For the first time since the establishment of the Excellence Awards, a single individual was selected for both the Research Excellence and the Teaching Excellence awards.
Research and Teaching Excellence Awards - Debmalya Mukherjee
Dr. Debmalya Mukherjee, assistant professor of management, who joined the CBA in Fall 2008, has already gained a reputation as an outstanding researcher. In the past year alone (2011-12), he had six articles published or accepted for publication in top management and international business journals. One of his coauthored papers entitled "Environmental and Firm-Level Influences on Inter-organizational Trust and SME performance" accepted for publication in the Journal of Management Studies, is one of the first research papers to integrate transaction cost and relational advantage theory to understand the nuances of trust and uncertainty in the realm of small and medium size enterprises. Another, “The Impact of Management Capability on the Firm Resource-Performance Relationship: Examining Indian Outsourcing Providers”, accepted for publication in the Journal of World Business, is the first of its kind to examine what resources and capabilities enable emerging market firms to enhance their performance.
In April 2008, Mukherjee’s dissertation was one of two selected from among 100 dissertations for the Morton Dissertation Award at The University of Memphis. Chandler Revisited: A Historical Financial Analysis of Chandler's Own Matched and Mismatched Firms, a paper which Mukherjee co-authored with Dr. Kenneth Aupperle, professor of management and Dr. William Acar of Kent State University, received the John F. Mee Outstanding Contribution to Management History award in 2010.
In addition to his outstanding research record, Mukherjee is also acclaimed for his teaching effectiveness. Many students comment on how much they have learnt from him and what a difference his classes have made in their lives. Mukherjee believes that as future business decision makers and strategic leaders, students must understand the dynamics of the current competitive landscape and globally integrated world in which business leaders formulate strategies and manage businesses. The guiding principle of his teaching philosophy is to create a stimulating environment in class through interactive discussion, integration of course material and how it relates to real organizations, and critical thinking.
I believe the most important teaching objective of higher education is to promote critical, evaluative thinking and independence among the students. Instructors need to encourage students to critically evaluate course material to generate new ideas, opinions, and viewpoints that go beyond what is presented in the classroom. My goal is to engage each student as a partner in academic exploration and problem solving through active participation.
Service Excellence Award – Alvin Lieberman
Alvin Lieberman, associate professor of accounting and coordinator of taxation studies, has been a dedicated member of the CBA faculty for almost 44 years. His record of outstanding service to the college and the university spans decades. Lieberman founded two highly successful tax conferences which he organizes each year. He has organized the National Tax Conference for 33 years and the International Tax Conference for 10 years. He has cultivated and maintained relationships with many leaders in the community and his work with those contacts has contributed significantly to the CBA’s Bachelor of Science in Accountancy program and the Master of Taxation program, which he co-founded. For the past three years, Lieberman has served as coordinator of the first accounting course taken by all CBA students, ensuring that all students have a common learning experience. Lieberman possesses a great wealth of institutional memory that he shares willingly for the benefit of students, faculty and the college. He serves on many CBA and School of Accountancy Committees and, over the years, has represented the college on numerous University Committees.
I consider service to be an important component of the duties of an effective full-time faculty member of the College of Business Administration and during my forty three years of full-time teaching at The University of Akron, I have attempted to do my share.
Staff Excellence Award – Myra Weakland
Myra Weakland, assistant director of graduate programs in business, joined the CBA in 1992 a few years after graduating from the college with her MBA degree. Weakland has earned a reputation for being a problem solver who is accurate and thorough in her work. She is very customer-oriented and is recognized for her high level of service to CBA graduate students and faculty. Her work with the college’s international graduate students has been a major factor in the development of the diversity of the CBA’s graduate student body. Weakland is very knowledgeable about the college’s graduate programs and the many administrative processes that impact graduate students. She has developed excellent rapport with individuals in the many different departments across campus with which she must cooperate to keep a multitude of processes running smoothly for students and faculty. During the recent major overhaul of the graduate curriculum, Weakland assumed a leadership role in managing the smooth implementation of the many changes and transitions required.