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College Honors Ten Employees For Teaching, Research and Service

Nebraska Business Honors Faculty, Staff and Ph.D. Students at Celebration
College Honors Ten Employees For Teaching, Research and Service
Dean Kathy Farrell presented College of Business awards to 10 faculty, staff and Ph.D. students for their achievements during the 2023-24 academic year.

Ten faculty, staff and Ph.D. students at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business received recognition for their efforts driving discovery, creating opportunity and empowering students to lead the future of business during the 2023-24 academic year. Kathy Farrell, James Jr. and Susan Stuart Endowed Dean and professor of finance, announced the award winners and recognized three retiring faculty members at a celebration in Howard L. Hawks Hall in May.

“In conversations with our community partners, I get the opportunity to share the great things they’re doing. I take great pride in knowing our community makes things happen to promote research and discovery, facilitate learning and transformation, and foster connection and engagement. Each individual’s story reveals how we continue to fuel the change and lead the future of business like only Nebraska can,” she said. “Thank you, all, for everything you do to support our students, your departments, units and teams.”

Distinguished Service Award
Kim Smith.

Kimberly Smith, associate director of Communications, Marketing and External Relations, and '07 alum, received the Distinguished Service Award. This award honors a staff member who consistently shows outstanding job performance, provides service or support above and beyond the call of duty, exemplifies or inspires a teamwork attitude and contributes to our community with a commitment to excellence. Nominators noted how she is an integral part of effectively telling the college's stories about students and alumni while helping others.

“Recruiting, retaining and graduating future business leaders is at the forefront of her work. Countless times Kim led projects from different viewpoints because 'it will help our students better understand it this way' or 'it will really highlight the student’s accomplishments if it is written that way.' She pours thousands of hours into making sure students are seen, heard and recognized," her nominators said.

D'vee Buss Students First Award
Kevin Sueper.

Kevin Sueper, program coordinator and academic advisor in Business Advising and Student Engagement, and '09 & '13 alum, received the D’vee Buss Students First Award. This award, named for a retired assistant dean and Husker alum, honors a staff member who exemplifies a student-centered approach and makes unique or extraordinary efforts and commitment to the philosophy of “students first.”

As an academic advisor, his job includes helping keep business students on track and engaged throughout their academic journey, even when they encounter difficulties.

"His nominators describe him as reliable, trustworthy, responsible, caring and positive. He has helped families and students with academic struggles work to find solutions, even late into the evening sometimes, and he always offers a quality level of support accompanied by his contagious joy," Farrell said.

Faculty Service Award
Ozgur Araz.

Özgür Araz, Ron and Carol Cope professor of supply chain management and analytics, received the Faculty Service Award. Based on a record of sustained performance that significantly contributed to the college’s service mission, the award recognizes a faculty member who made a distinguished contribution through service to the university, college, department, community or profession.

Araz successfully established and led the department's Ph.D. program attracting and overseeing three students and managing numerous faculty evaluation cases for promotion and tenure while contributing to the development of the Ameritas Business Analytics Case Competition. He also represented the college on the university’s President’s Sustainability Council and served as a faculty fellow for the Nebraska Governance and Technology Center and the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute.  

"In addition to this service, he represents Nebraska Business as a strong voice on editorial boards for Decision Sciences, IISE Health Systems and professional journals. He has also actively organized sessions for conferences to advance his field," Farrell said.

Ph.D. Student Teaching Award

Diego Villalpando, Ph.D. candidate in management, received the Ph.D. Student Teaching Award, which goes to a graduate student with teaching responsibilities who excelled in making an impact in the classroom.

Students shared how he demonstrates a passion for teaching with genuine care and respect for them and an interactive teaching style. They also appreciate how he challenges the class to think critically.

“He understands the pressure and stress that students are under as he is also still one. He curated the syllabus, so we were not worried about his class at the end of the semester but had all the knowledge we needed,” one nominator said.   

Excellence in Teaching Award

Laura McLeod, assistant professor of practice in marketing, earned the Excellence in Teaching Award, which goes to a professor of practice, lecturer or adjunct faculty member who makes a positive impact on their students’ educational experience.

McLeod's 20-plus years of marketing and sales experience includes work for marketing agencies as well as large companies and smaller start-ups. Her cheerful, kind demeanor and welcoming attitude capture students’ attention.

As one nominator shared, “A good professor is someone knowledgeable and able to teach the subject effectively. A great professor makes students excited to learn and finds ways to make personal connections with students, encouraging everyone to grow and share their ideas.”

