The 2016 Faculty and Staff Awards Reception for the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business Administration took place April 20 at the Van Brunt Visitors Center. Dr. Donde Plowman, James Jr. and Susan Stuart Endowed Dean, presented the awards to the eight award recipients.
“I look forward to this event every year,” Plowman told the crowd. "We are growing, and tonight we honor outstanding achievements and service and celebrate all of faculty and staff as you are all such an important part of what we do.”
Retiring faculty member Jean Riley-Schultz, assistant professor of practice in accountancy, was also recognized. She spent more than 25 years studying, working and teaching in the field of accountancy, with a focus in financial accounting. She was on the accounting faculty at the Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science and Management from 2004-10. After serving as a lecturer for several semesters, she joined the College of Business Administration as a professor of practice in the School of Accountancy in August 2012.
“She’s literally taught hundreds of students every year,” Plowman said. “She’s so cheerful and energetic, and always has such a wonderful attitude. I don’t know what we’re going to do without her.”
The award recipients are featured below.
Distinguished Service Award – Nesrin Comez-Vance
Nesrin Comez-Vance, outreach support associate, in the CBA Department of Economics, received the Distinguished Service Award. The award recognizes a staff member who shows consistently outstanding job performance, provides service or support above and beyond the call of duty, exemplifies or inspires a teamwork attitude, who makes contributions and is committed to excellence.
Comez-Vance also assists the Bureau of Business Research (BBR) with several projects. She took on an expanded role while the department conducted a search for two new office associates and also leads several projects, including the new BBR webinars.
One nominator said, “It is clear that the department has continued to run smoothly due to Nes’s unwavering commitment to her job, the department and the college; and her ability to proceed without hesitation through any given situation has strengthened our team as a whole.”
Excellence in Teaching Award (Non Tenure Track) – Jina Morris
Jina Morris, MPA coordinator and assistant professor of practice in accountancy, was presented the Excellence in Teaching Award. The award recognizes a professor of practice, lecturer or adjunct faculty member who has made a positive impact on his or her students’ educational experience.
Morris brought more than 15 years of experience to the classroom when she joined in 2013. Her students describe her as amazing, open-minded, wonderful, enthusiastic, approachable, passionate and caring.
Her nominator said, “She has become someone I respect not only for her title, but for the happiness she shares and the work she puts into doing so. Her priority isn’t teaching a class, her priority is making an impact in her students’ lives – academically, professionally and personally.” Other students call her “one of the best professors they have ever had at UNL, hands down.”
MBA Distance Teaching Award – Dr. Geoffrey Friesen
Geoffrey Friesen, associate professor of finance, received the MBA Distance Teaching Award. This award is presented to a faculty member who has made the most positive impact on the distance MBA students’ educational experience, and the recipient is selected by the distance students.
Friesen joined CBA in 2005 with research expertise including investments, behavioral finance, mutual fund performance, microfinance and cognitive psychology. His students said he brings an individual perspective to the online classes by getting to know students on a personal level.
One student said, “I was impressed that he spent over two hours per week conducting the interactive online lecture. Through live sessions, lively class discussion and a group project, I got to know some classmates and feel more connected to UNL.”
Distinguished Teaching Award (Tenure Track/Tenured Faculty) – Dr. Jake Messersmith
Dr. Jake Messersmith, associate professor of management, was presented with the Distinguished Teaching Award (Tenure Track/Tenured Faculty). The award is presented to a tenured or tenure-track professor who has made the most positive impact on his or her students’ educational experience.
Messersmith joined CBA in fall of 2015 and made an immediate impact on the college, department and students. Noted for going out of his way to make personal connections with every single student, he makes even large lectures interactive and engaging. His students said he has created an interactive environment to learn a sometimes dull and tedious subject.
One of his nominators said, “In each class, he provides an atmosphere that allows people to feel comfortable to ask questions and participate in discussions. He connects with students and takes the time to learn as many names as possible.”
Faculty Service Award – Dr. Scott M. Fuess, Jr
Dr. Scott M. Fuess, Jr, Karl H. Nelson Professor of Economics and Department Chair, was recognized with the Faculty Service Award. The award is presented to a distinguished faculty member who has shown a commitment and dedication to service. This faculty member has made a distinguished contribution through service to the university, college, department, community or profession. The award is based upon a record of sustained performance that has significantly contributed to the college's service mission.
Fuess has served CBA as an expert on the economy of Japan, labor economics and macroeconomics since joining the faculty 30 years ago. In the fall of 2005, he accepted the position as chair of the department of economics. While chair, his department hired innovative researchers, top-notch teachers, visionary administrators and new office professionals who have helped transform the department of economics.
His nominator said, “Scott Fuess has selflessly served the UNL campus and community at large and is unquestionable deserving of recognition of his efforts by being awarded CBA’s Faculty Service Award.”
Fuess supports the university’s relationship with Senshu University in Tokyo, Japan, which celebrated 30 years of scholarly exchanges this past year. In addition to frequently accompanying student groups to Tokyo, he has hosted numerous exchange students and visiting delegations of Senshu officials in his home.
Distinguished Research Award – Dr. Yijia Lin
Dr. Yijia Lin, associate professor of finance, was honored with the Distinguished Research Award. The award recognizes a tenure-track faculty member who has shown a distinguished record in research over a three-year period.
Over the last three years, Lin has had four papers published in the Journal of Risk and Insurance
. She has also published one article in the Insurance: Mathematics and Economics
and one in the North American Actuarial Journal.
All being top quality journals, the Journal of Risk and Insurance
is considered the top risk management and insurance journal. The Insurance: Mathematics and Economics
journal is also considered the top actuarial science journal.
“Even among scholars who have published in Journal of Risk and Insurance
, less than two percent have published five or more articles in a journal in a six-year time span. Dr. Lin has had four in three years,” one supporter said.
Best Paper Award – Dr. Jenna Pieper
Dr. Jenna Pieper, assistant professor of finance, received the Best Paper Award. The award is presented to a faculty member for a specific paper was published in a high quality journal that makes the most outstanding contribution to the academic literature.
Pieper’s recent publications include “Uncovering the Nuances of Referral Hiring: How Referrer Characteristics Affect Referral Hires/Performance and Likelihood of Voluntary Turnover,” in Personnel Psychology
. The literature on employee referral hiring gives little attention to referrers. This paper provides a conceptual and empirical breakdown of referrer quality and post hire accessibility.
A Harvard, Nebraska, native, Pieper returned to her home state and joined CBA in 2012 with an area of expertise in human resource management.
Graduate Student Teaching Award – Jennifer Bernard
Jennifer Bernard was presented with the Graduate Student Teaching Award. The award is given to a graduate student with teaching responsibilities.
Bernard is a second-year doctoral student in the Department of Economics. During the 2015 academic year, she taught two sections of principles of microeconomics. Her successful teaching style draws on a mix of typical lecture and technology, and she walks students through how to set up graphs and formulas hand writing each step with them. Her teaching evaluations include marks that are some of the best the department has seen from a graduate student instructor in years.
Her nominator said, “Her students find her sense of humor and cheerful demeanor a bonus as the material she teaches can sometimes be dry for beginners.”
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