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August 24, 2021

College of Business Promotes Eight Faculty

Research, Teaching and Service Shine Through Advancements
College of Business Promotes Eight Faculty
Eight faculty at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business earned promotions this year, which included (left to right) Heather Clemens, Dr. Jimmy Downes, Chad Mardesen, Jina Morris, Dr. Majid Nabavi, Dr. Amit Saini, Dr. S. Sajeesh and Dr. Erkut Sönmez. These promotions come from a commitment to academia and their achievements in research, teaching and service at the college.

Eight faculty at the College of Business earned promotions this summer and fall. These promotions for University of Nebraska–Lincoln faculty went into effect August 1.

“We continue to reap the benefits of our outstanding hiring practices over the last few years as we celebrate with our faculty who have earned promotions in the College of Business. Through their strong work ethic, commitment to transformational teaching and impactful research, our recently promoted faculty continue to lead the future of business education. They help solidify our Nebraska brand through the high quality of their work and their engagement with our Nebraska Business community,” said Dr. Kathy Farrell, James Jr. and Susan Stuart Endowed Dean of the College of Business.

For Dr. Amit Saini, his promotion to full professor of marketing comes after nearly 20 years of research, teaching and service at the college. Some memorable moments for Saini include mentoring his own Ph.D. students and teaching in the Nebraska Business Honors Academy.

“Every Honors Academy cohort class is a transformational experience. The ‘digital generation’ is so clued-in and resourceful. It is a privilege to teach in the academy,” said Saini, whose teaching led to several awards, including the College of Business Distinguished Teaching Award and the Friends and Family Award (formerly the Parents' Recognition Award) from the UNL Parents Association and UNL Teaching Council.

Featured in several leading academic journals such as the Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research and others, Saini’s research also earned him several awards, including the College of Business Best Research Paper Award and the Department of Marketing Research Award. One impactful research paper Saini mentioned included his 2010 paper on “B2B Electronic Markets” published in the Journal of Marketing, which ended up being nominated for the Harold H. Maynard Award as the journal's best paper that year.

“After two decades, I still can’t believe we are paid to read, write and lecture on the things we care about. Goals are important, but my advice to others is to enjoy the journey,” he said.

As a full professor, he plans to take more risks in his research interests and pick projects that are meaningful to him.

“It takes a village and I am grateful to have found great mentors, supportive colleagues, motivated co-authors and doctoral students along the way. Every single connection mattered,” Saini said.

Additionally, three faculty were promoted to associate professor and granted tenure and four faculty were promoted to associate professor of practice.

Promoted to Associate Professor and Granted Tenure

Dr. Jimmy Downes, associate professor of accountancy, earned his Ph.D. in accounting from Oklahoma State University in 2014. Prior to his Ph.D., Downes worked at a Big Four accounting firm for two years. His research interests include economic transactions of multinational firms, accounting for derivatives and international accounting, and his work has appeared in academic journals such as Contemporary Accounting Research, Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, Journal of Information Systems and Accounting Horizons.

Dr. S. Sajeesh, associate professor of marketing, joined the College of Business in 2017. He earned his Ph.D. in marketing from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Sajeesh’s areas of expertise include pricing, retailing and marketing research. His research centers around understanding firms’ marketing strategy using quantitative models under two broad contexts; influence of consumer behavior characteristics on optimal firm strategies, and influence of market and firm characteristics on firms’ marketing strategies as well as implications for social welfare and public policy.

Dr. Erkut Sönmez, associate professor of supply chain management and analytics, earned his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in operations management from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University. After joining the College of Business in 2017, Sönmez began to teach supply chain courses at the undergraduate level, including Operations and Supply Chain Management (SCMA 331) and Supply Chain Logistics Management (SCMA 444). Alongside his teaching, he researches capacity management problems that arise with the development of new business models and/or technologies, with specific applications in industries including food and energy supply chains and banking/service operations. 

Promoted to Associate Professor of Practice

Heather Clemens, Ameritas Actuarial Faculty Fellow, assistant director of the actuarial science program and associate professor of practice in actuarial science, arrived at the college in 2014 with more than 18 years of experience in the actuarial science industry. Her efforts collaborating with the college’s Business Career Center to help assist in student career development earned her the Sue Vagts Faculty/Staff Partner of the Year this August. She also serves as the faculty advisor for the Actuarial Science Club, a student organization that provides students with a better understanding of the actuarial profession and careers.

Chad Mardesen, associate professor of practice in marketing, joined the college in 2014 after a career as a territory manager at Nike Golf, where he was responsible for building Nike into a premier golf brand for the region. He also formerly served as the tournament director of the Cox Classic Presented by Lexus of Omaha golf tournament on the PGA Tour/Web.com Tour. His expertise includes marketing, sales, advertising, customer service, event planning, direct response advertising and sports. Mardesen also teaches in the Center for Sales Excellence, helping students’ gain sales experience and talent, and assists in the management of their annual golf tournament.

Jina Morris, associate professor of practice in accountancy, earned her master’s in public accounting (MPA) from Nebraska, where she also serves as the MPA coordinator for the School of Accountancy. With more than 15 years of experience in the accounting industry, she served in different roles at organizations such as PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP and the Nebraska State Bar Association, before joining the college in 2014. Her work has earned her the College of Business Excellence in Teaching Award, alongside three separate recognitions for the Friends and Family Award (formerly the Parents' Recognition Award) from the UNL Parents Association and UNL Teaching Council.

Dr. Majid Nabavi, associate professor of practice in supply chain management and analytics, joined the college in 2015. He earned his Ph.D. from Nebraska in production and operations management. His work has appeared in both the Journal of Brand Strategy and in the Quality Management Journal.  He teaches several courses within the college revolving around different aspects of supply chain management including database organization, data management and advanced descriptive analytics.