Merrick earns INFORMS Prize for Teaching of OR/MS Practice

Jason Merrick (left) accepts the Teaching of OR/MS Practice Award as INFORMS President Steve Robinson (center) and presenter Alexandra Newman (right) look on.

Jason Merrick (left) accepts the Teaching of OR/MS Practice Award as INFORMS President Steve Robinson (center) and presenter Alexandra Newman (right) look on.

The 2014 INFORMS Prize for the Teaching of OR/MS Practice was presented to Jason Merrick, a professor in the Department of Statistical Sciences & Operations Research at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), for his “professionalism and contributions to the teaching of practice in Operations Research and Management Sciences.”

Committee member Alexandra Newman of the Colorado School of Mines, the 2013 winner, presented the award on behalf of Committee Chair Michael Trick at the INFORMS Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

The award citation read in part:

Jason Merrick has influenced hundreds of students at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), as well as practitioners at Capital One, Infineon Semiconductors, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and Deloitte Consulting through his corporate training; public safety officials through VCU’s Public Safety Institute; and students at the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia.

Dr. Merrick’s students have applied what they have learned to make significant operational improvements in a wide variety of applications, including building urban high schools, improving rehabilitation and treatment in a city jail, reducing risk and credit losses in a bank, conveying military missiles and guiding efforts to improve the quality of an endangered watershed.

Past students credit their success to Dr. Merrick’s ability to make every OR/MS technique relevant to business. Dr. Merrick’s teaching philosophy is to “coach,” not to lecture, and nearly all of his courses involve course projects designed to enable students to apply operations research methodologies to real-world problems.

Dr. Merrick truly excels at working with students who are practitioners or inspiring students to become OR/MS practitioners.