Four Nebraska Business faculty members earned promotions on September 1 based on their achievements in research, teaching and service. They included Dr. Elina Ibrayeva promoted to associate professor of practice in management, Dr. Sam Nelson to associate professor of practice in management, Dr. Eric Thompson to professor of economics and Dr. Jifeng Yu, who was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor of management.
When not finding new ways to utilize technology in the classroom, Ibrayeva spends her time traveling abroad with students to expand their global view. Her versatility shines in the different classes she teaches from introductory courses to online graduate courses. She is a frequent contributor to her department’s delivery of curriculum. Her students comment on how she leverages modern technology to teach in person and online, which earned her the MBA Distance Teaching Award at the college’s 2018 Faculty and Staff Awards Reception. In five years, she taught more than 4,000 students, through both online and in-person courses.
“Teaching requires so much these days so I have to do a little bit of everything. I studied mindfulness for 15 years so I know the only way to deal with stress is have a positive attitude for what you’re doing. I always wanted to teach and live in the United States, and I see all of this as living my American Dream,” Ibrayeva said.
Nelson, who also serves as the director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, works with student entrepreneurs and guides them toward success through the center’s events such as 3-2-1 Quick Pitch and the New Venture Competition. He connects students with local entrepreneurs, as well as gives them advice to lead their business ideas to fruition. Nelson’s commitment to student success was recognized with the college’s Excellence in Teaching Award for his positive impact on his students’ educational experience.
“As both a professor and director for the center, I see the great things students are capable of doing. Being at Nebraska gives them an advantage because great people surround them. I look at alumni like Warren Buffett, Johnny Carson, Willa Cather – all of these amazing people who took what they learned here along with their work ethic and honesty to create value for other people the Nebraska way. I try to make sure that comes through in my classes and the center’s events because these students are going to lead organizations someday. They will go out there and set the tone, so it is important to me they do it the right way,” Nelson said.
Along with teaching graduate courses, Thompson also holds the role of director of the Bureau of Business Research. Sought after for his expertise in economics by national and local media and organizations, he provides analyses of the Nebraska Economic Indicator, a composite of economic factors that predict economic growth six months into the future. Recently, NBC News reached out to Thompson to share his insight about current unemployment in the U.S. job market. Thompson is also a faculty fellow of the Rural Futures Institute (RFI). The research he conducts on rural economics help him find solutions for issues rural communities are facing today.
“I’m passionate about rural areas because I think it’s possible to recreate some of the positives of urban areas more strongly in rural areas. The University of Nebraska–Lincoln is on the cutting edge providing solutions for rural areas. It’s an excellent opportunity to take advantage of what we do well as a state and as a university, in order to have the global impact our university strives for every day,” Thompson said.
Yu, whose research interests include alliance networks, innovation, international entrepreneurship and risk management, plays a significant role in his academic department through service and research. He serves on several departmental committees, as well as a reviewer for numerous peer-reviewed academic journals. Recently Yu co-authored an article in the Journal of Risk and Insurance
about the role of pension obligations in determining corporate debt maturity and spreads. His research is published in other peer-reviewed academic journals such as Strategic Management Journal
, Journal of Management
, Production and Operations Management
, Journal of Risk and Insurance
“A number of things have helped my success here at Nebraska. The College of Business offers a great working environment, generous support and great colleagues always willing to help and offer useful advice. Along with that, the vibrant economy here in Nebraska and the growing student population in the college create a positive atmosphere and offers great opportunities for research and teaching,” Yu said.