News & Views‌

UNI business faculty and staff recognized for excellence

April 29, 2020 - 7:32pm
Leslie K. Wilson
leadership celebration logo

It is disappointing that we cannot be together at this time of celebration, the end of the semester where student leadership and faculty and staff excellence are our focus. Know that we will celebrate together, in August, the Friday before classes begin. At least that is my hope for what our future will be. Regardless, I am very happy to now recognize faculty and staff through the awards that we give each year.

Faculty are the life-blood of our educational mission -- getting students ready for business. They provide the leadership and direction for our future while balancing three significant responsibilities -- teaching, scholarship, and service. Our first three awards recognize faculty whom the leadership team believes perform at the highest levels in each of these distinct areas. They distinguish themselves in their excellence and commitment.

Distinguished Teaching Award

Bulent Uyar University of Northern Iowa

Bülent Uyar (Economics)
Dr. Uyar’s picture is the one I want to show when people say to me that it is impossible to teach a math heavy course, set high performance expectations, and still receive high student evaluation of teaching scores. For nearly 30 years, Bülent has found himself in CBB 109 with over 200 students enrolled in Statistics for Business Analytics almost every semester. Students report that Bülent is “very organized, tough, demanding but fair.” Some tell us that a few years after getting a job they realize that what they learned in his courses is what distinguished them from other candidates. Bülent has not only positively impacted students through his teaching, but also the world of statistics practice. Bülent co-authored a paper on regression published in The American Statistician that prompted SAS to modify its regression procedure. I am happy to report that this fall, Bülent will return to the classroom as Emeritus Professor of Economics. Thankfully, despite retirement, or maybe because of retirement, he will continue the teaching excellence for which he is being honored.

Distinguished Scholarship Award

Andy Anderson University of Northern Iowa

John (Andy) Anderson (Supply Chain Management)
In preparation for our AACSB review, we took a deep dive into the journal quality, as measured by SJR and ABDC rankings, of our reported portfolio. Within this portfolio, 19 articles appeared in journals ranked as either an A* or Q1. Of those, 20% were contributed by Dr. John (Andy) Anderson. Andy’s research focuses on Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI), with an emphasis on Chinese multinational investment behavior in developed countries. He is widely recognized as a world-leading expert. His growing body of research reveals that the FDI measurements used by official statistics (World Bank, OECD, national level agencies around the world, etc.) are all significantly biased and cannot be used to meaningfully understand FDI behavior, a conclusion that holds significant potential to impact policy and practitioners. Finally, Andy is an example of a faculty member who consistently earns a reassigned time assignment, evaluated by the Faculty Research Committee, every year for which he has submitted an application. However, do not make the mistake of assuming that this outstanding research productivity comes at the expense of his teaching and service obligations. I am pleased to recognize Dr. Andy Anderson’s scholarly productivity and impact through this award.

Distinguished Service Award

Russel Guay University of Northern Iowa

Russel (Rusty) Guay  (Management-Human Resources/Leadership)
We honor Dr. Rusty Guay for his commitment to our mission through his service responsibilities, although he is no stranger to awards in the other two areas including, most recently, the 1943 Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching. Rusty’s service activities, too numerous to highlight them all, impact a wide range of stakeholders. But there is a consistent theme that runs through the vast majority of those service activities --  commitment to students and student success. As examples, he advises two student organizations :Leadership and Management Association (LMA) and the UNI Society for Human Resource Mgmt (UNI-SHRM). He serves the College by chairing a committee focused on supporting teaching excellence, again the foundation for ensuring student engagement and success. He is a member of the Student Academic Appeals Board, making sure students are treated fairly. Outside of the traditional classroom, he offers workshops to our students and those from other international universities that allow them to gain critical negotiating skills. With all of that, he also serves the profession as a reviewer for 14 journals and three conferences. It is with great gratitude that we recognize Rusty for his outstanding service.

