We understand the power of exceptional faculty dedicated to excellent teaching, scholarly accomplishment, and transformative student mentoring. Gifts to faculty excellence underwrite research initiatives, and the study of business issues that affect organizations across all industries internationally. Supporting faculty funds allows the dean to recruit for best-in-class professors.
- Belal Abdelfattah, Assistant Professor of Information Systems and Operations Management
Being part of the faculty at Mason is a unique experience and unlike any other position I have held in my academic career. This is largely due to the vast amount of diversity among the student population with respect to their nationality and work experience. The classroom experience is thus far more interesting than expected for the reason that having students from different backgrounds provides a wide array of perspectives. This creates not only a new type of learning experience for their peers, but for me as well. In theory, the best way to relate is by finding common ground, however, Mason has proven that differences among each other can do just the same.
Additionally, the amount of students with prior work experience in the business field also speaks volumes in the learning environment. Conventionally, linking course topics and individual work experience is expected and delivered by the instructor. However, the students at Mason are exceptional in regards to using actual prior work scenarios relating to the topics discussed as examples to better understand the material. Seeing as this is a successful strategy for retention, I regularly encourage students engaging in class discussions to apply their work experience as examples. The students welcome the opportunity to share information that is most relevant, which allows for meaningful discussions and creates an environment where everyone is motivated to share their experiences. During my time at Mason, I have thoroughly enjoyed the teaching experience due to the dynamic culture. I have learned a great deal from my students based on their various backgrounds. This has helped me reshape the classroom experience by encompassing different perspectives making it more well-rounded.
- Cindy Parker, Assistant Professor and Assistant Area Chair of Management
One of my goals as a faculty member and mentor is to help students envision their future. It excites me to expose students to a career path through my courses in Human Resource Management, as most have neither heard of nor considered HR as a viable career option. I am able to use the stories from my prior life as a management consultant to help make the course concepts come alive.
After completing my courses, students have a portfolio of accomplishments to share with prospective employers that prove their skills. This helps to give my students with less real-world work experience an advantage when on the job market. Students have shared with me that they have brought their course work products to job interviews to show evidence of their experience and abilities, and that the work has made an impression on the hiring manager. It is gratifying to keep in touch with many of my former students and follow their career paths over the years, knowing that I played some small role in helping them to find that path.
- Derek Horstmeyer, Assistant Professor of Finance
In my six years at Mason, I have had the pleasure of teaching and interacting with a variety of students in the undergrad and MBA programs. These interactions have spurred incredible collaborative projects, and have challenged me to extend my research in new directions constantly. The Student Managed Investment Fund, and numerous independent study projects with students, lead to several thought provoking ideas on mutual fund and ETF performance, which were eventually published in a monthly data-driven column I write for the Wall Street Journal.
Based on extended topics discussed with several SMIF students, I have also recently teamed up with three of the top undergrad students in this class to produce a paper headed to a practitioner journal on the topic of ESG investing and short sale constraints. In total, the classroom interactions at Mason have been invaluable in extending my research in directions that I would have never foreseen just six years ago.
- Elaine Viccora, Instructor of Business Foundations
I incorporate “Interview Week” into my Developing Your Professional Skills: Advanced Elements (BUS 303) curriculum as students tell me that the experience provides meaningful learning. The 15-minute interviews give students the opportunity to practice multiple professional skills: targeted research, listening, oral communication, persuasion, and business etiquette. To prepare, students select a specific position in their field, tailor their resume, and craft a personalized cover letter.
For some students, this experience is a first – their first job interview, their first time speaking with a professor individually, or their first moment really imagining themselves in a professional role. Students who are uncertain about their language abilities often discover that they are better at one-on-one professional conversations than they ever thought. It’s also a rewarding experience for me, as the interviews give me a window into the world of our students and the richness of their backgrounds and professional ambitions. While “Interview Week” is exhausting, with 150 phone interviews over five days, it is also exhilarating – and my favorite week of the semester.
- Gretchen Hendricks, Instructor of Business Foundations
As a member of the School of Business Foundations Area faculty, I deliver engaging classroom experiences for a range of business contexts with a focus on developing and advancing the professional skills necessary for today’s workplace. By infusing my classroom with contemporary research and a liberal education approach, students find an environment that allows for self-reflection, diverse perspectives, and unlimited possibilities. As a champion of transformative learning experiences, I find myself embedded in many student centered activities such as moderating career exploration panels, serving as faculty advisor to the Society for Collegiate Leadership and Achievement, and an active faculty initiate of the Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity. My close working relationships with students allow me to truly get to know them as unique citizens, learn about their goals, and assist with direct connections to business professionals and opportunities. Ever since I was challenged with the task of developing our advanced professional skills course into an online format, the majority of my research has focused on best practices for design and delivery of online education including approachability and rigor. Regardless of method, my consistent teaching goal is to offer a framework and foundation for student success that builds the contributors and change makers of tomorrow.
