Category Archives: Faculty

EPIC Spotlight: Dr. Katie Kelting

KatieKelting
“The resources for the lab here are amazing.”

Dr. Katie Kelting had just graduated from high school and was getting a jumpstart on her college career as she sat in orientation, waiting to enroll in summer school. When she was asked to pick a major, she deferred the matter to her father, the chief financial officer for a bank.

“He said, ‘I think business is good,’” she recalls.

She never looked back.

Through the course of her undergraduate career, she took the requisite business classes. But one called Principles of Marketing hit home with her.

“I loved learning about all of the ‘behind the scenes’ strategies that marketers use to understand and attract consumers,” she says.

Inspired, she asked her professor if she could be his teaching assistant the next semester. As she applied what she was learning to the real world, she became captivated by the celebrities who endorse products on television and magazines. As a sports fan, athletes caught her attention the most. Her interest became so strong, it was the topic of both her honors and graduate theses while attending school at the University of Florida, she says.

“Celebrities are not in a box,” she says. “They’re real people doing real things.”

With the explosion of reality television and social media, Kelting says consumers are more celebrity-obsessed than ever, and they’re watching them closely. So is she.

“Celebrities have more meanings,” she says. “We’re getting to know celebrities’ professional and personal lives more.”

One celebrity she’s very familiar with is former NBA basketball player Michael Jordan, whose endorsements include Gatorade, Nike and Hanes. Those products, she says, are a good fit for him – ones that people easily associate with sports. But when golfer Tiger Woods endorsed Buick in the early 2000s, the public didn’t embrace the message; they associated him more with high-end luxury cars. Some, she says, are just strange, like when rap musician 50 Cent endorsed Vitamin Water.

After earning her doctorate from Indiana University in 2011, Kelting is starting her first academic year as a marketing assistant professor at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, where she teaches Introduction to Marketing Strategy. She says one of the things that lured her to the University of Arkansas was the research facilities at the college, which she says are at an “elite level.”

“The resources for the lab here are amazing,” she says.

The faculty and staff also impressed her, she says.

“I feel I’m the most successful when I’m surrounded by nice people who are smart and will challenge me,” she says.
In addition to celebrity advertising, Kelting says she also researches private-label branding. “Retailers are introducing more and more private-labels into their stores,” she says. Kelting says she’s exploring how the presence of a private-label in a category affects consumer purchases.

Away from work, Kelting spends time with her husband, Bobby, a physical education teacher and coach in Rogers. She says they spend every spring break with their family and some close friends snow skiing in Colorado. She also likes to exercise, including running.

Naturally, spare time also means watching sports on television. And paying attention to the commercials.
“I’m a Gator fan, so I love Tim Tebow,” she says. “He makes a really unique celebrity endorser.”

EPIC Spotlight: Dr. Karen Boston

KarenBoston
“I travel a lot, and I’m always happy to come back to Arkansas.”

At the Sam M. Walton College of Business, Karen Boston oversees the undergraduate programs office so students get the most out of their college experience.

She’s also an advocate to the community at large.

Boston, assistant dean for Undergraduate Programs, is chairwoman of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Not only that, of the 101 who have chaired the board since 1889, she is only the fourth woman to serve the position. And the youngest.

She’s busy tending to many things, whether it’s attending ribbon cuttings for new member investors, meeting with city and community leaders or discussing the ever-growing trail system that will someday connect several cities in Northwest Arkansas. Fayetteville, with its low crime rate, has plenty that’s worth promoting, she says.

“I think we have all the basic needs and quality of life you can want,” she says.

Boston says she envisions the creation of leadership programs that involve other chambers of commerce throughout the region, including Benton County and Fort Smith. She’s also helping implement a similar program in elementary schools called The Leader in Me, where students learn concepts created by Stephen Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”

As a representative of Walton College, she says she hopes to help the university bridge partnerships with businesses as well as enhance economic development.

She has help from others. Mark Zweig, an executive in residence for the Department of Management at the Walton College and Terry Martin, Associate Dean in the College of Engineering serve on the board, and Jayshica Amargos, an affiliate with the ALPFA Institute, is an ex-officio, sharing that title with University of Arkansas Chancellor G. David Gearhart.

Being assistant dean and the parent of a 9-year-old son, in addition to her Chamber of Commerce duties, does present its challenges, she says.

