Category Archives: Faculty

Entrepreneurship Professor Wins SEC Faculty Achievement Award

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. –The Southeastern Conference has announced that Carol Reeves, the Cecil & Gwendolyn Cupp Applied Professor in Entrepreneurship at the University of Arkansas, is the recipient of the university’s 2014 Faculty Achievement Award.

The award honors professors from SEC universities with outstanding records in teaching and scholarship who serve as role models for other faculty and students.

“The 2014 SEC Faculty Achievement Award winners are some of our nation’s most accomplished instructors, researchers and scholars,” said Jay Gogue, president of Auburn University and president of the SEC. “It is my great pleasure to preside over an intercollegiate athletics conference that not only recognizes their work, but strives to support it as well.”

SEC Faculty Achievement Award winners, one from each university, will receive a $5,000 honorarium and become his or her university’s nominee for the SEC Professor of the Year Award. The SEC Professor of the Year receives an additional $15,000 honorarium and will be recognized during the annual SEC Spring Banquet in May.

In addition to her faculty appointment in the Sam M. Walton College of Business, Reeves serves as associate vice provost for entrepreneurship at the University of Arkansas. In that role, Reeves promotes entrepreneurship and economic development in Northwest Arkansas and across the state. She works with faculty and students in all colleges at the University of Arkansas to encourage the start-up of new companies based on university research.

Under Reeves’ guidance, the university has fielded competitive graduate student teams at state, regional, national and international business plan competitions since 2002. During the past decade, students have won more than $2 million in cash at these competitions.

“We were thrilled that Carol Reeves was selected as the University of Arkansas’ SEC Faculty Achievement Award recipient,” said Sharon Gaber, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “Dr. Reeves is both well-known and respected for her outstanding work in developing nationally competitive collegiate business plan teams.”

Reeves advised or co-advised four of the six University of Arkansas teams who made the finals of the 2014 Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup Collegiate Business Competition. The University of Arkansas has won the graduate division at the Governor’s Cup 11 consecutive years, and placed the top three teams in the graduate division in three of the last four years.

Also, teams in the entrepreneurship program in Walton College have won 17 national business plan competitions, two times more than the closest competitor.

Reeves has been an exceptional teacher. In 2010, she received the Arkansas Alumni Association’s Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award for Teaching. She was also selected for the University of Arkansas Teaching Academy in 2011.

“I’m very honored and flattered by this award,” Reeves said. “This recognition would not have been possible without the tremendous efforts of my students and those from the community who mentor them.”

The SEC Faculty Achievement and SEC Professor of the Year Awards were created in 2012 to honor and celebrate, at the conference level, university faculty and their achievements and contributions in scholarship, research and service.

Selected by a committee of SEC provosts, the SEC Faculty Achievement Awards and the SEC Professor of the Year Award are part of SECU, the academic initiative of the conference, which sponsors, supports and promotes collaborative higher education programs and activities involving administrators, faculty and students at its 14 member universities.

Previous SEC Faculty Achievement winners at the University Arkansas are Elliott West (2012), Distinguished Professor of history in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, and Greg Salamo (2013), Distinguished Professor of physics, also in the Fulbright College.

To be eligible, a professor must be a teacher or scholar at an SEC university; have achieved the rank of full professor at an SEC university; have a record of extraordinary teaching; and have a record of scholarship that is recognized nationally or internationally.

EPIC Spotlight: Dr. Hyo-Jeong Kim

Some people are intimidated by analytical software. Dr. Hyo-Jeong Kim wants to help people become comfortable with it.

She’s starting with auditors. While many have traditionally used Excel as they explore trends in data, there are many other programs – some a bit complicated. Behind the scenes, Kim looks for the different complexities in the software. Once she finds those, she brings them to the forefront by matching the person’s understanding level to the appropriate training. “I like to help the novice, or beginner, to new technology,” she says.

Continue reading EPIC Spotlight: Dr. Hyo-Jeong Kim

EPIC Spotlight: Dr. Tim Yeager

Dr. Tim Yeager could have stayed focused on economics. He spent years in college, earning degrees in economics and even teaching the subject at universities on both the East and West coasts.

But when he took a job in the Bank Supervision Unit of the Federal Reserve Bank, he was about to get a crash course on banking.

“I walked in knowing very little about banking,” he says. “I tell people it’s where I got my second Ph.D.”

Now, bankers (and the media) across Arkansas seek Yeager’s opinions and knowledge of the banking industry.

As an associate professor in finance at the Sam M. Walton College of Business and the Arkansas Bankers Association Chair in Banking, Yeager teaches college students about the banking profession and updates and informs bankers through conferences and articles published through the Arkansas Bankers Association.

