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Insights at UBC Sauder

Jeff Kroeker wins 2021 CUS Teaching Excellence Award

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Posted 2022-04-11
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The Commerce Undergraduate Society (CUS) at the UBC Sauder School of Business has announced that the 2021 CUS Teaching Excellence Award recipient is Jeff Kroeker, Lecturer in the UBC Sauder Accounting and Information Systems Division and Director of the UBC Sauder LIFT Program.

The CUS Teaching Excellence Award, created by UBC Sauder alumnus Don Nilson (BCom ‘76 MSc ‘85) and his CUS classmates in 1975, celebrates an outstanding professor or faculty member who has made an extraordinary contribution to teaching at the school.

“When I started at UBC Sauder in 1998 I quickly realized I was surrounded by great faculty, great staff, and that each day I get to engage with top notch students with tremendous aptitude and wonderful attitudes,” said Kroeker. “To be nominated and win this award in this world class academic setting is very humbling.”

Kroeker received his MBA from Queens University and is a Certified Management Accountant (CMA). In 2005, CMA Canada honored him with the FCMA designation which acknowledges the significant contributions made to CMA Canada, the profession, and the community at large. He is consistently one of the most highly rated teachers at UBC Sauder, working with undergraduate, graduate and executive students. His interactive teaching style encourages students to think about and apply concepts within a decision-making context. He has been the recipient of many teaching awards, awarded by students, faculty and by the university.

Since 2010 he has been teaching business skills in developing countries to emerging entrepreneurs in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Colombia and Peru. He has a passion for capacity building as it relates to equipping entrepreneurs in developing economies with business skills for the purpose of creating economic betterment.

Kroeker is the Director of UBC Sauder LIFT: Kenya (formerly SSE Kenya), a program that transcends international borders to deliver essential business tools to a classroom of aspiring entrepreneurs. Led by UBC students, this business training program is designed for youth in Kibera and Mathare – two of the largest slum communities in Nairobi, Kenya. In January of 2022, LIFT expanded programming into Ghana.

“My goal is to create an educational experience that sets students up for leadership roles in the community, and I want to provide highly interactive settings that foster thinking,” said Kroeker. “Recognition can come in the form of this award or the career conversations with hundreds of alumni each year. Blake, one of my students, once signed off a thank you note to me after we worked together in Colombia: ‘from professor to mentor to friend.’ I strive to be the best professor I can be each class, a supportive mentor to all students and for those two pieces naturally, over time, to be best described as a friendship.”

Jeff is one of those professors you will remember forever. Jeff is a great Accounting and COMM 101 professor, but I don't remember him because of that, I remember him because he taught me that business and entrepreneurship are tools to solve problems and empower people. I had the opportunity to go with Jeff to South Africa and Cambodia, an experience that not only showed me how entrepreneurship can change people's lives, but also helped me see what I wanted to do with my own life.

- Maricel Saenz, Kroeker’s former student, Founder & CEO of Compound Foods

While the CUS Teaching Excellence Award has a long 46-year history, this year, for the first time, the 2021 CUS Teaching Excellence Award now includes a $16,000 cash prize endowed to the award winner, thanks to a generous planned gift and annual support from Don Nilson. Nilson has established an endowment for the award through his estate, ensuring that the award will continue to be distributed every year in perpetuity.