Jackson Nickerson
Nickerson honored with ‘educational impact award’

For only the second time in the organization’s history, the Strategic Management Society has bestowed its educational impact award—this time, on WashU Olin’s Jackson Nickerson.

The society, established to “promote and encourage superior research and practice” in the field of strategic management, will formally present the award to Nickerson at its annual conference in Minneapolis this weekend. Nickerson is a non-resident senior fellow in government studies at the Brookings Institution and Olin’s Frahm Family Professor of Organization and Strategy.

“Jackson has made seminal contributions to management education for graduate students, executives, and government leaders,” the organization reported on its website. “He has been an inspiring and insightful teacher for more than 20 years. He has also authored more than 40 case studies, and he has been a true innovator in pedagogy, with some ground-breaking ideas about how to teach strategy to executives and government leaders.”

Lamar Pierce, professor of organization and strategy and associate dean for the Olin-Brookings Partnership, nominated Nickerson for the award, paying particular attention to his work as an instructor at Brookings and his influence on public sector leaders in Washington, DC.

“We estimate that, over the past decade, more than 15,000 students have attended onsite and open enrollment courses at Brookings in the programs that Jackson launched,” Pierce wrote. “I have no doubt that his impact on the federal government has been in the hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Pierce also commented on Nickerson’s influence and mentorship on junior faculty, noting that Nickerson “pulled me off of the academic scrap heap and gave me a job when no one else would.”

The ‘right’ questions

Daniel Elfenbein, associate professor of strategy at Olin, will introduce Nickerson at the ceremony and also nominated his colleague in a two-page letter, commenting that Nickerson’s curriculum and research “helped transform student outcomes” at the business school.

“I had several opportunities to be involved in courses taught by Dr. Nickerson as part of a custom-designed program for senior executives in Virginia,” said former student Sabrina C. Clark, director of VA Voluntary Service at the Veterans Administration in DC. “Jackson’s model for asking the ‘right’ questions to arrive at ‘right’ solutions is still powerfully resonant and relevant. Without a doubt, that single nugget changed the trajectory of my career.”

Another former student, Tim Keasling, deputy director of intelligence for the Army National Guard, recalled taking a class in which he and the professor had slightly different goals: “My goal was to pass the class,” Keasling recalled. “Professor Nickerson’s objective was for me to get my paper published. I passed the course and had my paper published!”

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