A view of the School of Business on April 28, 2015. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)
A view of the UConn School of Business. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

School Honors Faculty Whose Accomplishments Shine Brightly; Professor Golec Awarded ‘Research Excellence’ Honor

Finance professor Joe Golec, a scholar who keeps a running list of at least 100 potential research topics at all times, was awarded the School of Business’ top honor this spring, its Award for Research Excellence.

Meanwhile accounting professors Yanhua “Sunny’’ Yang and Michael Willenborg earned the School of Business’ Best Paper award for a highly regarded research paper about IPO prices. One of the reasons she chose to work at UConn, Yang said, was the value the University places on research distinction.

The professors were among 13 honored with various awards at the conclusion of the spring semester.

“Our faculty are innovative in their research and teaching, and care deeply about student success,’’ said Sulin Ba, associate dean of academic and research support. “This year’s award recipients amply demonstrate the level of excellence that our faculty consistently achieves.’’

Golec’s interests are applying finance techniques and theory to healthcare and biopharmaceutical issues. During the last five years, he has had more than a dozen papers accepted and/or published in prestigious journals, including a study of the financial impact of the Affordable Care Act.

He and UConn finance professor Paul Borochin received a Best Paper—Honorable Mention award for their research titled “Using Options to Measure the Full Value-Effect of an Event: Application to Obamacare’’ which measured the impact of the healthcare plan on pharmaceuticals, hospitals and insurance. They found that the Affordable Care Plan had a $55 billion impact on the healthcare sector, compared to the $16 billion that was widely reported.

Always on the lookout for research ideas, Golec said he keeps a running list of research topics to consider.

“When I review them, I’m looking for topics that can add to academic knowledge, but I’m also looking for ideas where I have a competitive advantage… something new, unique and interesting others might not see,’’ said Golec, who has been a UConn faculty member for 16 years.

Yang, Willenborg and 2015 UConn Ph.D. graduate Biyu Wu’s paper is  titled “Issuer Operation Performance and IPO Price Formation.’’ It appeared in the December 2015 issue of the Journal of Accounting Research and concludes that underwriters are overlooking important financial information about IPOs, which could more accurately reflect the value of a start-up’s publically offered stock. Wu is now a professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Because the School of Business values and supports high-quality research, UConn is on the national and international map, enhancing its reputation and attracting talent, Yang said. One of the factors that drew Yang to the university four years ago was the opportunity to pursue the research that she loves, while teaching and mentoring the next generation of accounting professionals. Winning the award affirmed the decision, she said.

“I think attending a major research university benefits our students, particularly those who are very advanced,’’ Golec said. “Students who are at the top of the class have a thirst for information that extends beyond the traditional curriculum. Because of my pursuit of research topics, I’ve been able to suggest ideas for unique honors thesis topics. Research also enables professors to bring interesting ideas and examples into the classroom. It makes theories easier to grasp if you can say, ‘This is why this is important, because this is what this company is doing.’ ‘’

Golec’s work has been included in the Journal of Financial Economics, the Journal of Corporate Finance and the Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, among others.

Other awards presented at the ceremony included:

  • Best Paper—Honorable Mention: was presented to Ying Zhou, an accounting professor who authored an article on “Securitization and Insider Trading.’
  • The Graduate Teaching Award went to accounting professor Wayne Bragg and the Undergrad Teaching Award went to finance professor Shantaram Hegde.
  • The Teaching Innovation Award was given to marketing professor Kevin McEvoy.
  • The Service Award went to OPIM professor Bob Day.

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.

Earlier in the spring semester, the following faculty members were named Ackerman Scholars for the 2016-18 academic years:

  • Accounting: Yanhua “Sunny” Yang
  • Finance: Carmelo Giaccotto
  • Management: David Souder
  • Marketing: Hongji Liu
  • OPIM: James Marsden

The Ackerman Scholar award recognizes significant and continuing all-around academic productivity among the faculty of the School of Business. It is awarded to faculty who are not already supported by endowed chairs, professorships, scholarships or fellowship appointments. The award is funded by the Ackerman Fund, the School of Business and the departments.