Inspiring Innovation Award

While continuing to focus on education quality, we are challenged to respond to a changing business environment. We must, therefore, innovate as we pursue continuous improvement in educational programs, delivery, and other mission-based activities. This requires that we support experimentation and entrepreneurial pursuits and recognize that innovation involves both the potential for success and the risk of failure. The purpose of our Inspiring Innovation Award is to support experimentation by our faculty and staff. Today we celebrate an innovation that expands the reach of our UNIBusiness education.

Jennifer Anderson University of Northern Iowa

Steve Yerkes University of Northern Iowa

Jennifer Anderson (Business Teaching) & Steve Yerkes (Wealth Management)
Jennifer Anderson and Steve Yerkes have rolled out a financial literacy curriculum being beta-tested this academic year in high schools across Iowa. Beginning Fall ‘20, Iowa high school graduates must earn a financial literacy credit that meets the Iowa Department of Education’s Financial Literacy standards. Steve began by converting an introductory financial planning course into a financial literacy course that meets those standards. Jennifer translated the course content into the daily lesson plans, assignments, tests, lecture material, and other ancillaries that would allow high school teachers to teach the course. A set of commercial quality videos were produced for each section of the course to draw student attention to the new skills they would develop. In addition, Steve and Jennifer offer professional development opportunities to high school teachers preparing to teach the course. And, for those high school students who take the course, they have the option, for a nominal fee, to take a test and earn 3 UNI credits for the course FIN 1040: Financial Skills for Smart Living. While helping high school teachers, Jennifer and Steve fully integrated UNIBusiness professionalism and readiness throughout the course, for the potential of revealing our brand to high school students across Iowa. For this innovative endeavor, we thank Jennifer and Steve.


Exceptional Impact Award

In an environment of increasing accountability, our external stakeholders are asking hard questions about the outcomes associated with our mission-driven activities. We need support from the State and students if we are to maintain high-quality inputs (human, financial, physical, etc.) that support our excellence. From this investment, we are expected to make a difference in business and society as well as in the global community of business schools and management educators. We must document that difference, that impact. Impact has a broad meaning because the execution of our mission -- education, scholarship, & service / outreach -- is broad. This year it was very difficult for the Leadership Team to narrow the list to a single person or single endeavor for the Exceptional Impact Award. So this year, we are so proud to highlight and celebrate the contributions of three faculty members.

Cathalene Bowler University of Northern Iowa

Cathalene (Cathi) Bowler (Accounting)
For many of us the U.S. tax code is a dreary set of complicated and confusing rules. For Dr. Cathalene Bowler, that tax code is the foundation of her teaching, research, and service. It is in the latter role that we are recognizing her impact on our students. Cathi has been actively engaged in the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program for many years helping students and families across the Cedar Valley. More recently, she has undertaken advising of our accounting students in the Deloitte FanTAXtic case competition. For the last two years, the UNIBusiness team has won the regional competition which requires besting 50 or more teams from the top accounting programs across the nation. This past year the team placed second in the nation, a performance that positively impacts the reputation of the Accounting department. Beyond trophies, Cathi’s work has saved students money. Certainly that is the impact of her participation in VITA. But more recently, she invested countless hours coordinating the University's adoption of Sprintax, a personal tax software designed for preparing U.S. tax returns for international students, and now available to UNI students for a nominal charge. This alone can save an international student hundreds of dollars in tax preparation costs annually. This award recognizes the exceptional impact of Cathi’s commitment to tax knowledge and student success.   

Exceptional Impact Award

Brett Olsen University of Northern Iowa

Brett Olsen (Finance)
Research has shown that student engagement in real world experiences, both inside and outside the classroom, significantly impacts their learning. We recognize Dr. Brett Olsen for the work he has done to make sure that students not only know the fundamentals of business valuation, but can use what they know. Two notable examples include his leadership on the Private Business Valuation Challenge and Succession Iowa. The Private Business Valuation Challenge is an international competition that offers a unique opportunity for students to assess the value of public and private companies. Our UNIBusiness students compete with renowned universities from across the world and rank highly, consistently out-performing teams from much larger universities. While cases are the foundation of this competition, Succession Iowa is real-world. The Succession Iowa program matches rural Iowa business owners looking to exit and qualified buyers who can successfully manage these businesses into the future with the goal of keeping those businesses in their communities. This program engages students in the business valuation of these SMEs through internships and consulting experiences, moving theory into practice. Dr. Olsen’s engagement ensures that students are performing at the highest levels. This initiative was recognized by AACSB as one of their 2020 Innovations that Inspire. Today, we recognize the broad impact that Dr. Olsen’s engagement in these initiatives has had on our students and the Iowa economy.

