Nine faculty, staff and Ph.D. students at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business received recognition for their efforts during the 2020-21 academic year challenging themselves to drive discovery, create opportunity and empower students to lead the future of business. Dr. Kathy Farrell, James Jr. and Susan Stuart Endowed Dean of the College of Business, announced the award winners at a virtual and in-person event in Howard L. Hawks Hall.
“In conversations with our community partners, I share the wonderful things driving our transformation into a world-class business college. I take great pride in knowing it is our community making things happen to promote research and discovery, facilitate learning and transformation, and foster connection and engagement. Each story shared today underscores how we are fueling the change and leading the future of business,” she said.
Distinguished Service Award
Jeff Burdic, ’75, assistant director of Business Advising and Student Engagement, received the Distinguished Service Award (DSA), which recognizes 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. As this year's honoree, Burdic represented the college as a nominee for the University of Nebraska Board of Regents Kudos Award. Selected from a pool of staff making an impact across the university, he received his second Kudos Award at the in-person Regents meeting in April.
A member of the college community for more than 18 years, Burdic’s nominators said he continuously finds creative solutions to problems. Speaking up when a process or procedure complicates things for students, he also “patiently hears what students need” and finds ways to assist them. A student said, “Not only is he a fountain of knowledge, but he is also kind, personable and relatable in his response.”
D'vee Buss Students First Award
Dr. Rebekah Neary-DeLaPorte, assistant director of the Nebraska Business Honors Academy, received the inaugural D’vee Buss Students First Award. This award, named for the retired assistant dean and Husker alum, honors a staff member who exemplifies a student-centered approach and makes unique or extraordinary efforts or sustained commitment to the philosophy of “students first.” A nominator wrote that Neary-DeLaPorte “possesses a positive attitude and dedicates her time to making students feel seen, heard and valued.” Known for prioritizing student mental, physical, emotional and academic health, she “creates a safe environment for students to express their emotions freely so they can receive the guidance they need to continue to grow and develop.”
Graduate Student Teaching Award and Ph.D. Student Research Award
Dr. Andrew Hanna, ’09, ’16 & ’21, who recently earned his Ph.D. in management, received both the Graduate Teaching Assistant 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, presented to the student with the most impressive research record. Hanna’s research has been published in several top management journals with two more papers under way. Nominators noted how he consistently goes the extra mile for the students he teaches and guides them toward success. Faculty also shared how Hanna put in additional time preparing extra classes during the pandemic and used a variety of approaches in his management and entrepreneurship courses.
Excellence in Teaching Award
Shawntell Kroese, ’96, assistant professor of practice in supply chain management and analytics, 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. A nominator shared how Kroese motivates students to understand the materials, not just memorize a book, challenging them to find different ways to learn and engage in consulting projects with companies. One student wrote, “I can see how our class has grown in their skills such as public speaking and data analytics.”
MBA Distance Teaching Award
Dr. Shivam Gupta, assistant professor of supply chain management and analytics, received the MBA Distance Teaching Award, honoring 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 and they noted Gupta’s ability to make complex topics more understandable with patience and energy, allowing them to apply the knowledge they gain to their careers.
Distinguished Teaching Award
Dr. Jimmy Downes, assistant professor of accountancy, received the Distinguished Teaching Award, which recognizes a tenured or tenure-track professor who makes the most positive impact on their student’s educational experience. Many nominators shared how he makes time and ensures a comfortable environment for students to ask questions so they fully understand the material. Working current research into his class discussions allowed his students to develop and build confidence in their critical thinking skills.
Faculty Service Award
Sue Vagts, ’88, Ameritas Actuarial Faculty Fellow, David P. Hayes Chair of Actuarial Science and director and associate professor of practice in actuarial science, received the Faculty Service Award. Based upon 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. Instrumental in building the reputation of the actuarial science program, Vagts work helped make Nebraska one of the first schools selected as a Center of Excellence by the Society of Actuaries. Leading the planning of the 2020 Actuarial Research Conference, she helped with transitioning it to virtual during the COVID-19 pandemic and it became the largest conference in history. She also serves on department committees, seven college committees and four university committees.
Emerging Scholar Research Award
Dr. Brian Baugh, assistant professor of finance, 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 interests include household finance, corporate finance, behavioral finance and tax. Often publishing in top journals, Baugh wrote a paper titled “Can Taxes Shape and Industry? Evidence from the Implementation of the ‘Amazon Tax’” which was cited by NPR, Bloomberg and The New York Times. Many states imposed the tax for reasons covered in his work.
Distinguished Research Award
Dr. Jennifer Ryan, department chair and professor of supply chain management and analytics and Ron and Carol Cope College Professor, received the Distinguished Research Award for her notable achievements in research. Published in numerous top journals, her research includes inventory management, supply chain management and procurement. The recipient of several National Science Foundation grants, Ryan also earned two Best Paper Awards from the Industrial and Systems Engineering Research Conference.
To view past winners or nominate for the next awards, visit the Nebraska Business Recognitions webpage: https://business.unl.edu/nominate.