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Faculty Excellence in Teaching Awards 2017

Brandeis International Business School (IBS) honors faculty and staff with awards for dedicated service, excellence in teaching

Robert Podorefsky and Robert Reitano

by Samantha Mocle
June 14, 2017

At Brandeis IBS, commencement weekend marks the celebration of multiple achievements: those of our graduating students and their families, those of our student leaders and teaching assistants, and those of our faculty and staff. At this year’s Dean’s Reception on the Friday before commencement, two Brandeis IBS faculty and two staff members were presented with awards for their passion, commitment and outstanding contributions to the business school. 

Robert Reitano, Professor of the Practice of Finance, and Robert Podorefsky, adjunct professor, received this year’s awards for Excellence in Teaching.  

Reitano’s research and course offerings focus on quantitative finance and risk management, a reflection of his storied career at John Hancock where he served as executive vice president and chief investment strategist. He is the author of Introduction to Quantitative Finance: A Math Tool Kit and serves on the board of the Professional Risk Managers International Association (PRMIA). 

His students expressed gratitude for the way in which he translated years of intricate in-field knowledge to classroom discussions. 

“Professor Reitano takes us through the complex logic flow of quantitative finance,” said one student. “His lectures are well-paced, appealing and inspiring.” 

Another student noted how Reitano’s approach “elaborated complicated issues in a clear and simple manner.” 

“I love his case-based teaching,” a third student remarked. “It provides us with realistic knowledge. He guides us to solve the problem and gives us chances to contribute our own ideas.” 

Podorefsky brings over three decades of knowledge and experience in financial services to the classroom, most recently as the chief market strategist for GE Capital. His students were far from shy in sharing their admiration and gratitude for his approach to coursework in applied risk management, fixed income securities and more. 

“Professor Podorefsky always worked to make class interesting. He brings knowledge into the classroom based on his personal experiences in risk management and is very helpful outside of class,” said one student. “It is obvious that he cares a lot about his students and about ensuring that we enter the job market with not only quantitative skills, but intuitive ones as well.” 

Many students shared positive feedback on Podorefsky’s ability to translate the applicability of course subject matters to current events and news, and one student gratefully acknowledged Podorefsky’s talent of “drawing real life out of the book.”

“His vast knowledge of the markets and business makes him a great teacher,” said another student. “He not only facilitates learning, but encourages curiosity and interest in the subject. Simply put: a professor truly worthy of recognition.” 

Also recognized at the Dean’s Reception were Barbara Cassidy and Lauren Hasselriis-Ghom, recipients of this year’s Distinguished Staff Service Awards. 

Both Cassidy, associate director of Centers and Initiatives, and Hasselriis-Ghom, faculty program administrator in the Office of Academic Affairs and Student Experience, were noted for their incredible management of events and personnel, quick thinking and strong relationships across departments in the business school and the University.