Margaret Luciano

Doctoral Student Margaret Luciano Wins Scholarships for Work on Employee Dynamics in Hospital Patient “Handoffs”

Margaret Luciano
Margaret Luciano

Margaret (“Maggie’’) Luciano, a doctoral candidate at the UConn School of Business, has been awarded two scholarships in recent months recognizing her achievements in the field of organizational behavior.

The Society for Industrial/Organizational Psychology’s (SIOP) Lee Hakel Graduate Student Scholarship recognizes achievement in a graduate career and is intended to assist doctoral students in the field of industrial and organizational psychology with the costs of carrying out their dissertation work. She received the award in January.

It is the second recognition for Luciano, who, late last year also received an award from the Society for Human Resources Management for her dissertation proposal. She was selected as one of four promising researchers.

Her dissertation research focuses on understanding and improving cross-unit coordination between hospital units, and the dynamics between such groups.

She has investigated patient “handoffs’’ as they move from surgery to a recovery room. During baseline assessments, upwards of 20 percent of these handoffs were found to be lacking in one or more important ways, jeopardizing patient care.

“Margaret’s dissertation is a stellar example of cutting-edge applied research,’’ said John Mathieu, professor of management and Luciano’s adviser. “Conceptually, Margaret tests theoretical questions concerning the integration of employees’ individual differences and how they combine to perform interdependent actions. Practically, she devised and implemented a work process improvement which essentially orchestrated how different parties should function during these handoffs.’’

“Her dissertation represented a serious organizational change for the hospital, involving everyone from top management to the nurses and doctors performing the handoffs. Her field experiment revealed that her intervention reduced the percentage of problematic handoffs to approximately 4 to 5 percent—a 75 percent decrease from baseline,’’ Mathieu said.

Both the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Society for Industrial/Organizational Psychology (SIOP) awarded her competitive research grants on the basis of her proposed work. The criteria for both awards are that the work should advance both the science of human behavior in organizations, while also advancing practice and human welfare, Mathieu said.

Her research on these and related topics has appeared in the Journal of Applied Psychology and other peer-reviewed journals.

Luciano will join the management faculty at Arizona State University after completing her doctoral program at UConn. She earned her bachelors degree in psychology in 2009 and her MBA in 2010, both from Clark University in Worcester, Mass.

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Award-winning Professor John Mathieu Combines Humor, High Standards in Teaching Doctoral Students

Pictured L to R: Margaret Luciano, a 2015 Ph.D. candidate and Professor John Mathieu
Pictured L to R: Margaret Luciano, a 2015 Ph.D. candidate and Professor John Mathieu

John Mathieu, a professor of management who is described as funny, kind, academically demanding and willing to ‘go the extra mile’ for his students, has earned the Edward C. Marth Mentorship Award for leadership and dedication.

The award, given to a UConn faculty member who teaches at the graduate level, is designed to encourage and reward outstanding mentoring of graduate students. Mathieu has been at the University since 1999 and is the Friar Chair in Leadership and Teams.

“It’s flattering to receive this award,” said Mathieu, who has chaired 19 dissertations and participated in 29 dissertation committees during his career. “It’s a privilege and an honor to get to work with Ph.D. students who are growing into scholars and then embarking on their careers.”

Sulin Ba, associate dean at the School of Business, said Mathieu is very deserving of the award. “His graduate students have been extremely successful. Both current and former students, and his faculty colleagues, testify to his commitment to his students and their careers,” she said. “His work is an inspiration to us all.”

Mathieu earned his bachelor’s in psychology from UConn, and both his masters in psychology and doctorate in industrial/organizational psychology from Old Dominion University. He taught at The Pennsylvania State University until 1999, when he joined the faculty at UConn.

“My experience is that the harder I work with graduate students, the harder they in turn work. It’s exhausting but exhilarating,” Mathieu said. “I find out where they are—and then I keep raising the bar. And they respond and do great things.”

Lauren D’Innocenzo, ’14 Ph.D., an assistant professor in management at Drexel University, described Mathieu as the epitome of an outstanding mentor.

“It is no coincidence that John Mathieu’s students present more papers at academic conferences, win more awards, and publish more papers in top-tier journal outlets,” she said. “John demands the best from his students, not only in publishing quality but in terms of professional demeanor and ethical responsibilities.”