- Jeff Kulick, Marketing Instructor
Jeff Kulick began teaching as an adjunct instructor in 2001, and became a full-time instructor in 2006. Prior to joining Mason, he had a career in the consulting and the management and marketing of nonprofit organizations. Kulick has brought those experiences to his academic training and ongoing projects outside of Mason to keep up-to-date for his students. He has done extensive work reviewing publications including case studies, textbooks, and trade publications.
His interest in emerging and different areas of marketing and international marketing have led to leading MBA global residencies, and in spring 2019 a course for Mason’s Global Education Office. He spent one semester teaching at the Mason Korea campus in Songdo, South Korea. He also developed several new courses, and usually teaches six to eight different courses over the course of an academic career.
He has mentored students and helped them into careers and further schooling. Graduates often report how often they use what they learned in his classes. He is currently recognized within the School of Business as a Dean’s Teaching Faculty Fellow. Kulick has twice won the School of Business Outstanding Contribution to Teaching Award, the university’s Teacher of Distinction Award, and the Direct Marketing Association of Washington/Education Foundation O’Hara Leadership Award, as well as other awards for teaching and service.
- Lisa Gring-Pemble, Associate Professor of Business Foundations
Getting students to discover the power of language, craft their vision for the future, and transform that vision into meaningful action motivates every step I take in the field of social impact and enterprise. At the heart of every community collaboration, research project, fundraising request, and educational innovation, is an abiding commitment to student excellence and opportunity. Mason students inspire me every day to do better and to be better. By teaching, collaborating with, and working alongside students and alumni, I hope to make a difference in student lives so that they may make a difference in our collective future.
Since arriving at Mason in 2000, it’s fair to say that I’ve had the pleasure of teaching, mentoring, collaborating with, and working alongside many students, alumni, and community partners. One memorable course is one I designed called Argumentation and Advocacy. This learning community was designed to bring civil rights history and democracy alive for students. The course prepared students for civic responsibilities and equipped them with techniques for effective public argument and advocacy. In addition to visiting committees, hearing oral arguments at the Court, and witnessing representatives and senators debate from the gallery, students also engaged in conversations with Representative John Lewis (D-GA) and Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) about the role of deliberation, ethics, and argumentation in democracy.
Excellence in social impact requires vision, passion, and action. My hope is that this journey I share with students, alumni, faculty, staff, and community partners continues to be marked with a strong sense of purpose and an abiding commitment to meaningful action and lasting impact.
- Lucie Li, Assistant Professor of Information Systems and Operations Management
I joined Mason in 2017 with about 13 years of prior teaching experience. Now with almost two years here at Mason, I enjoy my job and find it full of challenges and inspirations. Mason provides a very diverse and inclusive environment. Mason students seek quality education that shapes their outlook and prepares them for the real world.
In my opinion, college-level learning should be more about independent thinking and problem solving. I like to bring the latest IT news and global business events into class for discussions. In all my classes, students need to identify real-world business problems that they are most interested in and conduct thorough research to develop solutions for it. My undergraduate students present very impressive research findings and technology solutions, which become valuable learning add-on for the entire class.
I try to accommodate all learner types by teaching in different ways with a variety of supporting materials, such as class demonstration, step-by-step instruction handouts, class recordings, etc. In the skills learning process, I emphasize two things: learning by doing and thinking while doing. Hands-on learning keeps students engaged, and a couple of challenges or questions in the hands-on exercises will encourage them to think through issues and understand the process.
- Matthew Cronin, Associate Professor of Management
I work with a class of about a dozen honors students, and each is taking a deep dive into what the value of a management degree is. This is not a quest for an answer, but a voyage to discover a better way to think about the question. Pedagogically, students are learning how to think scientifically – to be able to make claims that are backed up by data. They are also learning how to go beyond the data; insights, inventions, and enlightenment don’t emerge when you believe that the facts speak for themselves. With the judicious application of judgment, students learn to create and apply their better perspective on a management degree. And I get to take that back to improve our curriculum and student experience. It’s a win-win (did I mention I also teach negotiations?).
- Nirup Menon, Professor of Information Systems and Operations Management
Nirup Menon came to Mason after teaching at the University of Arizona, Texas Tech University, the University of Texas at Dallas, and Instituto de Empresa (Madrid). One of his early experiences at Mason was the stark difference between the undergraduate student population and the MBA student population, compared to the previous schools. Undergrads at Mason Business come from much more diverse backgrounds and many ethnicities, some older, and some first generation college students, a challenge and at the same time rewarding teaching experience.