“I have a busy job as it is, and I want to do a good job,” Boston says. “I want to represent the chamber well.”

As for her love for Fayetteville, call her a convert. Boston grew up in Spring, Texas, located about 20 miles north of downtown Houston. When it came time for college, however, she enrolled at the University of Arkansas, where she earned both her bachelor and master degrees and a doctorate.

She says the plan was always to return back to the Houston area following graduation, but when her family left the state, Texas didn’t seem like home anymore.

“I certainly had intentions of going back to Texas,” she says. “But I really enjoyed Fayetteville, the size of Fayetteville, the demographics. … I love the University of Arkansas.”

Boston stayed with the university. She began working on campus in 1993, the year she earned her bachelor’s degree, she says. Three years later, she came to Walton College as an academic advisor and was named assistant dean in 2006. By then, she was a long-term resident of Fayetteville. It became home.

In 2006, she was accepted in the chamber’s Leadership Fayetteville program, which trains people to become strong leaders and volunteers in the community. From there, her involvement kept building, including serving as chair of the Leadership Fayetteville committee in 2009, graduating from Class II of Leadership Arkansas in 2008, and serving as the Volunteer Coordinator for Bikes, Blues and BBQ in 2008 and 2009. These leadership roles culminated with her serving this year’s chair position – one that continuously reminds her of all the advantages of living in the area.

“I travel a lot, and I’m always happy to come back to Arkansas,” Boston says.

EPIC Spotlight: Dr. Joanna T. Campbell

SONY DSC

“Everyone in the whole college has been really friendly and helpful.”

To break the ice with people she has just met, Joanna Campbell sometimes gives them one of the many stickers she keeps in her desk. Each bears the name of her hometown, Olsztyn, and features a coat of arms with an image of St. Jacob the Elder, protector of the Polish city.

Olsztyn, located about three hours north of Warsaw, is the home of Cathedral Basilica of St. Jacob, built in the 14th century. The castle located in the Old Town can claim noted astronomer and mathematician Nicolaus Copernicus as one of its past residents. It’s a piece of her past she likes to share as she transitions to her new role as an assistant professor in the Department of Management at the Sam M. Walton College of Business. “Everyone in the whole college has been really friendly and helpful,” she says.

Campbell grew up learning English, having chosen it as her second language — a requirement in Polish schools. She left her native country after high school graduation to attend college at Arizona State University.

Like many undergraduates, she dabbled with different courses before settling on two majors – finance and economics – and earned degrees in both. She says she worked in an office job for a couple of years, but it wasn’t for her. “I really missed academia,” she says.

She was accepted in the management doctoral program at the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University and graduated this past spring.

Campbell, who joined the management department in July, is spending the fall semester on campus devoted solely to her research. Her interests include corporate governance, top managers, stakeholder management and innovation. Campbell’s research has been published in Strategic Management Journal and Journal of International Business Studies. She says she is excited when her research findings can benefit the real world.

For example, in a co-authored paper forthcoming in Strategic Management Journal, she and her colleagues examined the effects a new rule introduced by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2010 that would allow certain shareholders to nominate directors to a company’s board. The rule was challenged in court, and one of the arguments used was that there was insufficient evidence the rule would improve shareholder value. “Our findings consistently show that the rule benefits shareholders, especially for firms with lower board independence or greater CEO control,” she says, adding that she hopes to share her findings with the SEC.

Then, in the spring, she will bring her knowledge to the classroom when she begins teaching the Business Strategy course.

This knowledge is enhanced by her husband, Colin Campbell, who is a finance professor at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She says commuting to be with each other has been par for the course – ever since he graduated before her and moved away to accept a job, while she remained to finish her doctorate at Texas A&M. Still, they manage to spend weekends, summers and Christmas breaks together, which may include running and playing tennis at Wilson Park in Fayetteville.

Sometimes, they even collaborate on research. “We both agree we have the best jobs in the world,” she says.

EPIC Spotlight: Dr. Robin L. Soster

RobinSoster

Robin Soster is getting used to the ribbing when people step inside her office. On the wall is a Gamecocks banner from her alma mater, the University of South Carolina.

“That’s probably my favorite thing: when people come in my office and ask me where I’m from,” she says.

