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 2022-23 academic year. Kathy Farrell, James Jr. and Susan Stuart Endowed Dean and professor of finance, also recognized five retiring faculty and staff members and announced the college award winners 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,” she said. “Thank you, all, for everything you do to support our students, your departments, units and teams.”
Distinguished Service Award
Jennifer Mostek, director of Business Advising and Student Engagement, and '03, '08 & '10 Nebraska alumna, 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. Mostek's nominators noted her outstanding knowledge of the college and university, as well as being an innovative, adaptive and caring leader in one of the most influential student service units.
“She has gracefully transitioned the leadership to her own, building upon the strong foundation that has historically characterized Business Advising and Student Engagement. Her leadership helps to minimize burnout in an area where turnover is common,” a nominator said.
D'vee Buss Students First Award
Kasey Linde, director of teaching, learning and accreditation, 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.” Linde directs the Teaching and Learning Center and helped launch the Inclusive Business Leaders program, repeatedly demonstrating her commitment to inclusion and ensuring all students have access to the resources they need to succeed in college and life.
“Kasey has this way of making everyone feel important and wanted. She accepts everyone and highlights differences in the best way possible,” one nominator said.
Ph.D. Student Teaching Award and Ph.D. Student Research Award
Bret Sheeley, Ph.D. candidate in accounting, received both the Ph.D. Student Teaching Award, which goes to a graduate student with teaching responsibilities who excelled in making an impact in the classroom, and the Ph.D. Student Research Award for the student with the most impressive research record. A Certified Public Accountant, his teaching interests range from principles of accounting to managerial accounting and information systems, with research interest in an experimental methodology to examine management control-system design and its effects on the decision-making of employees, managers and investors. On his impact in the classroom, students shared how he excelled at helping them understand the material.
“Bret made class enjoyable and extremely easy to understand. Every class, he would show a current event related to our topic and ask for input on how we could resolve the issue,” a nominator said.
Excellence in Teaching Award
Andrew Hanna, Seacrest Teaching Fellow and assistant professor of practice in management and entrepreneurship, and '09, '16 & '21 College of Business alumnus, 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. With more than 400 students across three classes this semester, Hanna impacts many students. He is also developing two more entrepreneurship classes for the future. Students shared how his fun personality and caring nature improved their learning environment and made them feel he was invested in their success.
“His dedication and knowledge are evident as he correlates course concepts with everyday situations,” a student noted.
Online Graduate Programs Teaching Awards
For the third time, Elina Ibrayeva, associate professor of practice in management, 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, noting her passion, knowledge, positivity and engagement of others in the virtual classroom, as well as how she helps make an impact in their daily lives, even from a distance. A subject-matter expert with life experiences and global awareness, her lessons blend real-life situations with textbook theory, students shared.
“Her classes engage us like a 4D experience as we are immersed in so many different ways,” one online student wrote.
Julian Atanassov, associate professor of finance, also received the online graduate programs teaching award for making a positive impact on online graduate students’ educational experience. His students, who voted to award this honor, noted how he immediately began making an impact in the classroom, breaking down complex concepts and engaging remote students in an interactive way.
“He has a talent for making the material come alive, drawing real-world examples and case studies that make the principles clear and relevant,” one student shared.
Distinguished Teaching Award
Thomas Dotzel, assistant professor of marketing, received the Distinguished Teaching Award, which recognizes a tenured or tenure-track professor who makes the most positive impact on their students’ educational experience. Several students shared how his strength in clear, honest communication and respect for people made his dedication evident.
One student said, “Dr. Dotzel has continuously gone out of his way to make sure his students always had an incredible experience. Even after a challenging day, he continued to put his students first and be the great teacher he always has been.”
Faculty Service Award
Brian Baugh, associate professor of finance, 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. A nominator noted how he went above and beyond, spending many hours researching while serving on three university committees working on health and retirement benefits.
“His dedication to personal and household finance fueled his enthusiasm and desire to make Nebraska a better place to work,” they said.
Emerging Scholar Research Award
Mirzokhidjon Abdurakhmonov, assistant professor of management, 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. His research focuses on corporate political activities, business-government interaction and strategic leadership. Since 2019, Abdurakhmonov has published in three journals, including the Academy of Management Journal, Strategic Management Journal and Journal of Managerial Issues. He delivered nine presentations at various conferences, and his professional memberships include Strategic Management Society, Southern Management Association and Academy of Management. He also serves as a mentor to Ph.D. candidate in management Izu Mbaraonye.
“I was interested in understanding corporate political activities, like lobbying or political action committee contributions, and Mirzo did just that, so I connected with him. Working with a more senior professor like him, I got to understand how research works, what’s feasible and what has or has not been done,” Mbaraonye said.
Distinguished Research Award
Julie Wu, associate professor of finance, received her second Distinguished Research Award for her notable research achievements. Published in numerous top journals, her research interests include information processing in the financial market and its implications on corporate decisions, securities markets, empirical asset pricing and corporate finance. She also published in one of the top journals in accounting — Contemporary Accounting Research — and received the Spängler-IQAM Best Investments Paper award in 2021 for “What do short sellers know?” in the Review of Finance. She currently serves as associate editor for The Financial Review.
“Julie’s high-impact research has won prestigious awards and more than 1,800 Google Scholar Citations. We thank her for her dedication to research and helping promote it across multiple disciplines,” Dean Farrell shared.
