Rourke, Taillard Named Faculty of the Year

Rourke and Taillard

Kerry Rourke P’23 and Jerome Taillard have received top honors from the undergraduate and graduate Class of 2020 as their Faculty of the Year.

They were recognized during virtual academic ceremonies at the semester’s end. Rourke and Taillard will address students when in-person Commencement ceremonies are held later this year.

Undergraduate Faculty of the Year

Senior Lecturer in English Rourke is the Undergraduate Faculty of the Year, receiving the accolade during the Virtual Senior Awards Ceremony on May 15. Students praised her as a challenging and supportive teacher and mentor.

“Professor Rourke fosters an inclusive environment in her classroom that allows her students to feel confident and comfortable bringing their personal life experiences to the collective discussion,” said one student nominator.

“Professor Rourke has transformed my way of thinking. She challenged me to think above and beyond my comfort zone. She pushed me to utilize profound literature and films, which led to my intellectual growth,” said another.

Undergraduate Dean Ian Lapp echoed their sentiments. “Kerry Rourke has my greatest admiration as a transformative teacher, masterful mentor, innovative course designer, and wonderful colleague and friend to myself and so many across campus.”

Rourke, whose daughter Chloe is a current undergraduate student, has taught a variety of offerings, including Foundations of Academic Writing (I and II); Introduction to LGBTQ Cultural Studies; Suburban America in Literature and Culture; Love, Sex, and Family in Mid-20th Century American Literature; American Romanticism, Realism, and Naturalism; Performing Social Class; The Gender Film Initiative (co-taught with Assistant Professor Beth Wynstra); and Strategic Writing for Managers. She also has served as director of the Writing Center and faculty trainer for all Senior Seminar instructors.

“I am grateful for this honor,” said Rourke. “The ultimate collaboration is with students. I never tire of that first day of classes, when the potential, the stories, the heartbreaks and successes walk in the door (real or virtual) with the students. I know we are about to share a dynamic exploration that will join us as co-learners for life. I appreciate the Class of 2020’s faith in me, and I hand it right back to them with a large dose of gratitude for our shared experiences.”

Thomas Kennedy Award

Taillard, an associate professor of Finance, receives the Thomas Kennedy Award for Professor of the Year on the graduate side. The announcement took place during the Penultimate Lecture and Virtual Reception on May 14.

Prior to the event, students surprised “Professor Jerome” with the announcement online. “My dream come true,” he reacted to the unexpected notification.   He added: “I love our MBA students. Granted some come with little business background, but they all come with a burning desire to learn. And in my book, that is the necessary and sufficient condition for having a successful class. Every cohort proves it, and the class of 2020 was no exception.”

Students were enthusiastic in their praise for their professor.

“He helped me see the world through the language of finance,” said one nominator.

“His energy and vibe is great for students. He takes his sweet time to teach concepts effectively,” said another. “He’s been helpful with guidance outside of class, too.”

“He is not just a teacher. He inspires. He makes us smile. He believes in us. He fills us with optimism. He is humble and happy and able and emphatic and is everything one could ask for from a teacher, guide, friend, and mentor,” wrote a third.

Graduate School Dean Keith Rollag added, “The secret to great teaching in three words is Show You Care and Jerome is the perfect example. He combines his deep knowledge of finance with a deep concern for learning to make finance not only accessible but exciting to students of all abilities and experiences.”

Taillard’s main research interests are in corporate finance, specifically in the areas of risk management, energy finance, innovation, and governance.

This is just the latest honors and successes for Taillard. Poets & Quants honored him as one of its 2017 Top 40 Under 40 Professors. And, most recently, his Cutler Center webinar, Past and Present Crisis: The Policy Response, (one of many such webinars by the College, among them Babson Discover) was by far the most popular presentation, immediately reaching full Zoom capacity. The six-week series examined the financial impact of the COVID-19 crisis with Babson Finance faculty.

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