Exceptional Impact Award

Chris Schrage University of Northern Iowa

Chris Schrage (Marketing/Global Programs)
Our 2020 AACSB review team gave commendations to the College for our Cost Neutral / Fly Free internationalization strategy. That strategy has been instrumental in increasing the percentage of our graduating students who have had a significant international experience from 1 in 19 in AY 2008 to 1 in 4 in AY 2019. Chris Schrage has been a major driver in the implementation and success of that strategy since day one. Chris regularly leads at least two study abroad programs annually. She has been innovative in that work, experimenting with programs that bring together students from partner institutions to partner campuses, to short-term programs that explore the impact of the Panama Canal on the global supply chain, expanding the professional networks of our students and building their cultural intelligence. She has been a partner and leader in bringing three significant Business & International Education grants to the College. She regularly advises students participating in academic case competitions that require a global perspective. She manages both the Global Issues Forum and the John Deere Supply Chain Forum raising the global mindset of our students and bringing recognition to our supply chain management program. For her role in elevating our international footprint, we thank Chris Schrage.

Above and Beyond Award

Elena Dodge University of Northern Iowa

Elena Dodge
We often hear that it takes a village to raise a child. I know that it also takes a village to meet the sometimes conflicting expectations of our higher education stakeholders. Our success in meeting those expectations stems from those who are committed to the college and committed to excellence in all that they do. Dr. Elena Dodge is today recognized for her commitment and contributions to our collective success. Elena played a key role in both our written report and on-campus visit for our successful AACSB accreditation. She is an integral partner in supporting our assessment for the undergraduate and MBA programs. In her quiet but powerful way, she coordinated and supported the work of the five working groups engaged in assurance of learning. Due to her direct contributions, there were no questions from our AACSB reviewers we could not answer! She is an essential co-author of our new approach to assessment, seeking to simplify and streamline, as we attempt to meet the expectations of two stakeholders –AACSB and HLC. Elena exhibits creativity and practicality in her approach, both of which serve us well. I am very proud to recognize Dr. Elena Dodge and to thank her for going Above & Beyond in everything she does. 

University Outstanding Teaching Award for Pre-Tenure Faculty

Nick Bailey University of Northern Iowa

Nick Bailey (Management)
At the end of each semester I meet with the Presidents’ Council, a group of business student organization presidents who advise the dean. Since the second semester of Dr. Nick Bailey’s joining our faculty, one or more students on this council has praised his excellence in the classroom. More than one has said that the simulation he uses in his strategy class provides to them an understanding of how our 39 hour business core actually fits together. Every. Single. Semester. From a teaching perspective, Nick appears to have a pretty deep toolbox and is especially masterful at leading case discussions. In a kind, quiet, polite way, he challenges students, encouraging deeper thinking about the question at hand. When students aren't on track, he helps them to find their way back. Nick integrates his research into his teaching, especially in the international management class, giving students a glimpse into the broader academic world of faculty members. Nick is described by students as an enthusiastic and knowledgeable professor who is very approachable and cares about student learning and about them as a person. Dr. Nick Bailey is a true asset to this college and we are proud that he has been recognized with this University award.

Robert J. Waller Professor of Economics

Our previous dean, Farzad Moussavi, embarked on a strategy to increase the number of named positions in the College. He was instrumental in increasing those from the two when he began his tenure as dean, to twelve by the time he returned to faculty. I am extremely pleased to be able to announce a new professorship that honors the first dean of this business college, the Robert J. Waller Professor of Economics. It is fortuitous that this comes to us just as we begin our 40th year as a business college. What started as the School of Business, with an acronym that some outside the building believed fit us quite well, is today a mature and thriving College of Business Administration. I am pleased to announce that the inaugural holder of this new professorship is a faculty member who knew Dr. Waller quite well and is therefore the perfect person for determining how the new professorship and additional scholarship funds that Dr. Waller also bequeathed, will impact students and the Economics Department.

