The school recently recognized two winners of the Krannert Alumni Teaching Excellence, or KATE, Awards, which are selected by a committee of four faculty members and five graduating seniors.
The first KATE Award was presented to Cara Putman for Excellence in Course Delivery. It recognizes her work in Management 254, Legal Foundations of Business. It’s a course that she has taught since 2012, and a faculty judge commented on the innovative way that learning objectives were linked to activities designed to allow students to apply their knowledge to real-life situations. Her methods proved to be especially effective during this past year in keeping students engaged while they were dealing with a COVID environment.
At Krannert, Putman serves as the School of Management Honors Director and teaches the undergraduate core course in business law and a cultural competency course, as well as Accounting Ethics and Business Law for masters of accounting, and employment law, international law, and business ethics for master’s students. She has taught the core graduate business law class since 2006, and journeyed to Germany to teach it in the summer of 2012. In addition, she has led undergraduate study abroad experiences in Siena, Florence, and Rome. Putman is also leading a study with faculty members Kelly Blanchard and Brian Chupp on how to more effectively teach ethics at the undergraduate level.
“My role is to help students take complex legal principles and break them down so they can apply them to their jobs as managers,” Putman says. “I see myself as a translator, removing as much complexity as possible and helping students see how these legal concepts intersect with the business world. When I work with businesses, I love helping them stay on the right side of the law. Teaching allows me to do that at a deeper level by equipping students with the tools for success when they leave Krannert.
“I want them to leave with concrete pictures and ideas about how the law intersects with the jobs they will do. If it’s all esoteric and theoretical, then it doesn't connect to their real world. I want to bridge that gap.”
The second KATE Award was given to Matthew Lanham for Excellence in Course Innovation, recognizing his work in Management 473, Data Mining, and Management 474, Predictive Analytics. Both courses are project-based and focused on teamwork. Student teams from his courses are required to present a high-quality poster of their class projects for the Purdue Undergraduate Research Expo or the Research Symposium, giving them something they can discuss in job interviews.
Lanham is a member of the Quantitative Methods area faculty in Purdue’s Krannert School. His primary focus is serving as academic director for the MS in Business Analytics & Information Management (BAIM) program, coordinating and teaching Krannert's Data Mining, Predictive Analytics, Using R for Analytics, and Industry Practicum courses. He interfaces these activities with Purdue's Krenicki Center for Business Analytics and Machine Learning, serving as its assistant director of student engagement. The SAS Global Forum also honored him with the 2019 Distinguished Professor Award for his creative use of SAS software in his teaching.
"When I go about teaching a class, mentoring a project, or doing my own consulting work, I always think about what the end product and outcomes will be,” Lanham says. “I want my students to leave my courses not only having knowledge of analytical methods and following a structured scientific process in their work, but also the technical skills and abilities to actually do the work that they can showcase to employers.
“The growth and investment in analytics and data science academic programs and courses is one of the most exciting trends in higher education today. Companies want analytics talent, but when they screen for that, a good story might not be enough. A key differentiator of what we are doing here in Krannert that you might not see as much in other schools of business is making sure our students have the tangible analytical evidence of their knowledge, skills, and abilities. Going through an intense project from start to finish in a semester has led to some great student placements, admissions in top graduate programs, and left many with an experience they will never forget."