Newly transplanted from South Carolina, where she has spent most of her life, the Department of Marketing assistant professor says she’s already warming up to the Gamecocks’ rival, the Arkansas Razorbacks. Also on her office wall is one of many famous hog hats worn by diehard Arkansas sports fans. Because both the Gamecocks and Razorbacks are Southeast Conference teams, she says this helps her feel like she’s not so far from her hometown. In fact, until her job interview at the University of Arkansas, she had never stepped foot in the Natural State.

There have been Arkansas connections, however. Midway through graduate school at the University of South Carolina while pursuing her marketing MBA, she found herself working for Gamecocks football Coach Lou Holtz, who once coached the Razorbacks. Through her alma mater’s FABER Entrepreneurship Center, she helped design the team’s promotional hats and T-shirts.

Soster, who teaches consumer behavior, says her academic journey into marketing stemmed from a question she asks herself when she goes shopping: Why am I buying this? Though she earned bachelor of science degrees in both management science and economics, she says the behavioral aspect intrigued her. “Marketing was just the natural fit for me,” she says.

Her ability to “practice” consumer behavior was one of the many aspects that attracted her to Northwest Arkansas. Up the road in Benton County are plenty of shopping centers and stores. She says her husband, Eric Soster, and three children love the “cool” and “funky” side of Fayetteville and get out and enjoy the Ozarks as much as possible.

Soster’s journey to academia was a winding one. Before deciding to go back to the University of South Carolina to pursue her Ph.D., she was a marketing and financial analyst for a private equity firm, worked as a computer programmer and even toyed with becoming a high school teacher until she had the opportunity to teach an undergraduate course at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C. Once “bitten by the teaching bug,” she decided to go back to school, completing her degree in 2011.

As one the newest faces at Sam M. Walton College of Business, Soster says she hopes she can leave a lasting impression with her consumer behavior students. She says she challenges them to make rational decisions in the marketplace and to be the kind of managers that enable other consumers to do so as well. She says she tries to convey this message through humor (on her non-teaching days, she can be found in her office wearing a Mickey Mouse T-shirt) and assigning her students books business professionals are reading.

“People like seeing how irrational we humans can be,” she says. “We do not necessarily think like economists!”

EPIC Spotlight: Dr. Gary Peters

GaryPeters

Growing up in Arkansas, Dr. Gary Peters loved the outdoors. Fishing. Hunting. It was all good. As an undergraduate enrolled at a community college, he thought he could channel his passion by majoring in biology with the idea of someday working in wildlife management. When he took a job at a local sporting goods store, however, that all changed. “I really got more interested in running a business instead of just working at one,” he says.

He switched his degree to business, although he did not see himself becoming an accounting major.

“I was good at it but … let’s just say I didn’t have a good idea of what accountants really do,” he says. In fact at one point he thought, “I’ll never be an accounting major.”

Never say never.

He took his business interests to Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, where he earned his bachelor’s degree. It was there his professors showed him the beauty of accounting: it had more to do with decision-making. “They taught me accounting information is the common denominator in every business. Everyone needs it to make good business decisions. It applies to every part of a business.”

“Well now I can use these skills to make a difference inside the company,” he told himself then.

He graduated, became a certified public accountant and went to work in Little Rock. All the while, he had a desire to learn more about the profession. He left his home state and pursued a master’s degree at the University of Missouri followed by a doctorate at the University of Oregon. He began teaching at the University of Georgia. In 2003 the University of Arkansas called.

As an associate professor in accounting at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, he serves as director for the Master of Accounting (MAcc) and the new Integrated Masters of Accountancy (IMAcc) programs. The IMAcc was launched to allow students to begin the program their senior year and complete it by the end of their fifth. Peters says his goals for these programs is more than making students ready for their first job, but also for future promotions when students are competing with co-workers who very likely have graduate degrees from other universities. “In accounting, the master’s degree is important when starting a career, but it is even more important when advancing in your career.” As Peters sends his students on their way, he also offers this advice: “Always be looking for opportunities at work, that’s when you make a difference, that’s when you will go great places that you would not have predicted.”

Peters’ work opportunities are his research, which focuses on audit committees and internal auditors and how they can add value to companies. He says their knowledge can aid companies and their shareholders in making sound decisions. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including Contemporary Accounting Research, MIS Quarterly and The Accounting Review. In 2009, Peters was named to the Doris M. Cook Chair of Accounting.

As for the outdoors, Peters says he still has a passion for hunting and fishing. This time with the addition of his wife, Shannon, and their four children. “We love the Ozarks,” he says. “We’ve lived in some great places, but there is something special about Fayetteville.”