Yeager’s transition from economics professor to finance professor and banking expert may not have happened, in part, had he not been a bit homesick for his hometown of St. Louis. He taught economics at Ithaca College in New York and Humboldt State University in California – both far away from the Midwest where he and his wife were from. When the opportunity to work as a researcher for the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis presented itself, he seized it.

At his Federal Reserve Bank job, where he was an economist in Supervisory Policy Analysis, Yeager researched issues affecting community banks as well as apprise bank examiners to economic and banking conditions. As he worked his way up to assistant vice president at the Federal Reserve Bank, Yeager says he found he spent more time in meetings and less doing research. Though he taught evening classes at St. Louis University, he yearned to return to a campus full time.

That campus would be in Fayetteville, Ark. In 2006, Yeager was hired for the position he now holds. “The job description fit me like a glove,” he says.

Yeager says he was pleasantly surprised with Northwest Arkansas’ scenic outdoors and the collegial and friendly atmosphere at Walton College. Yeager says at many universities, faculty can be competitive and even hostile. “Here, it’s completely the opposite,” he says.

At Walton College, Yeager teaches introductory, advanced and graduate banking courses.

He says his research interests are wide and varied, but most recently he has been exploring the link between the banking sector and the macro economy. He has been published in several publications, including Journal of Banking and Finance; Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking; and Journal of Economics and Business. “I have learned a lot since I’ve gotten here,” he says. “My research has improved because I’m surrounded by bright and hard-working colleagues and students.”

In addition, each summer for the past three years, he takes students to Belize where they assist potential and existing small business owners by presenting business education seminars and offering microloans to the most promising businesses. For Yeager, the Belize program has been personally rewarding and enriching. “I feel like we make a difference, and each year, thankfully, has been better than the last,” he says.

Yeager says when he’s away from work, he likes to spend time with his wife, Dara, and their four children—two of whom are attending the University of Arkansas. He also enjoys spending time on Beaver Lake. “I ended up where I wanted to be, but the path to get here had many twists and turns,” Yeager says.

EPIC Spotlight: Dr. Scot Burton

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“It”s a tremendous place to find people who have interests that overlap with mine.”

Many products and advertisements are adorned with splashy designs, logos and striking visuals to attract consumers. Dr. Scot Burton believes packaging and advertising should also help people make informed decisions, whether those are the frozen dinners they buy or the hamburgers they get from a restaurant chain.

The Food and Drug Administration, other government agencies and product marketers often listen to what Burton has to say.

Since 1994, packaged food products have been required to have nutritional facts panels. But Burton says he would like the information broken down and summarized so it’s more visible and easier to understand. Many manufacturers have begun to show the levels of calories, fat, sodium and sugar content prominently placed on the front packaging. Others use rating methods, such as a stars or numerical values. “They’re designed to help consumers recognize the healthier food options at the retail shelf, but it is not yet clear which system is most effective,” says Burton, distinguished professor in marketing at the Sam M. Walton College of Business.

He is researching the various methods and providing them to the FDA, which is in the process of considering the standardization of front-of-package information for all food products, he says.

How restaurant chains can better provide nutritional information to their diners is also part of Burton’s research. He says he became interested in this many years ago after he read a carefully researched book detailing the actual amounts of fat, calories and other content in the appetizers, entrees and desserts at popular chain restaurants. Burton says he was surprised to learn that many of the large meals at chain restaurants contained up to three times the recommended daily intake of fat, saturated fat and sodium. While most people would view such meals as not very healthy, he speculated they were far unhealthier than most would expect.

He then discovered that fellow marketing professor Dr. Betsy Howlett was also interested in the healthfulness of restaurant foods. The two began collaborating, and their findings have been heavily cited as the federal government eyes requiring chains with 20 or more restaurants to provide calorie content on their menus. In response, some restaurants have already devised healthier menu options. “It seems to be encouraging the restaurant chains to think about the number of more healthful items, as well as the less healthful items, that they provide,” he says of pending regulations.

Then there are cigarettes. Having seen how smoking has negatively affected family and friends, Burton has been researching ways for warnings on cigarette packages to make stronger impressions on current smokers. Some of this involves the addition of visually graphic images reflecting the repercussions of long-term smoking.

He’s also embarking on a project that involves the consumer behavior of those who shop using their smartphones. Burton says he will collaborate with faculty from both Walton College’s information systems and supply chain management departments. He says collaborating with other excellent researchers is one of the many advantages of working at Walton College. “It’s a tremendous place to find people who have interests that overlap with mine,” he says.

