists. Students in the Kellogg School 's Full- and Part-Time MBA programs bestowed the honor on the marketing professor for his dynamic teaching style and the ability to convey his subject in rich and vivid detail. Calkins teaches marketing strategy, employing an expansive framework that assumes all functions across an organization play key roles in the marketing mission.

“Teaching is a remarkable challenge,” said Calkins. “One of the things that makes it so hard, and so fun, is that each day is different. Students ask different questions, the case discussions progress in distinct ways and the mood of the class changes. As a result, each class session has a unique flavor and it is rarely predictable.”

A clinical associate professor who is co-editor of Kellogg on Branding (Wiley & Sons, 2005) and co-director for academics in the school's branding program, Calkins joined Kellogg in 1998. Since then, he has leveraged his extensive practical experience, bringing strategic insights into the classroom from his consultation work with major corporations. He is also managing director of Class 5 Consulting and describes his goal as helping people and organizations use marketing strategy and branding to build strong, profitable businesses.

Professor Calkins has created several teaching cases at Kellogg and he spearheads the school's Super Bowl Advertising Review, an assessment of marketing effectiveness that takes place during the annual U.S. football event. During the game, Calkins leads a student team for the review, grading advertisements on a number of dimensions to arrive at a comparative analysis immediately after seeing the commercials for the first time.

After earning a bachelor's degree from Yale University and an MBA from Harvard Business School, Calkins began his career at Booz Allen Hamilton, where he worked in the consultancy's strategy practice. In 1991 he joined Kraft Foods in marketing, a tenure lasting nearly 11 years during which he managed several businesses, stepping down in 2002 as senior category business director.

“The best part about teaching at Kellogg is the student body,” said Calkins. “Kellogg students are sharp, engaged and enthusiastic. They are quick to question things that don't make sense and eager to help turn the class into a fun learning environment. I try to make my class as realistic as possible. My ultimate goal is to help students be successful and contribute.”

The Lavengood Award, instituted in 1976 and voted on by graduating members of the Full-Time and Part-Time MBA programs, is the highest teaching award that students can bestow on a Kellogg School faculty member. In 1994, the award was named in honor of Professor Emeritus L.G. Lavengood, who retired that year after more than 40 years of research and teaching on the Kellogg faculty.

Other finalists for this year's award included David Besanko, the Alvin J. Huss Distinguished Professor of Management and Strategy; Julie Hennessy, clinical associate professor of marketing; Benjamin F. Jones, assistant professor of management and strategy; and Sergio Rebelo, the Tokai Bank Distinguished Professor of Finance.

Rebelo was awarded Top Professor honors from students in the Executive MBA Program this year. Both 2006 graduating classes, EMP-62 and 63, chose the finance scholar as their winner for the electives category. Top Professor honors in the core courses category went to Michael Fishman, the Norman Strunk Distinguished Professor of Financial Institutions, and also Lakshman Krishnamurthi, the A. Montgomery Ward Professor of Marketing. Fishman was selected by members of EMP-62; Krishnamurthi by members of EMP-63.

Kellogg School Dean Dipak C. Jain formally announced the award winners on June 3 during Oh Be Joyful, the school's annual ceremony to acknowledge faculty and staff accomplishments from the past year.

“These awards are particularly meaningful because they come from our students,” said Dean Jain. “The recognition indicates just how effective our professors are, not only at making complex subjects understandable, but also in bridging theory and practice by introducing frameworks that are then applied in ways that matter for those seeking real competitive advantage in today's business world.”

Dean Jain praised the award winners during Oh Be Joyful, but also acknowledged the overall strength of the Kellogg School 's faculty and staff.

“Each year we see the passion and dedication of so many people in the Kellogg School,” said the dean. “We are truly a community that practices the team leadership ideal that we preach. I am personally grateful to be part of this dynamic and talented family.”