Outstanding Faculty in Doctoral Education
Suzanne Murrmann, professor in Hospitality and Tourism Management, “has been a guiding force in our Ph.D. program,” wrote department head Nancy McGehee in her successful nomination of Murrmann as the Outstanding Faculty in Doctoral Education for the 2014-2015 academic year.
Murrmann has served on or chaired more than 100 master’s and Ph.D. graduate committees. She chaired 20 Ph.D. students to completion. She has co-authored more than 40 articles with her Ph.D. students, with many published in top-tier journals. She also co-authored numerous conference presentations and proceedings publications.
“Beyond guiding their dissertations, she has helped them to understand and appreciate the role and responsibilities of an academic,” wrote McGehee. “She has successfully placed her Ph.D. students in excellent positions throughout the world.”
As coordinator, Murrmann is responsible for all aspects of the hospitality and tourism management program, including reviewing student applications, assisting the department head in awarding graduate assistantships, chairing the graduate curriculum and policy committee, and guiding the doctoral preliminary examinations. She also teaches several doctoral courses.
Murmann received her Ph.D. in business administration from Pamplin in 1985. She earned a Masters of Labor and Industrial Relations from Michigan State University in 1977, and received her Bachelor of Arts in Microbiology from Indiana University in 1971.
Excellence in International Programs
Marketing professor David Brinberg created and now directs two semester-long study abroad programs, one based in Lugano, Switzerland, and the other in Lugano and East Africa. His work has earned him Pamplin’s Excellence in International Programs Award for the 2014-2015 academic year.
Students in the spring program enroll in a total of 18 credit hours and are involved in a field practicum that is an internship-like experience with a non-governmental organization. The fall program, also 18 credit hours, focuses on sustainable social change, and involves classwork in Lugano and a service project in East Africa.
“Professor Brinberg’s efforts in building and managing these international programs are exemplary, and are richly deserving of this award,” wrote department head Paul Herr in his nomination letter for this recognition.
The second program grew out of the first, which involved the students working with non-governmental organizations, helping them develop business plans and grant proposals. Some of those students had an opportunity to travel to Kenya. When Brinberg saw the benefit of that as a service-learning project, he launched the second program.
Students in that program were so moved and transformed by their work with primary school students in Kenya that Brinberg helped them to create the Taaluma Project, a nonprofit organization that’s helped raise $25,000 support scholarships for those Eastern African students to go on to secondary school.
“The students come back different,” Brinberg said. “They have a much different sense of what social justice means. They see that there is no infrastructure to support the dreams of these students they work with, and they see the need to engage to create long-term change.”
The Lugano programs are extremely popular. More than 500 students have participated in the spring program since it was created in 2002. “Participation in these programs produces lifelong impact for students, as well as benefits for the communities served and the reputation of Pamplin and Virginia Tech,” Herr wrote.
Brinberg received his Ph.D. in social psychology in 1979 from the University of Illinois, where he also received a master’s degree. He received his bachelor’s degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.
Sattar Mansi, finance professor, has been named winner of the 2015 College Research Award. Mansi has always strived to perform top-level research with broad and significant implications. He has achieved that goal. According to the ISI Web of Science Citation Index database, his papers have been cited nearly 800 times.
He has been published in the Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Journal of Financial Economics, Review of Financial Studies, Journal of Law and Economics, and the Journal of Accounting and Economics.
His research has focused on issues related to governance and how well companies are run. He’s looked into whether politically connected companies are more likely to engage in corporate risk-taking and less conservative investments.
“By providing research in these areas, I attempt to bridge the gap between theory and practice and encourage research between related but understudied areas,” he said.
A recent paper provided a timely economic analysis of the fees charged by mutual fund advisors. Considering events such as Lockheed Martin’s agreement to pay $62 million to investors due to excess fees, Mansi expects this paper’s results to have broad implications for firms and regulators.