The classroom also benefits from his findings. Burton says early in the semester, he talks to his undergraduate and M.B.A. classes about food labeling, for example, and he often enlists Ph.D. students to help design, collect and analyze data from experiments conducted in the Walton College’s Behavioral Business Research Lab.

Burton’s work has appeared in many publications, including the Journal of Marketing, Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, Journal of Retailing, American Journal of Public Health and others.

He says researching and teaching at the University of Arkansas for the past 20 years has enabled him to pursue opportunities that he wouldn’t have been able to find elsewhere. “I feel like I’ve been able to grow with the Walton College,” Burton says.

EPIC Spotlight: Nina Gupta

NinaGupta “My firm belief is that if you’re doing research, you are a better classroom teacher than if you’re not.”

The idea was to come to the United States, earn her doctorate and return to her homeland of India.

Sometimes things don’t work out as planned.

Dr. Nina Gupta, a Department of Management distinguished professor, is now in her 28th year at the Sam M. Walton College of Business. The University of Arkansas is a far cry from her native Allahabad, India, where she was one of five children among a “whole family of professors,” as she puts it. A professor herself, Gupta deviated from the family concentration of literature and veered toward organizational psychology instead. “This was sort of my breaking away,” she says.

There was also her desire to travel. While she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Allahabad, her education took her to the University of Michigan, where she earned her doctorate. She had planned to return to India, but a fellow organizational psychology student named Doug Jenkins changed everything. The two married and both became management professors at the Walton College. Their marriage produced a son, Samir, who is now grown. Jenkins passed away in 1996.

Gupta says after she and her husband came to the University of Arkansas in 1984, they saw the management department evolve into a strong research center. “My firm belief is that if you’re doing research, you are a better classroom teacher than if you’re not,” she says. “You’ve got more experiences and knowledge you can bring.”

Though her degrees are in psychology, she says she shied away from clinical psychology in favor of workplace issues, which she continues to research. She says she is fascinated by pay in the workplace and how it relates to one’s status in society.

“I think pay is probably the most important thing that happens to people at work,” she says.

Her primary focus is on how pay motivates employees in the workplace. “It’s very interesting to look at, and what I find is there are a lot of discrepancies in what a company says and what is really going on,” she says. “It’s simply not the amount of pay, but it’s how it’s done.”

Her research has been published in many publications, including Journal of Applied Psychology and Academy of Management Journal. The courses she teaches reflects her research. They include Organizational Rewards and Compensation and graduate courses in management.

While there have been female professors at Walton College through the decades, Gupta says she is the first regular tenure-track female professor at the business school. “I was the first faculty member to have a baby,” she adds.

Management faculty now consists of several women, including Gupta, who has been named to the John H. Tyson Chair of Management.

Outside of work, Gupta says she usually keeps to herself. But there’s always one thing she tries to do each day:

“I go into withdrawal if I don’t do my daily New York Times crossword puzzle,” she says.

EPIC Spotlight: Molly Rapert

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“It’s exciting to see how everyone is pushing forward.”

A pendant in the shape of Africa hangs from a chain around Dr. Molly Rapert’s neck. For Rapert, it’s more than just a piece of jewelry. It symbolizes a country within Africa’s borders.

Ethiopia.

That was where she, and her husband, Jimmy, traveled in 2001 to pick up their adopted daughter, Marie, who was abandoned by her biological mother. The visit not only changed Rapert’s worldview, it also changed the way she taught.

Rapert, an associate professor in marketing at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, says she prepared for the journey in a scholarly manner by poring over statistical information, literacy rates and other government-issued demographics.

They arrived at night, and the country looked “sparkling,” Rapert recalls. The exhilaration didn’t last long.

“When we got up the next morning, you could smell Ethiopia and see the poverty,” she says. “Everything changed.”

Young boys were wearing dresses because they were the only things available in the local donation box. Very few wore shoes. Disease was rampant. Sanitary drinking water was seldom accessible. “That, I wasn’t prepared for,” Rapert says.

When she returned to teach at the University of Arkansas, she quit using textbooks. Instead, her required reading reflects how human conditions affect the business world.

“I think that’s why my students connect with the class,” she says.

She also created a class called The Global Consumer, which she teaches each summer as a University of Arkansas representative with the Consortium Institute of Management and Business Analysis (CIMBA) study-abroad program in Italy.

As an adviser with Walton Honors Program, she says she strives to provide a positive, yet challenging, experience to her students, who were eligible to attend any school on a scholarship, yet chose Walton College.

