Alan Abrahams, assistant professor of business information technology in the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech, has received the university's 2013 Edward S. Diggs Teaching Scholars Award.

Sponsored by the Diggs Endowed Professorship Fund and the Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research, the Diggs Teaching Scholars Award was established in 1992 and is presented annually to three Virginia Tech faculty members to recognize exceptional contributions to the teaching program and learning environment. A cash award is given to each recipient and their academic department. Diggs Teaching Scholars are invited to lead the Diggs Roundtable–a series of presentations and a discussion of their innovative teaching–a year after receiving the award.

The award is supported by an endowed fund from an estate gift by the late Edward S. and Hattie Wilson Diggs. Edward Diggs was a 1914 graduate of Virginia Tech.

Abrahams developed the Online Business Guidebook as a unique learning initiative for his Business Analysis Seminar in Information Technology course, a senior capstone class that focuses on developing and using decision support systems as managerial tools in e-commerce. The book was a 100-page, hard-copy guide that aimed to be a one-stop manual for students and other fledgling e-business entrepreneurs.

The students established a not-for-profit organization to publish the book as a class project. The project gave them opportunities to do research, apply what they learned in class, and gain business experience. Since the book was published in 2009, there have been more than 60,000 website downloads and 40,000 hard copies printed. It has garnered more than $40,000 in cash and in-kind gifts to support the students’ efforts. 

In addition, an excerpt from the guide was published by the United States Small Business Administration on its website.

“Alan’s innovative concept actively engages students in learning and sharing their knowledge of e-business technology with the local and national business community,” said Bernard Taylor, R.B. Pamplin Professor and head of the Department of Business Information Technology. “He has achieved a truly outstanding record as one of the finest and most dedicated classroom teachers in the university.”

Among many accolades, Abrahams received the Pamplin College of Business Certificate of Teaching Excellence, a University Award for Teaching Excellence, and the Decision Sciences Institute’s Instructional Innovation Award.

Abrahams earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Cape Town and his Ph.D. from Cambridge University.



Written by Catherine Doss.
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