Eight Outstanding School of Business Professors Earn 2015 Faculty Awards

A professor who used chocolate chip cookies to teach about quality control, three researchers who had work published in top journals, and an educator who vigorously promoted the School of Business were among the 2015 Faculty Award recipients.

“This year we honored eight outstanding faculty members for their exceptional research, teaching and leadership achievements,” said Associate Dean Sulin Ba. “The selection process was particularly difficult due to the dozens of impressive nominees. We are fortunate to have such talented, creative and remarkable colleagues.”

The awards were supported by generous donations from The Arnold S. & Ruth Zackin Faculty Excellence Endowment Fund and the Arnold M. Robin & Rochelle M. Robin Excellence Fund.

The award for Best Paper was shared by Professors David Weber of Accounting and Jose Martinez of Finance.

Weber’s paper, “Does SOX 404 Have Teeth? Consequences of the Failure to Report Existing Internal Control Weaknesses,” found that a regulation that is supposed to provide a warning bell and greater transparency for investors is hampered by a lack of enforcement. His work will be published in The Accounting Review.

Martinez’s paper “Picking Winners? Investment Consultants’ Recommendations of Fund Managers,” found no evidence that recommendations by highly paid investment consultants to institutional investors subsequently outperformed the market. His research will appear in The Journal of Finance.

In addition, Honorable Mention for Best Paper went to Professor Timothy Folta of Management for his paper titled, “Getting Beyond Relatedness as a Driver of Corporate Value.” His work, which scrutinizes how corporate value derives from redeployability of firms’ resources to new product markets, will appear in the Strategic Management Journal. Folta also serves as the Thomas John and Bette Wolff Family Chair in Strategic Entrepreneurship and the faculty director of the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

There were almost a dozen nominations for this category, every one of the papers accepted in prestigious journals.

The Teaching Innovation Award winner was Professor Cuihong Li of Operations and Information Management (OPIM). Li went to great lengths to make her courses interesting, even using chocolate chip cookies to teach quality and stochastic process control, by asking students to inspect cookies, using the number of chocolate chips in a cookie as the quality measure. She even assigned students to read The Goal, a business novel about the story of an operations manager’s fight to save a manufacturing plant, to help students develop a deeper understanding of the concepts covered in the course.

Best Undergraduate Teaching Award went to Professors Kunter Gunasti of Marketing and Dmitry Zhdanov of OPIM. Gunasti was recognized for bringing an international perspective to his classes and for his willingness to address topics traditionally outside of the marketing area, such as subliminal processing, memory improvement techniques and neuro-linguistic programming. Zhdanov was praised for an outstanding job in teaching very challenging technical courses, including IT security and network design. He has also served as coach of the MIS undergraduate IT case competitions. In the last three years, the team has placed either first or second against other top MIS programs from across the nation.

The Graduate Teaching Award was presented to Professor Gary Powell of the Management Department, who is a repeat winner. “If it were not for the rule that you can only win once every five years, he’d probably win the award every year!” a colleague said.

Professor Jose Cruz of OPIM won the Faculty Service Award. He has worked tirelessly to increase the awareness of the UConn School of Business programs among the community colleges, said the OPIM Department Head Ram Gopal. Also, as academic director of the MSBAPM program, he has worked exceptionally hard to help graduate students find jobs. Nearly all of those students had successful internship and job placements.

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