For Rapert, it provides a variety in the curricula where she works on topics she would otherwise never get to explore. “My approach is simply I provide the framework,“ she says.

The topics are left only to the students’ imaginations and can range from how people shop in Spain to the carbon footprint of plastic bags retailers use.

Rapert says that the most recent calculations indicate that 67 percent of her thesis students receive grant funding, which includes State Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF), and is the highest percentage of students from a Walton College professor.

“It’s exciting to see how everyone is pushing forward,” she says.

Her recent accolades include being the first Walton College faculty chosen for the Honors College Distinguished Faculty Award last fall and, this spring, receiving the Sam M. Walton College’s Excellence in Teaching Award. The Marketing Department also recently received the Gold Medal Department Award, which goes to the department that’s most active in student awards. (Rapert was the only Walton College professor this year to have more than one student receiving SURF grants.) The Arkansas Alumni Association also bestowed Rapert the 2012 Charles and Nadine Baum Faculty Teaching Award.

Rapert grew up in Tulsa, Okla., earning her bachelor’s degree in marketing and master’s in business administration at the University of Arkansas before moving to Harrisonburg, Va., to teach statistics at James Madison University. She earned her doctorate at Memphis State University.

When a teaching position opened at University of Arkansas, Rapert says she couldn’t resist. She applied and got the job.

She shared office space with professors who once lectured her classes, graded her papers and gave her tests.

“The first year I was here, it was awkward,” she says. “I was too aware of having been their student.”

Now, she says those insecurities are long gone.

In 1994, she married her husband, Jimmy, whom she dated after moving back to Fayetteville. In addition to Marie, they have three sons: Jase, Luke and Jonah.

And, for the past 20 years, there’s also her Walton College family.

“I get up every morning telling people I have the world’s greatest job,” she says.

EPIC Spotlight: Dr. Linda Myers

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“We have a strong family environment here.
You feel supported and valued.”

Ask Dr. Linda Myers what her hobbies are, and she is hard pressed to say anything other than research.

There are always issues that no one has looked into. There’s also existing data that can be studied from a different angle. And this keeps research interesting for Myers. “We almost never know what the answer’s going to be, so that’s kind of cool,” says Myers, an accounting professor at the Sam M. Walton College of Business

It’s what she loves. And it shows.

#Myers was recognized for her research with a 2013 Walton College Faculty Research Award at the University of Arkansas. Most of her work explores a common theme: the effects or potential effects of proposed regulations.

For example, firms in the United States prepare and present their financial statements following U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (or GAAP). U.S. regulators, however, are considering adopting or converging to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), which are used in many other countries. Myers’ co-authored research, published in the Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, sheds light on differences in the quality of accounting information under these standards.

Other academic publications that feature her research include The Accounting Review, Journal of Accounting and Economics, Journal of Accounting Research, Contemporary Accounting Research and Review of Accounting Studies, among others. In 2009, she won the best paper award from the American Accounting Association’s Financial Accounting and Reporting Section. Her work has also been written up in The Economist and the New York Times.

Her research on the Sarbanes-Oxley Act passed by Congress in 2002 to help protect investors from fraudulent accounting practices by corporations has been cited by the chief accountant of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as well as in a joint letter to the House Committee on Financial Services from the CFA Institute, Center for Audit Quality and the Council of Institutional Investors. These, and other governing bodies, have cited the academic research she and her co-authors provide because, Myers explains, they trust that the information is accurate and unbiased. In addition, Myers periodically interacts with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, a nonprofit corporation established by Congress to oversee the audits of public companies.

#Myers is currently researching issues related to mandatory auditor rotation, which would require public companies to periodically switch audit firms. Although rotating auditing firms may prevent some problems that can occur when auditors who have long-term relationships with their clients become less independent, her research generally shows that new rotated auditing firms can overlook critical information and increase audit failures.

Myers says her teaching, which involves master’s- and Ph.D.-level courses, is an extension of her research process. She says that she especially enjoys sharing important research findings with her master’s students, and many of these students decide to pursue doctoral degrees. In addition, Myers often collaborates with current and past Ph.D. students. “Our Ph.D. students are incredibly research active,” she says.

In addition, Myers says she enjoys working with the college’s junior faculty. She describes the accounting department as a close-knit group where many put others ahead of themselves. “We have a strong family environment here,” she says. “You feel supported and valued.”

In Myers’ particular case, some of the department is family. Her husband, Dr. James Myers, is also an accounting professor at Walton College. They moved to Fayetteville with their two children from Texas A&M University in 2008 and are enjoying life at the University of Arkansas, she says.