Business Professor ‘Natural Fit’ for Regional Award

Impacting knowledge: Professor Vlad Vaiman is the recipient of the ACBSP 2019 Teaching Excellence Award, a regional honor.  Photo by Katie May- Photojournalist.
Impacting knowledge: Professor Vlad Vaiman is the recipient of the ACBSP 2019 Teaching Excellence Award, a regional honor.
Photo by Katie May- Photojournalist.

California Lutheran University’s Vlad Vaiman has been selected by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs to receive the 2019 Teaching Excellence Award.

As a professor and associate dean of the School of Management, Vaiman was selected from candidates from western states including Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington.

Vaiman was recognized by ACBSP on the basis of his interest in student learning and his far-reaching and entertaining way of delivering instruction.

“My true mission is to impact knowledge,” Vaiman said. “I feel that education is a two-way street and my purpose is to make the interaction with students meaningful so that they take as much as possible by also participating in the process.”

Bruce Gillies, assistant professor of business, said Vaiman’s recognition is “huge” as far as helping the School of Management in their accreditation process.

ACBSP is the only body that offers accreditation to all levels of collegiate business education programs, ranging from associate to doctoral, according to its website. ACBSP evaluates business education programs on the basis of leadership, strategic planning and quality of academic programs.

Gillies said Vaiman’s award serves as evidence to the accrediting bureau of the quality of the School of Management at Cal Lutheran.

Vaiman said this award is “recognition of the good people”  at the School of Management, as well as their “supportive culture.”

Each year, ACBSP honors individuals who exemplify attributes of teaching excellence within the classroom. Vaiman will be presented with the award during the ACBSP annual conference this June.

“We were surprised that [the ACBSP Teaching Excellence Award] was an award that was allowed, but we weren’t surprised that he was the one getting it,” Gillies said.

Gillies said Vaiman was a “natural fit” for the award.

Vaiman was nominated by colleagues including School of Management Dean Gerhard Apfelthaler for this award. The ACBSP also took into consideration Vaiman’s course evaluations and course materials, including his syllabi.

“I wish I could get my course evaluation as high as his. He’s always got really, really good course evaluations and I’m trying to get him to tell the rest of us how he goes about that,” Gillies said.

Vaiman said he doesn’t remember getting anything lower than 94 percent in terms of student satisfaction. He said for him, “my students are my priority.”

“I’ve met some of his former students and they all love him, and they always invite him out and talk to him,” Vaiman’s daughter, Lisa Vaiman, said.

Gillies said Vaiman is “quick-witted” and always understands people.

“He’s extremely outgoing, a big people person. My dad loves to educate and loves to tell stories,” Lisa Vaiman said. 

In addition to teaching, Vlad Vaiman has conducted research and has had more than 80 articles, book chapters and editorials published collectively, as well as five books.

Vaiman considers research part of his responsibilities and said a lot of his teachings are based on his research.

“It’s important, I think, to do the research not for the sake of research, but to translate it to practice and to teaching,” Vaiman said.

Vaiman said his objective is to “ignite” student interest, have students interact with him and share their experiences. He said he learns something from his students just as they learn something from him.

“No matter how bad I feel,” Vaiman said, “when I go to the class, when I teach online, all my pain just goes away because there’s so much adrenaline, there’s so much energy that I get from my students. I’m ready to explode with knowledge.”

Yolanda Arciniega