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Kathy's Point: Making History Through Innovation

Kathy Farrell and Donna Dudney with red N background
Dean Kathy Farrell sits with students in class this spring during an alumni panel session.

The spring semester of our 110th year as a college is drawing to a close. Though Nebraskans are humble, I wanted to celebrate how we continue to innovate and make history due to the people at Nebraska — past and present.

People such as Donna Dudney, associate professor of finance, founding director of the Nebraska Business Honors Academy and former assistant and associate dean, and Janet Near, associate dean of faculty and research, Howard L. Hawks Chair in Business Ethics and Leadership and professor of management, who both retire in May and will be appointed professor emeritus status. Dudney marks 27 years at the university, with more than 20 publications, multiple teaching awards and a faculty service award. As an innovative educator, she helped create the Nebraska Business Honors Academy, the Clifton Strengths Institute, and the business and law minor and major in partnership with the College of Law. Near, who served eight years at Nebraska and 45 years in the profession, helped elevate the research stature of the Department of Management with more than 70 refereed journal article publications, accumulating over 28,000 citations. In her role as associate dean, she helped elevate the entire college's research accomplishments, supported doctoral students across all departments and served as a mentor to junior faculty members.

Our faculty continue to garner national attention with their research. Our management faculty rose into the top 20 in the U.S. in the Texas A&M/University of Georgia Rankings of Management Department Research Productivity. The rankings aggregate publications in the eight top-tier management journals written by faculty in U.S. business schools. Schools we tied with include Arizona, Wisconsin, Dartmouth and Ohio State to name a few.

Additionally, economics faculty members, Yuxi Yao, assistant professor of economics, Yifan Gong, assistant professor of economics, and Daniel Tannenbaum, assistant professor of economics were cited in the White House’s 2024 Economic Report of the President. The report cited Tannenbaum’s research on eviction and Gong and Yao’s research on the housing market.

Accounting faculty Debra Cosgrove, professor of practice in accountancy, and Kathryn Maresh, assistant professor of practice in accountancy advised two teams of students who helped us accomplish a feat no other university has achieved, winning two of the four national case competitions annually hosted by Deloitte. Last April, our accounting students took first place in the eighth annual Deloitte National Audit Innovation Campus Challenge. Then in January, our students also won Deloitte's 22nd annual FanTAXtic National Case Study Competition. Both teams are featured in this newsletter.

Another team of business students also claimed first place at a national supply chain competition for the second year in a row. The experience held at the Specialty Tools and Fasteners Distributors Association (STAFDA) conference challenged students to visualize the complex relationships between different roles and foster strategic decisions to overcome real-life dilemmas. 

The Nebraska Center for Entrepreneurship, also featured in this newsletter, continues to skyrocket toward becoming a national leader. The New Venture Competition had a record-setting 75 teams apply to compete in the competition with 48 teams chosen to compete. They represented nine colleges at Nebraska and 44 majors. The top four teams took home a combined $45,000 in prizes for their business plans. New this year, returning competitors competed in an Advanced Traction Bracket for a prize of $15,000. Jeff Vaske, who serves on the center’s advisory board, said that all teams were viable businesses, which shows how strong our entrepreneurship community is here at the university.

The center also honored eight outstanding entrepreneurs from across the state and beyond. Four of the awards have a long history at Nebraska, and the center added four new awards to include students, advocates and others who are central to the entrepreneurial ecosystem and connected to Nebraska. You can read more about the honorees in this newsletter.

As you can see, our students continue to represent Nebraska well nationally, our faculty remains dedicated to producing high-caliber research, and our programs continue to provide purposeful, relevant curriculum for future business leaders. These achievements and innovations are the result of support and inspiration from our Nebraska Business community.

As our alums, business partners and friends, you set high standards of achievement and we continue to work every day to be bold and create a better future for business.  

Dean Kathy Farrell

Published: May 8, 2024