Professors Davis and Patel Honored with UK Outstanding Teaching Awards

Two Gatton College of Business and Economics faculty members were honored with the 2021 University of Kentucky Outstanding Teaching Awards at a Faculty Awards Ceremony held on September 30. The awards were presented to Olivia N. Davis, lecturer at the University of Kentucky Von Allmen School of Accountancy, and Darshak Patel, senior lecturer of economics and the director of undergraduate studies at the Gatton College.

The Outstanding Teaching Awards recognize individuals who demonstrate special dedication to student achievement and who are advancing meritorious success in their teaching. These awards emphasize the university's commitment to the importance of teaching as its vital core mission in the Commonwealth. Davis and Patel were recognized as winners in the Lecturers and Clinical Title Series.

“One of our strategic priorities is to improve student learning and career outcomes, said Simon Sheather, dean of the Gatton College. “You cannot do this without great teachers who show dedication, inspiration, and concern for students. I could not be more proud of our honorees.”

Olivia N. Davis

Olivia N. Davis, CPA, joined the faculty as a lecturer at the University of Kentucky Von Allmen School of Accountancy in January of 2018. Prior to this, she was in public accounting with PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP) in the assurance practice.  As a CPA with nearly 14 years of experience, she invites her students to go beyond just the technical accounting and auditing concepts by sharing real-world, current scenarios that help them understand the challenges that businesses face.

Professor Davis excels in her work with mentoring students. One of her nominating students says this: “She has encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone, break out of my shyness and become the female African American leader the college and the world needs. Olivia has also acted as a mentor for me personally. She has truly guided and mentored me into an accounting professional with the knowledge to succeed in my career field and the leadership and drive to continue to make a difference in my community!”

Professor Davis serves as the faculty advisor for the UK Student Chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) and she is a professional member of NABA.  In 2019, she founded the Gatton College’s FASTrack program for high school students. Davis was also awarded the Gatton College Teaching Excellence Award in 2020.  

Darshak Patel

Darshak Patel is a Senior Lecturer of Economics and the Director of Undergraduate Studies at the Gatton College. He promotes active learning through use of active learning strategies, including popular media such as EPSN30for30 and Shark Tank, as well as connecting economics with students over social media. 

Patel is also heavily involved with EconGames - an annual data competition that he co-founded with Dr. Abdullah Al-Bahrani of Northern Kentucky University. This competition gives students the opportunity to participate in data analytics and research events designed to help them solve real-world problems. 

One of the student nominators stated, "Dr. Patel has helped me grow in my academic career and prepare as I begin my transition into my professional career. He encouraged me to participate in Econ Games, which gives students the opportunity to work with real world data and apply what we learn in the classroom to a real-world situation. His commitment to the students he works with is unmatched. Throughout my college career I could not think of a more deserving professor for this award."

Patel is a recipient of numerous other teaching awards, including the 2019 Gatton College Teaching Excellence award and the 2020 UK Alumni Association Great Teacher Award.

For more information about the 2021 University of Kentucky Outstanding Teaching Awards, see this UKNow article.