Mansi joined Virginia Tech in 2002 as an assistant professor. He received his Ph.D. and master’s in finance from George Washington University and a bachelor’s of science in electrical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Excellence in Outreach
For the past four years, marketing professor Eloise Coupey has worked with the Women’s Resource Center of the New River Valley, first as a board member, then as president and now as past-president. Her work in the community won her the recognition of the 2015 Excellence in Outreach Award.
“Professor Coupey’s outreach activities with the WRC are a model for academic-community collaboration, and dramatically demonstrate the positive impact that faculty can have on their local community,” wrote department head Paul Herr.
WRC provides a host of services to those who have experienced domestic violence or sexual assault, including a shelter and emergency services, as well as public education and outreach aimed at preventing such violence.
When Coupey was invited to join the WRC board in 2010, the goal was to leverage her marketing expertise to strengthen the organization. She helped develop a comprehensive four-year strategic plan, oversaw a revision of the bylaws and developed board recruitment and training processes.
“My involvement enables me to use my business expertise to support an entity that fights a social issue about which I feel strongly,” Coupey said. “In addition, my interests in using marketing methods to encourage positive social behaviors are strongly related to the center’s efforts to develop and offer programs and services to educate people in schools, colleges, and the community about how to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault.”
She worked with executive director Pat Brown on development of branding, messaging, and marketing communications. She led board efforts in WRC’s first major fundraising campaign, Incite Safety, which resulted in a ten-fold increase in donations in its first year.
“I always see you as a positive source of energy,” wrote Brown. “You are the best board president ever.”
Coupey received her Ph.D. in business administration from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. She earned her bachelor of arts from Harvard University in 1983.
Excellence in International Research
Assistant professor of finance Ugur Lel has won the 2015 Excellence in International Research Award. He has focused his research on corporate finance and international finance, with an emphasis on corporate governance.
His research on international finance and business has resulted in papers published in the Journal of Financial Economics, Journal of Finance, Review of Financial Studies and Journal of Corporate Finance, among others.
Lel’s interest in international finance grew from his observation of the significant differences in the degree of financial market development across countries. “Coming from overseas to the United States made all these differences very apparent,” Lel said. “It really made me appreciate all the benefits of such sophisticated capital markets in the U.S.”
His research has been heavily cited by other academics and also covered by mass media, such as USA Today and Bloomberg.
Lel earned his Ph.D. and master’s in finance from Indiana University, as well as a master’s in finance from Concordia University in Montreal. He earned his bachelor’s of engineering in management at Istanbul Technical University.
Excellence in Diversity
Hospitality and tourism assistant professor Kimberly Mathe-Soulek “has actively sought ways to both grow the research in diversity and HTM and to greatly enhance the awareness of sensitivity to diversity issues,” wrote department head Nancy McGehee in her nominating letter. Mathe-Soulek received the Pamplin Excellence in Diversity Award for the 2014-2015 academic year.
Mathe-Soulek has published a number of papers on diversity in the food and beverage industry, specifically focusing on female leaders in quick-service restaurant chains. She also highlights such issues in the classroom. She recently began research examining age discrimination and pay discrepancies.
“Kim has also been very successful in regularly incorporating diversity-related issues into the classroom when teaching Food and Beverage Operations, especially in the context of managing a diverse work force,” wrote McGehee.
She serves on the college Multi-Cultural Diversity Committee and has judged the Pamplin annual diversity case competition. McGehee wrote that, personally and across many different venues, Mathe-Soulek has “sought to be more inclusive and to support both Pamplin and hospitality and tourism management diversity initiatives.”
Mathe-Soulek received her Ph.D. in hospitality administration in 2011 at Oklahoma State University, where she also completed her MBA and bachelor’s degree in marketing.
College Certificates of Teaching Excellence and Warren L. Holtzman Outstanding Educators
John Easterwood, finance associate professor; Rajesh Bagchi, marketing associate professor; Barbara Hoopes, business information technology associate professor; and Rick Parsons, hospitality and tourism management associate professor; Greg Jenkins, accounting and information systems professor; Ryan Zimmerman, management associate professor.