- President's Award for Distinguished Teaching (2016)
After coaching his sons' youth soccer teams for over 10 years, Gary Kern wanted to bring what he learned about being a leader on the soccer field into the classroom. By developing a coach-like approach to teaching that focuses on active learning and personal accountability, Kern has established himself as one of the most respected faculty within the IU community.
Kern joined the IU South Bend faculty after receiving his PhD in operations management from IU Bloomington. As classroom technology continued to evolve over the years, Kern began to employ his "flipped classroom" approach: he guided students through lecture material outside of the classroom, and reserved class time for in-depth exploration and analysis.
Kern was on the cutting edge of faculty who implemented technology in their curriculum as part of a hybrid learning experience. He became known for his online lectures, which brought traditional lessons to life through interactive videos. He was also one of the first faculty members in the school to administer exams on the computer, which allowed students to apply analytical modeling to their understanding of management information systems (MIS. His undergraduate group was among the first to have the opportunity to major in MIS at IU South Bend.
Despite already being recognized with numerous teaching-related awards, Kern continues to look for ways to improve his students' experience. In 2013, he led a task force to redesign the MBA program at IU South Bend, which included hybrid course delivery as a key feature. He took his commitment to the new curriculum one step further through his fellowship with the University Center for Excellence in Teaching, where he mentored faculty and helped them prepare for the launch of the redesigned program.