Liebenberg Wins ARIA Excellence in Teaching Award

International honor recognizes distinguished record in mentoring and education

Andre Liebenberg

Andre Liebenberg and Patricia Born, ARIA president.

OXFORD, Miss. – Andre P. Liebenberg, the Robertson Chair of Insurance and associate professor of finance at the University of Mississippi, recently was honored with the American Risk and Insurance Association Excellence in Teaching Award at the group’s global conference in Munich, Germany.

The award, which is given only when an exceptional candidate emerges, was created in 2007. It recognizes excellence in risk management and insurance teaching. Applicants must show a distinguished record of teaching throughout their academic careers. The award isn’t monetary, but Liebenberg received a certificate Aug. 4 at the ARIA Awards Luncheon in Munich.

“I was very humbled,” Liebenberg said. “One of my mentors (Rob Hoyt) from the University of Georgia, where I got my Ph.D., won the award in 2007. I’ve always thought of him as an incredible teacher and someone I really look up to as a scholar and teacher. It was very humbling to be recognized with an award he previously received.”

ARIA, founded in 1932, is constituted of academics, insurance industry representatives, students and retirees. It bills itself as the “premier professional association of insurance scholars and other thoughtful risk management and insurance professionals.”

The honor comes with a rigorous set of qualifications. Some of the requirements include a teaching portfolio with a statement of teaching philosophy, summaries of student evaluations for at least two recent courses, grade distributions for a several recent courses, a list of previous teaching awards and letters of recommendation from students and colleagues, among other requirements.

Liebenberg said he’s very pleased to be a part of the UM risk management insurance program, which has an award-winning group of instructors. The success of the group as a whole speaks to the university’s ability to attract and retain excellent teachers who are focused on their students, he said.

Liebenberg makes many contributions to the university, said Ken Cyree, dean of the UM School of Business Administration.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Liebenberg’s contributions recognized and we are grateful for his dedication to our students,” Cyree said. “Andre is an excellent and award-winning teacher as well as an accomplished scholar in his field. He is engaged with our Insurance Advisory Board and in helping mentor graduates and helping them gain employment. We are thrilled to have him on our faculty and appreciate ARIA recognizing his contributions.”

William H. Rabel, who is the John & Mary Louise Loftis Bickley Endowed Teaching Chairholder in Insurance and Finance at the University of Alabama, is president of ARIA’s Award Committee. He is also a previous winner of Excellence in Teaching Award. Competition for this year’s honor was fierce, but Rabel said he believes Liebenberg’s enthusiasm and dedication to his students makes him an amazing teacher.

“Dr. Liebenberg is recognized for his ability to energize students through his enthusiasm in the classroom,” Rabel said. “He has great success in developing their understanding of the nuances of the subject and also in tying it to broad issues affecting society. Students credit him with truly helping them learn to think in addition to gaining a large amount of knowledge that will help them in their future careers.”

Liebenberg also helps instill confidence in his students, which is incredibly valuable to them in their careers, Rabel said.

“Dr. Liebenberg also enriches the Ole’ Miss RMI program by bringing in internationally recognized speakers who inspire students and help them recognize that their future is limitless,” Rabel said.