EPIC Spotlight: Dr. Anníbal Camara Sodero

SONY DSC

When Dr. Anníbal Camara Sodero learned the University of Arkansas had created a Department of Supply Chain Management, he was eager to get on board. He knows how exciting it is to be part of something that has just started, and he realized a dream when he joined the department at the Sam M. Walton College of Business in January 2013.

It was a no brainer: an excellent job, at a wonderful institution, in the perfect location!

It was an achievement that tops all the other major accomplishments in his career, he says.

Sodero already knows success. In his late teens, he used knowledge gained from his bachelor’s degree in computer sciences at Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais to start a business in a small studio in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. If something needed to be done, he and his partner would roll up their sleeves and take care of it themselves. “At the beginning, we were washing toilets,” he says.

Eventually, Ad Hoc Informática took off and became the market leader in software and consulting services for third-party logistics providers. “The industry was underserved, so we saw this niche,” he says.

In 2005, Sodero sold the company to Brazil’s giant GlobalWeb Data Services Corp. By then, his life had changed considerably. He followed his wife, Dr. Anna Goussevskaia (who recently began teaching at the Walton College as well), to England where she was working toward a Ph.D. in management at Warwick University. While there, he earned a master’s degree in supply chain management. He says he felt a need to grasp the underlying theories he encountered during his more than 10 years at Ad Hoc.

After a brief return to Brazil, Goussevskaia persuaded Sodero, a son of educators himself, to follow his vocation. He enrolled in the Ph.D. program in supply chain management at Arizona State University. The couple moved to Tempe, and his wife became a faculty member at the university’s management department.

Before graduation, Sodero learned of an assistant professorship opening at the University of Arkansas’ supply chain management department. It became his top choice. For starters, many of the faculty’s research streams were aligned with his interests, which are centered on multichannel retailing and the use of social media in supply chains. The collegiate atmosphere of the new department at the Walton College offered unique opportunities of collaboration and cooperation with experts in the discipline. Also, Sodero says he valued that both supply chain management and RFID research centers bridge the relationship between academia and practice.

When he was invited for a campus visit, he says he immediately fell in love with the Northwest Arkansas people and the Ozarks. So, when he received a job offer, he did not hesitate to accept it. “It was a no brainer: an excellent job, at a wonderful institution, in the perfect location!” he says.

Sodero says he is glad to have an opportunity to teach and conduct research at the Walton College. “You can see the passion and vision to create and deliver programs in which you can give back to the community at large,” he says. “I love my students, I love my job, and it is great to give back to the local community.”

In his spare time, Sodero likes to cook. His specialty is chicken tikka massala, a dish he learned to prepare while living in England. He says he and Goussevskaia are eager to explore the outdoors and attend concerts at the Walton Arts Center.

And he wants to start a new hobby. “I know how big fishing is in the region,” Sodero says. “I just want to become a fisherman like many locals.”

EPIC Spotlight: Chris Hofer

SONY DSC
“I really enjoy working and spending time with every one of my colleagues.”

That little container of yogurt on the supermarkets’ refrigerated shelves has more of a story than one would think. In fact, it’s a story that Christian Hofer, associate professor in the Department of Supply Chain Management at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, likes to share for those needing a little initiation to how the supply chain works – and one many take for granted when they’re shopping for groceries.

Take the plastic used to make the yogurt container, for example. Or the aluminum that was mined and processed to make its seal. And the sugar and fruit needed for flavoring. Somewhere, on a dairy farm, cows are providing the milk to make the yogurt. All can come from different parts of the globe before they converge at a factory, where the elements are combined, packaged and then shipped to distribution centers and, ultimately, grocery stores. “So, collectively, all these ingredients may travel thousands of miles,” Hofer says.

“And amazingly, when you want to buy the yogurt, it’s actually there, waiting for you on the shelf,” he says.

But if there is just one mishap in the entire supply chain, chances are the item will never make it to the kitchen table. “And if the supply chain didn’t function so smoothly and efficiently, the yogurt cup wouldn’t cost 40 cents, it might cost four dollars,” he says.

When Hofer sees electronic or textile products while shopping, he says he cannot help but think about how the costs of getting them there may well be higher than the products’ material value.