An important part of his Mason experience includes multidisciplinary research with faculty from the College of Health and Human Services and College of Science and undergraduate Students as Scholars. The research examines the role of access to hospital cancer medical technologies in racial disparities in cancer outcomes. Linking tumor level data to diagnosis hospital level data, which includes data on the presence of cancer medical technologies at each hospital and the racial segregation of the population in the neighborhood of a hospital, this research seeks to find relationships between the racial segregation of a neighborhood and the presence of cancer medical technologies, and between the presence of cancer medical technologies, the race of a patient, and the time to treatment following diagnosis. By uncovering the pathways between race and cancer outcomes, he looks forward to making a contribution to society through this research.
- Pallab Sanyal, Associate Professor of Information Systems and Operations Management
With the rapid advances in information and communication technologies, almost all kinds of goods and services are being bought and sold in online markets. In order for these mechanisms to be effective, they need to possess good computational and economic properties, and should also be transparent, and trustworthy. Further, sophisticated markets such as health insurance exchanges often introduce complexities in the decision environment in terms of the cognitive demands put upon users. Thus, in many markets it is becoming increasingly desirable to offer artificial intelligence to human decision makers in order to be successful. My primary research stream has focused on improving the designs and outcomes of complex electronic marketplaces. In another research stream, I am engaged in enhancing the security of digital goods such as mobile apps. As my studies span multiple disciplines, I use theories from economics, computer science, and cognitive psychology, and employ data mining, experimental economics, and survey methodologies.
The vibrant research community at George Mason has offered me a fertile ground to pursue my research goals. I am also a strong believer in the research-teaching nexus, i.e., effective linkages between faculty research and student education. My research informs my teaching, but my teaching informs my research too, primarily through the interactions with my graduate students. In addition, both undergraduate and graduate students at Mason have actively participated in my research projects, e.g., through the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program (URSP).
- Sarah Wittman, Assistant Professor of Management
I study how individuals and organizations understand their boundaries—in terms of identity, values, relationships, and memberships—and how this understanding affects their decision-making. At the individual level, I have examined what I call “lingering identities,” those self-definitions people carry with them across changes in their professional roles. One of the key populations within many MBA and executive development programs, for example, are people who have come to define themselves by technical roles, who have transitioned into management positions, but who manage budgets and subordinates in line with the expectations and mindset from their past. Our job as professors is to help create an environment where such individuals can understand that the skills that got them to where they are may or may not help them as they move forward, in what ways defining themselves by their past roles might be helpful or harmful, and how to best leverage their past learning in their current positions.
In this space, I’m also currently researching leaders’ identity transitions into retirement in order to find ways to foster positive and meaningful transitions out of the workplace; and the experiences of people who take breaks from work (including for caregiving) and how having spent time outside of the work world changes their understanding of work and themselves as organizational resources. My goal is to bring my research to the classroom in a way that impacts students’ understanding of business—and themselves in business—not only for a semester, but for the course of their careers. I see my role as a professor as bringing my theoretical lens and industry work to help students frame their own and classmates’ diverse experiences. In their future work, they will be able to extrapolate from these as they encounter new and different challenges.
- Toni Garcia, Instructor of Information Systems and Operations Management
I came to George Mason University in 2015 having previously taught at Arizona State University for 13 years. My personal mission here at Mason is to give students in the School of Business a real-world experience of modeling solutions to business problems using analytics. In all the classes that I teach, we're on our computers. Students need to learn by doing rather than by watching or just listening. I want to see my students successfully analyze data and make meaningful interpretations of their results. My passion for the process is on display in class, and more often than not, it is contagious. I consider it a success when a student leaves inspired that they might actually want to do analytics in their professional career.
- Wambui Mungai, Assistant Professor of Business Foundations
My journey with George Mason began in 2010 when I stepped into the classroom for the first time to teach the Legal Environment of Business in front of 60 inquiring minds, and nine years later, I am happy to call Mason my teaching home. Over the years, I have been fortunate to make and sustain wonderful relationships with my students and see them succeed in pursuing graduate degrees or professional endeavors. I enjoy teaching at Mason primarily because of the community mindset that is shared between the professors and students, which stimulates collaborative learning in a setting defined by mutual respect. The students at Mason, with their diverse backgrounds, continue to fuel my passion for teaching as I discover their unique learning styles and motivations guiding their education. It is my goal that every time I step into the classroom I contribute to fostering students' confidence in themselves, and promote the acquisition of lifelong learning skills.