Online Graduate Programs Teaching Award

Silvana Trimi, associate professor of supply chain management and analytics, '96 & '01 Ph.D. alum, received this award that honors a faculty member who made the most positive impact on online graduate students’ educational experience. Online students vote for their favorite professor for the award.

Trimi's teaching includes data analytics, advanced information and communications technology for business operation and innovation, global information systems, enterprise information systems management, electronic business and data communications and networking. Her students commented on how she comprehensively taught a rapidly evolving subject and how much she invested in the learning process.

"Professor Trimi was engaged with the content in a way that helped further our understanding," one nominator said.

Distinguished Teaching Award

Erkut Sönmez, associate professor of supply chain management and analytics, received the Distinguished Teaching Award, which recognizes a tenured or tenure-track professor who makes the most positive impact on their students’ educational experience. He also will be honored with a College Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln later this fall.

Known as a student advocate, Sönmez's students shared that he continually strives to advise students on how to develop their professional aspects and compete in the market with a passion for supply chain.

“Dr. Sönmez lectures in a very engaging format. He connects textbook theories to real-world examples in a way that makes students want to be in class,” a nominator said.  

Ph.D. Student Research Award

Rebecca Jack, Ph.D. student in economics, received the Ph.D. Student Research Award for the student with the most impressive research record. As a third-year Ph.D. student, she has built a reputation among the top doctoral students in economics, including publishing two research papers in leading economic journals in 2023.

"The first paper was published in a peer-reviewed journal that receives 600-800 submissions per year and accepts only 3% of them. She presented her ongoing work at a conference in Washington and New Orleans. She has already achieved success publishing at the highest levels and continues to promote impactful scholarly work," Farrell said.   

Emerging Scholar Research Award

Shivam Gupta, assistant professor of supply chain management and analytics, received the Emerging Scholar Research Award, which recognizes a tenure-track assistant professor in the first three years of their career who makes an outstanding contribution to academic literature. Gupta's research focuses on procurement, supplier management and innovation management, and agricultural operations management. 

"He has published five articles in three refereed journals since 2021, including Operations Research, Management Science and Production and Operations Management. He also delivered more than seven presentations at conferences and annual meetings. Thank you for advancing our management research reputation," Farrell said.

Distinguished Research Award

Tom Kubick, Ellsworth L. Fulk Chair and professor of accountancy, '05, '08 & '11 Ph.D. alum, received the Distinguished Research Award for his notable research achievements. Kubick's research interests include finance accounting, incentives, governance and taxation.

His research has been published in top-tier academic journals such as The Accounting Review, Journal of Accounting and Economics, Management Science and Review of Accounting Studies, and is frequently featured at national conferences. Earlier this year, Forbes featured his work about executives and accounting-related problems.   

He served on editorial boards of Contemporary Accounting Research, Journal of Business Finance and Accounting, and Journal of International Accounting Research. Among Big Ten institutions in the BYU Research Productivity Rankings, Nebraska is No. 3 in managerial experimental and No. 4 in audit archival in the Big Ten and Kubick himself is ranked No. 6 in managerial archival and tax archival.

"Congratulations, Tom. Thank you for your dedication to research and helping establish Nebraska as a premier destination for accountants," Farrell said.

Upcoming Retirements From the College of Business

Longtime faculty members who are retiring this year also received recognition at the celebration, honoring their years of service to the college:

Donna Dudney.

Donna Dudney, associate professor of finance, and '91 & '97 Ph.D. alum, has served at the College of Business for 27 years, during which she helped establish distinctive programs including the Nebraska Business Honors Academy, Clifton Builders Program, and Teaching and Learning Center. Read her story.

Tammie Fischer.

Tammie Fischer, lecturer in economics, former director of the UNL Center for Economic Education, and '88, '91 & '00 Ph.D. alum, has served at the university for 32 years. She created and taught sections of ECON 211 and 212 for education majors, the first of its kind in the country. Its syllabi served as a model for the National Council on Economic Education. Involved with an NSF Economics Fellows grant, she taught economics master’s classes for educators, launched the In-School Savings Program in Lincoln and created the Economics Challenge for high school students, which has grown to become a popular statewide competition and a signature program of the Nebraska Council on Economic Education. She also received multiple college and university teaching awards.

Janet Near.

Janet Near, associate dean of faculty and research, Howard L. Hawks Chair in Business Ethics and Leadership and professor of management, served at the College of Business since 2016, helping elevate the accomplishments of faculty research in the college. Read her story.


To view past winners or nominate for the next awards, visit the Nebraska Business Recognitions webpage:

Published: May 14, 2024