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Two Smith faculty receive awards for work with students

Posted on July 29, 2021
Professors Pierre Chaigneau (left) and Steven Salterio.
Professors Pierre Chaigneau (left) and Steven Salterio.

Kingston, Ont. – Professors Steven Salterio and Pierre Chaigneau have been recognized with awards for research supervision and teaching excellence at Smith School of Business.

Salterio received Smith’s 2021 Research Supervision Award. Chaigneau won the Teaching Excellence Award.

The awards go annually to faculty who’ve demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the education of students in the PhD and MSc programs. Nominations were made by students in the programs.

The Research Supervision Award is open to all faculty who have supervised Smith PhD or MSc students for three or more years during the past five years.

Salterio, the Stephen J.R. Smith Chair of Accounting and Auditing, says he was completely surprised by the award. “Reading the various nomination and co-nomination letters was a real inspiration to me to continue with my approach to helping [students] develop on their journey,” he says.

Salterio says he loves encouraging his students to become “critical thinkers and questioning readers. In an age where evidence is discounted all too easily, having students be able to understand and critique the underlying research is very gratifying,” he says.

Yi Luo, PhD’21, says Salterio cares deeply about not only students he supervises but all accounting research students at Smith. For example, soon after the COVID pandemic began, she says, “Steve saw that junior scholars were missing out on the usual opportunity to collect feedback on their work.” In response, Salterio and a collaborator started the “East Coast Behavioural Accounting Research” online seminar series. The webinar series has been wildly successful, Luo says. “This is a great example of Steve’s influence beyond Smith in the accounting academy.”

The Teaching Excellence Award is presented to a professor who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the research-intensive education of students in the PhD and MSc programs.

Chaigneau, the Commerce ’77 Fellow of Finance, was on sabbatical in 2020-21 but nonetheless agreed to teach some courses because he knew how hard it would be to find a substitute instructor. He says he was “pleasantly surprised” to get the award. “It was the first time I was teaching remotely via Zoom, and I did not know how effective it would be.”

Chaigneau says he especially enjoys class time with MSc and PhD students. “These are students who have been carefully selected for their outstanding academic ability and who are very motivated. This allows me to teach at a high level,” he says.

Aaron Black, MSc’21, says that Chaigneau’s ability to teach complex financial models and to understand how individual students learn these models makes him stand out as a teacher. “He would ask very targeted questions,” Black recalls of one particular class. “Often, there were two possible ways to answer his questions: with mathematical or economical reasoning. This allowed students of different backgrounds to understand the content and learn how to approach concepts using different logic.”

This year’s award recipients were chosen by a committee comprised of three Smith faculty: Ling Yang, Matthias Spitzmuller and Murray Lei.