Making Research Connections
The Haslam family’s naming gift in 2014 provided an expanded resource base to better support research active faculty in the college. The 2020 investment from Natalie and Jim Haslam, Dee and Jimmy Haslam, and Crissy and Bill Haslam will build on that foundation, supporting a greater breadth and depth of faculty contributions to scholarly and applied research, both of which influence the world of business practice over time.
“Research drives just about everything we do,” says Charles Noble, associate dean for faculty and research at the college. “When faculty are studying interesting things related to the courses they’re teaching, they can go into the classroom and share new information. That adds value for students by enriching their education.”
While some view research separately from teaching, Noble emphasizes their symbiotic relationship. “There’s a misconception that being a strong researcher and a strong teacher are diametrically opposed,” he says. “In my experience, you can be both—and the best faculty are.”
Building a Research-Friendly Environment
Hiring research-oriented faculty members is one way the college has built an environment that encourages inquiry and publications. The naming gift created Haslam Chairs of Business, endowed professorships designed to attract faculty members from other colleges who are already well-known and highly regarded in their fields. The new gift provides for several additional endowed chairs and professorships.
In 2018, the college brought Tim Pollock on as a distinguished professor of entrepreneurship and Haslam Chair in Business. Pollock says the culture of the school and its potential for growth excited him. “It was a chance to help develop a department that was already on a good trajectory,” he says. “It’s been a lot of fun. The college is welcoming, students are engaged, and I’m co-authoring with folks in my department as well as students.”
Several junior faculty members also have joined the college over the past few years, attracted by the atmosphere. There’s been a marked increase in the number and quality of applications for faculty job postings, a good indicator that Haslam’s reputation is trending upward.
Beyond bringing in top-tier research faculty, the college makes an effort to promote a collaborative spirit between faculty members and students. The Department of Management and Entrepreneurship hosts a weekly meeting for doctoral students and research faculty to discuss current projects and publications.
Students and faculty practice their presentations, ask for help, and celebrate each other’s wins. “We share both successes and disappointments,” says Anne Smith, department head and King and Judy Rogers Professor in Business. “This helps familiarize graduate students with the realities of publishing at premier journals, especially when they hear from well-published faculty members.”
Annika Abell joined the Haslam faculty last year as an assistant professor of marketing. “The supportive atmosphere is what attracted me and makes me proud to be a member of such a productive, empathetic team,” she says. “Everyone is rooting for everyone else, knowing we all contribute to the prestige of the college.”
Collaboration between disciplines is also common, Abell notes. “Within my first few months at Haslam, I met many faculty members from other departments and even other colleges,” she says. “I’ve noticed many interdisciplinary connections and collaborations.”
Building theCollege’s Reputation
With excellent faculty and an atmosphere of cooperation in place, the college continues to build its reputation as a thriving research institution. Faculty members involved in active research are more likely to be quoted in the media, which can attract further notice and help boost rankings. For example, members of
Haslam’s supply chain faculty have been cited in media related to COVID-19 supply chain issues many times this year.
The new Haslam gift will continue to motivate research output by adding additional support for faculty summer research, which often involves expenses such as purchasing data sets and traveling to present findings at conferences. Funding these ventures helps to attract and retain strong research faculty.
“Within the higher education industry, ratings and rankings by academic and faculty leaders are largely driven by research output,” says Linda Myers, distinguished professor of accounting, the first Haslam Chair of Business and an award-winning researcher who has published in all of the top-tier accounting journals.
“Retaining our strongest research faculty and recruiting more will ensure that our PhD programs, masters classes, and undergraduate education remain top-notch, and that our students are learning cutting-edge business practices and theories.”
Fields of Research
In what types of research are Haslam faculty members engaged? Here are a few examples:
LINDA MYERS uses preexisting (historical) data to answer questions and solve real-world problems related to financial reporting, audit, and corporate governance topics.
TIM POLLOCK looks at how we assign value and make decisions in uncertain situations. One recent project examines factors that make some CEOs into celebrities, while others remain virtually unknown.
CHARLES NOBLE examines design and development processes, as applied to both products and services.
ANNIKA ABELL focuses on consumer behavior and decision-making.
MARIANNE WANAMAKER examines labor economics, workforce development, education, American economichistory, and demography.
TOM GOLDSBY researches logistics strategy, supply chain integration, and the theory and practice of lean and agile supply chain strategies.
MICHEL BALLINGS looks at ways to utilize machine learning for marketing automation.
TRACIE WOIDTKE examines issues related to corporate governance and public policy.