Hence, supply chain management is not only a critical business activity, but something that also affects consumers in their everyday lives. It’s a world that continues to fascinate Hofer. His research interests include topics such as lean inventory management. He says while many may think that holding inventory is something bad, having too little inventory can be equally as bad. Hofer and his co-author Cuneyt Eroglu, a former University of Arkansas professor, developed the Empirical Leanness Indicator, which enables firms to assess how lean they are compared to their competitors of comparable size within a given industry. Their paper, “Lean, Leaner, Too Lean? The Inventory-Performance Link Revisited,” was a finalist for the 2011 Journal of Operations Management Best Paper award.

Hofer brings this and other related concepts into the Executive MBA classes he teaches. The students in these classes are working professionals. Many of those students have successfully implemented for their companies what they learned in class. “This not only creates immediate value for our students and their employers,” Hofer says, “but it also enhances the reputation of the Walton College and the University of Arkansas.”

Hofer, a native of Germany, says he is also fascinated by the “behind the scenes” competition that takes place in the corporate world, something consumers seldom see.

“We typically think of firms competing in terms of product features and prices,” Hofer says. “But firms also compete by innovating and imitating other firms’ supply chain practices in areas such as sourcing and manufacturing.”

Hofer has studied these competitive dynamics and co-authored a paper on the subject, “The Competitive Determinants of a Firm’s Environmental Management Activities: Evidence from U.S. Manufacturing Industries,” which was published in the Journal of Operations Management.

When he gets a new research idea, he has a team of colleagues to brainstorm and collaborate with at the Walton College. “I think of it as our happy little bubble,” he says.

One of those people in his bubble is his wife, Adriana Rossiter Hofer, an assistant professor in the Department of Supply Chain Management.

“We’re so lucky to work here,” Hofer says. “It sounds cheesy, but I really enjoy working and spending time with every one of my colleagues.”

EPIC Spotlight: Cary Deck

CaryDeck

“Everyone’s an economist, some are just formally trained.”

In Cary Deck’s world, everything is economics, but as he points out, “Everyone’s an economist,” he says. “Some are just formally trained.”

Deck is formally trained in experimental economics. As a professor with the Department of Economics at Sam M. Walton College of Business, Deck studies how people interact by presenting students with different scenarios and seeing how economic models hold up when subjected to actual human behavior. He also directs the Walton College’s state-of-the-art Behavioral Business Research Lab, an interdisciplinary facility where researchers can study human behavior and decision-making. For example, students may be in the role of stock traders experiencing price bubbles or may play the role of firms competing in a patent race.

Deck, who recognizes the complexity of the world we live in, says the behavioral aspect of economics particularly fascinates him. “To me, it’s putting the science in economics,” he says.

“You’re creating a marketplace, so you get full information on how buyers and sellers interact and what makes those interactions change,” Deck says. In a recent study he considered how a retailer’s ability to identify what products a shopper places in her cart might impact the coupons she might receive on her phone as she goes down the next aisle.

He says he teaches his students to understand how markets work and how incentives influence people and affect outcomes. If seeing his passion for laboratory-based research gets them excited about economics, even better, Deck says. “When you see students realize how much we still have to learn about economics, and you can give them a toolbox to solve some of those problems, that’s always rewarding,” he says.

With a strength in mathematics, Deck says he knew as an undergraduate he wanted to be an economist. He says he also knew that most economic jobs require someone with a graduate degree so he went to the University of Wisconsin for a master’s degree. His interest in experimental economics research, however, was ignited when he was a graduate student at the University of Arizona, where he earned his doctorate degree under Nobel prize winner Vernon Smith, who pioneered the field of experimental economics.

Deck and his family came to the University of Arkansas in 2001. Though he says they fell in love with both the geography and culture of Northwest Arkansas – they enjoy the outdoors as much as possible – it was the university’s behavioral lab and the enthusiasm surrounding it that made this the natural move for them. “We have the best behavioral lab facility in the world,” he says.

While in Wisconsin, he met another economics graduate student who is a familiar face at Walton College: Kathy Deck, the director of the Walton College’s Center for Business and Economic Research, who is also his wife. Economics drew them together and they consider talking about maximizing “gross family product” a completely normal thing to do. The couple has a son, Josh, who has had a “supply and demand” poster in his room since his infancy. “Understanding economics is important for everyone. He is just lucky enough to have two trained economists living in the same house.”