M. Travis Maynard, ’07 Ph.D., an associate professor at Colorado State University and one of Mathieu’s former students, agreed. “I am constantly impressed with John’s passion for what he does as an academician. One of John’s greatest strengths is his predisposition to expect quite a bit from his students. The fact that John has such high expectations for us, makes us raise our performance, because we don’t want to let John down.”

David Souder, a management professor and Ph.D. coordinator, said Mathieu also sets the ‘gold standard’ for his faculty peers.

“Everyone knows that John’s seminars are demanding, and yet I often hear laughter coming from the seminar room,” Souder said. “This is because John has a gift for expressing high-level academic concepts in a down-to-earth way.

“John remains a popular choice as a dissertation-committee member because of his clear thinking, methodological expertise and developmental approach,” Souder said. He noted that all of the students advised by Mathieu in recent years have completed high-level publications during their time at UConn and have accepted positions at prominent research universities.

Meanwhile, Professor Gary Powell, former academic director of the School of Business Ph.D. Program, said that Mathieu has tried hard to reduce gender inequalities in the academic profession. He makes sure his students are aware of starting salaries in their fields and encourages them to demand a fair wage.

“I have the utmost admiration for how Professor Mathieu mentors doctoral students,” Powell said. “I cannot imagine anyone doing it better.”

Many of his former students paint a picture of a professor who is genuinely interested in their well-being.

“John genuinely cares about the success and happiness of his students,” added D’Innocenzo. “He is always looking out for opportunities, whether it is to learn a new skill, meet potential collaborators, or aide in finding an academic position.” He goes the extra mile to foster relationships with others in the field, she said.

Margaret Luciano, a 2015 Ph.D. candidate who has accepted a job at the Arizona State University, describes Mathieu as a tireless advocate for his students. “John mentors graduate students to be able to conduct their own research, not merely to help conduct his research,” she said.

Mathieu said one of his first goals when meeting a new student is to find an area of research that is most meaningful to him or her. He said he then looks for opportunities to pair people up on projects, adding that a network can be incredibly valuable in developing skills and career options.

“I must admit that one of the things that I am proudest of, is the fact that there is now a cadre of UConn graduates who help one another. They look out for one another, they collaborate with one another, and they share their networks and their insights,” he said, fondly referring to them as the “Husky Pack.” “I get great pleasure when colleagues from other institutions tell me how nice, professional and skilled my graduates are.”

Mathieu said he enjoys watching them transition to their own program and that it is like a parent watching their children go off into the world.

Maynard said he still contacts Mathieu for valuable advice.

“While it has been seven years since I graduated from UConn, John and I continue to work together and he still is a mentor for me in several ways,” Maynard said. “John is always quick to respond to any question that I may have—be it research-focused of simply career development advice.”

Mathieu said doctoral students have different needs than, for instance, undergrads. Many are juggling their doctoral work with marriage, children and mortgages. “They’ve got bigger life stresses than they did as undergraduates,” he said. “They have real lives and a lot of people depending on them. I feel it is important not only to support the student, but to help the entire person.”

In fact, instead of accepting the $4,000 stipend that comes with the award, Mathieu has requested it be put in a special fund to help doctoral students with expenses related to their studies.

“These adults are going through many of life’s challenges and critical periods—and they are stressed,’ Mathieu said. “And they, in turn, are going to soon be in positions where they influence many other lives. My goal is to also help them to become compassionate and good human beings, not just researchers and classroom teachers.”

D’Innocenzo said she has adopted some of her former professor’s style.

“As a new faculty member, I only hope that I am able to provide the same mentorship for my students as he has done for me,” she said.

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Dean’s 2013 Pre-doctoral Fellowship

We are pleased to announce the recipients of the Dean’s 2013 Pre-doctoral Fellowship. This is the first time such an award has been made at the UConn School of Business.

Dean’s 2013 Pre-doctoral Fellowship Awards:

Accounting – Erin Henry, Elizabeth Kohl
Finance – Tingyu Zhou
Management – Margaret Luciano, Lauren D’Innocenzo
Marketing – Jeffrey Carlson
OPIM – Mark Schneider, Gang Wang

Please join us in congratulating these students, who have demonstrated extraordinary achievement in research and/or teaching.

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Ph.D. Student Scholar Awards 2013

We are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2013 Departmental Outstanding Ph.D. Student Scholar Awards. The following doctoral students have demonstrated outstanding scholarly performance, regardless of stage in the UConn School of Business doctoral program:Continue Reading