Weatherhead Welcomes Three New Faculty Members | Weatherhead School at Case Western Reserve University

Weatherhead Welcomes Three New Faculty Members

Posted 10.7.2020

With a new semester comes new change, especially in a year filled with transitions to remote learning, updated health and safety guidelines on campus and more. This fall, however, Weatherhead is welcoming change as it adds three new faculty members to the school.

Pooyan Kazemian, Hyowon Kim and Heidi Blakeway-Phillips joined Weatherhead School of Management’s faculty across three different departments: operations, design and innovation and accountancy.

Get to know the new Weatherhead faculty members, what courses they’re excited to teach, how they plan to manage instructing during a pandemic and interesting facts you may not know about them.

Pooyan Kazemian, Assistant Professor, Operations

Photo of PooyanPooyan comes to Weatherhead from Harvard Medical School. As a new faculty member in the operations department, Pooyan’s research lies at the intersection of machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) and data-driven optimization with application to healthcare. 

Question: Amid all the challenges due to COVID-19, how do you think teaching this semester will be different or more challenging than others?  What opportunities exist?

Answer: Teaching this semester will undoubtedly be more challenging. A lot of work has gone into restructuring course components to better fit online teaching and to figure out how best to use technology to teach in remote or hybrid mode. It may be harder to keep students engaged and to foster collaborative engagement without in-person classroom interactions. On the other hand, online teaching provides increased flexibility as students can join the class from anywhere in the world and watch the lecture recordings multiple times, as needed. In any case, we are all committed to delivering a high-quality education to our students during the pandemic while keeping our community as safe as possible.

Question: What course are you most looking forward to teaching this semester and why?

Answer: I will be teaching a course on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence this semester, for which I am very excited. This is a brand-new course in our Business Analytics program and will cover several exciting topics and state-of-the-art learning algorithms. Given that a big part of my research is also focused on applications of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence in healthcare and medical decision making, I am enthusiastic about teaching this course and sharing my knowledge with our students.

Question: What do you consider your most significant research accomplishment so far?

Answer: I have been fortunate to work with great researchers and scientists on several high impact research projects over the past few years. In one recent project that I led, we leveraged predictive modeling and analytics tools. We analyzed data from the CDC to evaluate whether population-level achievement of diabetes care targets improved in the U.S. over the past 10 years, and to investigate potential disparities in U.S. diabetes care. This work was published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, received extensive media coverage and was featured on NPR and The New York Times, which was exciting. Nevertheless, I believe my most significant research accomplishment is yet to come.

Question: Are you new to Cleveland? If so, what about the city stands out to you/are you most excited about?

Answer: Yes, I am new to Cleveland. I am looking forward to checking out the many cultural events and institutions that Cleveland has to offer, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Playhouse Square, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the Cleveland Museum of Art. Moreover, as a hiking enthusiast, I am excited to explore the surrounding state and national parks and the incredible nature of Northeast Ohio.

Hyowon Kim, Assistant Professor, Design and Innovation

Photo of HyowonAn applied researcher with interest in developing quantitative models of consumer demand, Hyowon completed her PhD from Ohio State University in 2020. This semester, Hyowon will be teaching Marketing Models and Digital Analytics where students will learn the problem-data-analytics interdependence for effective problem solving and engage with thoughtful practitioners of digital data analytics to inform current practices and opportunities.

 Question: What are you most excited about for this semester at Weatherhead?

Answer: I am very much excited to meet our students and interact with them in class. I delivered my first lecture today in the classroom and via Zoom simultaneously, and I was impressed by how the Weatherhead has been prepared well for the dual delivery mode for teaching. In addition, I am looking forward to sharing research ideas with faculties and working with them sometime soon.

Question: Although COVID-19 is an extremely challenging time, what opportunities exist in higher education?

Answer: One of the advantages of attending virtual meetings or conferences is that students are able to have more flexibility in terms of time and location. I hope our students regard this new format as a safe and comfortable way to interact with more people free from physical attendance. Regarding online courses, it will be great for students to express their opinions/concerns effectively using audio or chatting via video communications in class.

Question: What is one fun fact about you that you’d like your students to know?

Answer: I usually start with a simple example that represents a concept of the topic of the day during the class. In general, most examples are highly relatable to my current interests. Since I have recently fallen in love with making pour-over coffee at home, students might expect to see diverse coffee-related examples this semester.

Heidi Blakeway-Phillips, Assistant Professor, Accountancy

Photo of HeidiAlthough she’s been at Weatherhead as either an adjunct or visiting professor with a full schedule for the past three years, Heidi is excited to join the faculty full-time this fall. With more than 30 years of industry experience holding executive positions and board directorships at global companies and non-profit organizations, Heidi is bringing her track record of creating value for the shareholders of international businesses to the school.

Question: What stands out to you the most about Weatherhead students?

Answer: Overall, I’ve been impressed by the purposefulness and professionalism of the Weatherhead students.

Question: How do you think this semester will differ from those in the past at Weatherhead? Do opportunities exist?

Answer: We’ll be continuing to operate in a socially distanced manner this term, establishing effective working relationships with each other whilst operating remotely.  That’s tremendous experience for a business career in cross-border, international organizations.

Question: What advice do you have for students this semester/year amid all the challenges?

Answer: I don’t know that I have anything new and novel to add that the students haven’t already recognized. It can be wearing to conduct most of your life and social interactions through a screen.  Brief emails can seem terse.  Meetings can seem flat.  So it’s important to maintain social contact, while being mindful of all safety precautions.   Other advice would be to take a good look at your course load and commitments at the beginning of the term, and to figure out how you’ll best pace yourself.  Allow extra time for group work.  Schedule “me” time.  Get outside while the weather is good.

Question: Outside of teaching, what’s one fun fact/hobby your students might not know about you?

Answer: Well, with a first name of “Heidi” it may not be a surprise to learn that my family is Swiss.  I’m a citizen of both Switzerland and the US.  Although I started my career in New York, I lived in London and worked in Europe for most of my career. I’m fortunate to have a business network that extends beyond the US, and I look forward to drawing upon this network as speakers for our students.


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