Ken McCormick University of Northern Iowa

Kenneth McCormick  (Economics)
Dr. Ken McCormick  has been teaching economics at UNI since 1982. Ken embodies the teacher-scholar that we aspire to be. Well respected across campus as an excellent teacher, Ken has been recognized with the Class of 1943 Teaching Award. His research includes a book, Veblen in Plain English: A Complete Introduction to Thorstein Veblen’s Economics, and over 30 peer-reviewed journal articles. He has also earned the Regent's Award for Faculty Excellence. Ken has devoted more than two decades to teaching economics majors how to write clearly and concisely through his Directed Research course, a passion that would be well-respected by Robert Waller. His is a strong and compelling voice of reason and pragmatism, most recently highly appreciated as a member of the committee redefining the university LAC. I am honored that Dr. McCormick  has agreed to be the first Robert J. Waller Professor of Economics.  

Robert & Margaret Bradford Chair in International Business

This is a perfect opportunity to share that our former dean, Dr. Farzad Moussavi, has made the decision to retire at the end of this academic year. It is perfect, because he would not have agreed to any celebration. And, in written form, I can publicly thank him without the embarrassment of a squeaky voice and tears in front of my colleagues! I cannot imagine the trajectory of my career without his friendship and guidance. As my department head, he supported my efforts inside and outside the classroom. As his associate dean, he was the mentor who elevated my appreciation for the nuances of leadership and the importance of understanding the wide range of perspectives that stakeholders bring to any difficult decision.

Farzad Moussavi University of Northern Iowa

Mary Connerley University of Northern Iowa

He was a master at protecting faculty and staff from political chaos outside of the business building. He always seemed to know the right time to bring those hard decisions back to the leadership team and then out to the entire college. For a group of faculty, now retired, who were instrumental in establishing the outstanding reputation of the accounting department but were disenfranchised by previous leadership who devalued their significant contributions, he helped heal those wounds. Under his leadership we advanced as a college and his legacy was apparent in our last AACSB review as we received commendations for initiatives that he started. He was instrumental in expanding the stakeholder voices engaged in strategic planning and establishing a process that will serve us well into the future. I am happy that as an emeritus faculty member he will continue to teach in our MBA program in China and help us manage the relationships with those key international partners. Please join me in thanking Farzad for all of these and other contributions and congratulating him as he looks to enjoy retirement.

With Dr. Moussavi’s retirement, and with very big shoes to fill, Dr. Mary Connerley has accepted the challenge to be the next Robert & Margaret Bradford Chair in International Business. Mary’s interest in international business is evidenced by a wide body of research. She has explored the transfer of knowledge for expatriates, gender differences in leadership competencies and expatriate performance, and the cross-cultural impact on privacy needs in the workforce. She also co-edited the Handbook on Well-Being of Working Women, soliciting chapters from authors representing 18 different countries. Her current research focuses on gender pay equity around the world. Mary has taught in our MBA program in Hong Kong and Shanghai and on our partner campuses Shanghai DianJi University, EAFIT University in Medellin, Colombia, Plekhanov Russian Academy of Economics in Moscow, Russia. Even more, Dr. Connerley enjoys leading and participating in study abroad opportunities. There she sees the growth of students as they learn about new cultures first hand, developing cultural intelligence, gaining appreciation for those cultures and taking both with them into their careers. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Mary Connerley.  


Leslie K. Wilson headshot

Leslie K. Wilson

Leslie K. Wilson is the Dean of UNIBusiness at the University of Northern Iowa. UNIBusiness is recognized by Princeton Review as one of the best business schools in the world and maintains accreditation from AACSB International, a status achieved by only the top 5% of business schools in the world. As Dean, she works with the College's stakeholders to establish the strategic direction and priorities of the College, manage the budget and seek new revenues.