Dr. Varkey (Anand) Titus Jr. joined the University of Nebraska–Lincoln to fulfill a promise to help start something at the College of Business. Eight years later, Titus’ efforts earned him tenure with a promotion to associate professor.
“The biggest draw for coming to Nebraska was the promise I could help guide the school into its next course,” said Titus, associate professor of management. “Former Dean Donde Plowman (now chancellor at University of Tennessee, Knoxville) said, ‘If you join us, you can help create something.’ That affected the way I see my time at Nebraska dramatically.”
Part of how Titus helps build the college includes recruiting noteworthy faculty to the Department of Management. He often shares the message delivered to him from Plowman.
“I get to share with new faculty candidates what can be done here and how their gifts and talents can be utilized. By doing that, we've been able to hire some extraordinary faculty in our department who we all enjoy and benefit from being around,” he said.
The support Titus received also helped him accomplish his goals. He noted his department chair, Dr. Jon O’Brien, advocates for junior faculty and keeps him focused on what could be achieved next.
“Jon encouraged me to take certain steps at various points of my career which proved to be incredibly wise,” he said “We don’t act our most creative or our best when we're thinking in terms of what we could lose. We do better when we're thinking about what we can do next. Part of what Jon has done is put me in the mindset of what I can do, not what I can prevent from happening.”
O’Brien, U.S. Bank Distinguished Professor of Business and Chair of the Department of Management, credits Titus for his ability to be a self-starter, citing him as a model faculty member.
“All I have done is given him a little advice and helped ease his service burden a bit, but his success is due to his own diligence. Anand is very competent and conscientious, and thus, mostly all I had to do was step back and let him do the excellent work in both teaching and research that he strives to do,” said O’Brien.
Along with helping build a community of accomplished faculty, Titus also set out to expand opportunities for students by teaching new entrepreneurship courses for both Ph.D. and undergraduate students. His time spent in the classroom also influences them on the importance of entrepreneurship.
“It's great when students who don't have an interest in entrepreneurship take my class as I have the opportunity to show them the value it could have for their lives. I get a lot of joy from teaching,” said Titus, who is a three-time recipient of the Certificate of Recognition for Contributions to Students awarded by the UNL Teaching Council and Parents Association. The award comes with a special honor as parents submit the nominations.
O’Brien explained how Titus goes beyond what he says at the front of the classroom and strives to make a more permanent impression on his students.
“Beyond the obvious student evaluations and award or recognitions, what is truly amazing about Dr. Titus’ teaching is the way he impacts students. Students in classes regularly comment about how he not only taught a great class, but fundamentally changed the way they see themselves and the world,” he said.
Now with his new title and secured future at the college, Titus looks forward to additional ways he can build the college. His next steps include continuing to develop the culture of the college.
“I plan to continue building an incredibly collegial and encouraging environment at both the department and the college level. We have a remarkable group of dedicated, interesting and curious people. Knowing I get to continue building the college is a big part of what is exciting about tenure. What an opportunity and an honor,” he said.
To learn more about the Department of Management, visit: https://business.unl.edu/management.