Stephen Skripak, professor of practice in the Department of Management in the Pamplin College of Business, has received the university’s 2017 Sporn Award for Teaching Introductory Subjects.

Sponsored by the Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research and the Virginia Tech Academy for Teaching Excellence, the Sporn Award for Teaching Introductory Subjects recognizes a Virginia Tech faculty member nominated and selected by undergraduate students.

Skripak joined the Department of Management 12 years ago following his executive-level positions with companies such as Capital One, General Electric, and Sara Lee Corp. Skripak began his career at Virginia Tech as an instructor for the Strategic Management capstone course in the Pamplin College, transitioned to become the associate dean for graduate programs, and currently teaches introductory, upper-level undergraduate, and MBA courses.

Skripak has designed, refined, and instructed Pamplin’s first-year experience course, Foundations of Business. He is responsible for leading a team of six faculty members who deliver the class to incoming freshmen and assist in the transition from high school to college while fostering inquiry skills, problem-solving, and the integration of learning.

Skripak’s class curriculum is meant to engage students through innovative and challenging methods, such as his use of the “lemonade stand” project, in which students work in teams to manage their own small businesses. He has also helped in broadening the international experience for students by leading several study-abroad programs, one of which he developed in Antibes, France.

“Mr. Skripak engages and challenges his students. He sets high standards and motivates his students to reach them," wrote Devi Gnyawali, professor and management department head, in a letter of nomination.

"Rather than dismissing those students who do not show the willingness to put in much time and effort, he seeks to actively engage them to find a way to set them on the path to success. Part of what allows him to connect so strongly with his students is that he is willing to find them where they are. He has worked hard to really understand his students,” Gnyawali added. 

Expressing appreciation for Skripak on Thank a Teacher, one student commented, “This professor went out of his way to make the class as interesting and captivating as possible and in doing so he reassured me that I without a doubt made the right choice in choosing the business school here at Virginia Tech.”

Skripak serves as a faculty advisor to the Management Student Advisory Board as well as to Future Business Leaders of America. He has been named a University Favorite Faculty, which recognizes excellence in teaching, for three consecutive years.

Share this story