Upcoming Retirements from the College of Business
Longtime faculty and staff members who are retiring this year also received recognition at the celebration, honoring their years of service to the college:
F. Gregory Hayden, professor emeritus of economics, retired in December 2022 after serving students at the College of Business for 55 years. He began his career as a professor of economics in 1967. After 50 years of service, his ability to help students and colleagues study the world through the use of his social fabric matrix approach helped transform the way people approach complex world situations regardless of what they are analyzing – from economics to military matters or social change. Over the years, he helped many students reach beyond their own expectations, including former student Susana Eshleman, '93, who attributed his mentorship to helping her attain the role of CEO for the nonprofit organization Children's International.
“Dr. Hayden really elicited great thinking,” Eshleman said. “He did more than impart knowledge. His classes allowed for engagement and discussion, which were thoughtful and inspired me to continue conversations after class. He gave me an opportunity to grow.”
Eshleman also shared how Hayden helped her find funding so she could stay in college. She stated that his “impactful letter of recommendation shows how much he helped and believed in his students.”
Marijane England, associate professor of practice emeritus in management, ‘74, ‘76 & ‘91, retires this May after a 46-year career at Nebraska. With three degrees from three colleges at the university, she also worked within another degree at Nebraska, teaching and leading management in the College of Business. Her career included stops as a research associate in the West Central Research and Extension Center and working in the vice chancellor for academic affairs office. For six years, England also directed Arctic logistics and science support activities for UNL’s Polar Ice Coring Office. England taught in the Department of Management from 2000 to 2006. She served as assistant vice president for academic affairs and director of institutional research for the university from 2006 to 2008, then as dean of administration for Bryan College of Health Sciences before returning to teach in the College of Business in 2011.
“I love working with 20-somethings. My greatest honor is winning the college's Excellence in Teaching Award three times. I have been nominated every year since the award was established. The nomination comes from students, and to me, that is the highest honor I could ever receive,” she said.
After retirement, she looks forward to fewer deadlines and no grading, but more time to weave, quilt, knit and garden. As a lifelong learner, she said she may still take classes or volunteer in the community.
Ann Mari May, professor emeritus of economics, served at the College of Business for 36 years since 1987 and has courtesy appointments at the university's departments of History, Women’s Studies and Agricultural Economics. Specializing her research in gender, she focused on higher education and the impact of unionization on the representation of women in research universities, graduate education and STEM fields; occupational segregation in red versus blue states; and gender differences in views of economists on contemporary public policy issues in the U.S. and Europe. She published her groundbreaking work in national and international publications and recently published the book, “Gender and the Dismal Science: Women in the Early Years of the Economics Profession.”
Her research continues to inspire students to enter the economics research field, including Kennedy Johnston, '22 economics alum and former Bureau of Business Research (BBR) Scholar from Carbon, Indiana, who is now a first-year economics Ph.D. student at Texas A&M University.
“When I came to college at Nebraska, I didn't know what I was going to do with my life. Even though I wasn't sure working in research would be a good fit, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to be a Nebraska BBR Scholar. May and other economics professors were examining the gender wage gap, something I feel strongly about. Knowing I'd be working on their project fascinated me,” Johnston said.
Thomas Omer, Delmar Lienemann Sr. Chair in Accountancy and professor emeritus of accountancy, joined the College of Business in 2013 as a top researcher in his field. A lifelong learner, Omer becomes an emeriti faculty member with 15 academic papers in the works. To celebrate his notable career and achievements, the School of Accountancy hosted its inaugural Nebraska Accounting Research Symposium this spring in honor of Omer. After 37 years in higher education, he has taught countless students in tax and data analytics and leaves an unmatched impact through research productivity and Ph.D. student mentorship. At Nebraska, Omer reached as high as ranking No. 1 in archival tax all topics, No. 2 in archival tax and No. 5 in archival audit in the BYU Accounting Research Productivity Rankings. He also stands with an elite group of scholars who published research in all six top accounting journals – also notable as all six were co-authored by his former students.
“With Tom's guidance, support and encouragement throughout my Ph.D. journey, I learned to be a researcher with critical thinking, work ethic and professionalism. I also learned to be a responsive, responsible and reasonable co-author. His hardworking and research passion did, does and will continue to influence me throughout my career,” said Bo Gao, '21, who now serves as an assistant professor of accounting and information systems at the University of Texas at El Paso.
After retiring from the college, he plans to continue his research, learning new methodologies, Python programming and spending more time with his children and grandchildren.
Tamera Ward, financial associate in the Office of the Dean, served the College of Business since 2001, first as a staff assistant in the Department of Management, where she assisted the director of Management Development Certificate Programs, coordinating the department's Business Seminars programs for clients in the work force, and took over entirely after director Dixie Doughty's death. She began working in the Office of the Dean in 2012, supporting the office in accounting, budgeting and grants and contracts in the former college building and received the university's Floyd S. OIdt Outstanding Staff Award in 2012. When Howard L. Hawks Hall opened in 2017, she upgraded to an office with a window.
“The move to Hawks Hall was better for her because she came from the basement in the old building. The huge window was just one perk of the move. She also enjoyed seeing faculty and staff in the common areas and students hustling and bustling through the halls and milling in the study areas. In 2017 and 2023, she received Dean’s Coins for going above and beyond in her role,” Farrell said at the celebration.
After retirement, Ward said she plans to travel on her motorcycle, organize her house and her extensive photo collection that dates back to the 1960s.
To view past winners or nominate for the next awards, visit the Nebraska Business Recognitions webpage: https://business.unl.edu/nominate.
Published: May 9, 2023