Årets underviser på CBS: ”Det er de studerende, der udgør universitetets mest betydningsfulde aftryk på verden”
Every year, CBS, in collaboration with the Danish Society for Education and Business (DSEB), awards a series of prizes to researchers and students. Among these are awards for the best teacher of the year, the best research communicator of the year, and the best research project of the year. The winners were celebrated at a dinner on November 22nd. "Teaching is the most obvious way in which CBS and other universities can make a difference."
Thomas Presskorn-Thygesen, Assistant Professor at the Department of Business Humanities and Law at CBS, shares his thoughts on the role of teaching today.
CBS produces vital knowledge, but we also – and perhaps above all – create people,
Thomas Presskorn-Thygesen, Assistant Professor
In a time when the universities' contribution to society is in focus, he finds it obvious to discuss how universities help to shape future societal actors and decision-makers:
”Even though there are many ways in which CBS makes a difference, the students we send out into the world are probably our most important imprint. CBS produces vital knowledge, but we also – and perhaps above all – create people,” adds Thomas Presskorn-Thygesen.
His research interests concern philosophy of science and methodological questions within business economics. Recently, he was awarded the DSEB Education Award at CBS for his course in ‘Philosophy of Science and Business Research Methodology’ at CBS’ large BSc programme in Economics and Business Administration.
However, making philosophy of science a popular subject at a business school is no easy task. Although Thomas Presskorn-Thygesen is himself both ‘nerdy’ and passionate about theories and abstract concepts, he does admit that the subject may initially seem obscure and inaccessible, especially for students who aim for a career in business, where questions of methods or data collection are probably rarely topics of conversation at the office.
Nevertheless, Thomas Presskorn-Thygesen has managed to arouse the students' interest in the subject. The nomination text for the award thus highlights his ability to innovate teaching and to make complex theories practical and applicable.
Science is not just something that old men in white coats do in laboratories
His office is packed with research publications and bulky philosophical works, and crammed in between works by Wittgenstein or Kuhn, you can find his own recent book, Erhvervsøkonomisk Videnskabsteori (‘Philosophy of Science in Business Economics’).
The book is an example of his goal to make philosophy of science comprehensible and important to business students, who otherwise engage in subjects such as finance, strategy or organisational analysis.
”In my teaching, I never start from the abstract question of what science is but rather from what it means that business economics is a science. The point is to make students realise that business economics is also a full-fledged science, even if they may not have thought of it. So, I only use examples from core business economics disciplines to make the concepts understandable and relevant for business operations. In this way, I keep the teaching down-to-earth, understandable and practically relevant.”
Following CBS’ Nordic Nine strategy, he points out that it is far more important that students develop the ability to think critically and reflectively, rather than just memorising facts, names and page numbers. He also emphasises that although one does not usually associate philosophy of science with a business school, a basic understanding of it offers significant advantages for students, both while at university and in their future careers.
Having some insight into philosophy of science makes it easier to evaluate the basis for decisions. Strategic decisions in companies, for instance, are based on analyses and expectations, but how well-founded are these expectations? It is such questions that philosophy of science can help students to address.
"I really wish to show that science is not only something that occurs in laboratories populated by old men in white lab coats. Science is also something that happens right here at CBS,” he explains.
Intellectual boxing match
Being a researcher without teaching or presenting your ideas is a bit like being a boxer who never actually enters the ring
- Thomas Presskorn-Thygesen, Assistant Professor
Thomas Presskorn-Thygesen’s enthusiasm rubs off on his students who have given him sky-high evaluations. But the joy of teaching does not only benefit his students. It is also important for his own research.
”I love teaching because it is a way for me to test my own research; a way to find out if the arguments, that I develop at my desk, also work in a practical context.”
This substantiates his argument that teaching is inseparably linked with research:
”Being a researcher without teaching or presenting your ideas is a bit like being a boxer who never actually enters the ring.”
The DSEB Education Award was presented on Wednesday 22 November. Every year, CBS and the Danish Society for Education and Business (DSEB) present a number of awards to researchers and students. Among them are the DSEB Education Award and the DSEB Research Dissemination Award.
Thomas Presskorn-Thygesen, Assistant Professor, email@example.com
Martine Mengers, journalist, CBS firstname.lastname@example.org