Ask almost any dean, business school professor, or admissions director, and they’re quick to profess their school’s commitment to DEI: diversity, equity, and inclusion. Besides expounding on the fairness of having B-school classrooms reflect the diversity of the communities they serve, nearly all will explain how diversity of thought — of learning from and listening to people with viewpoints and backgrounds that are different from your own — better prepares students for increasingly globalized workplaces.
As it turns out, B-schools don’t always practice what they preach. Esther Uduehi, 33, of University of Washington’s Foster School of Business, says only 150 scholars currently employed in pre-tenure faculty positions at U.S. business schools are Black, Latinx, or Indigenous. That’s one of the reasons the assistant professor of marketing and international business co-founded The Tenure Project, a national initiative to increase the number of tenured underrepresented minority faculty at business schools. Washington Foster hosted the project’s inaugural national conference this August with more than 100 junior faculty from schools across the country.
“We all have work to do in this area,” Uduehi, who studies diversity, identity, race, and stigmatization, told Foster Business Magazine this summer. “By increasing the chances that assistant professors of color go up for and receive tenure, we help to diversify our student populations, further academic research by scholars of color, and further support companies’ goals.”
Uduehi joined Foster in 2021. She has a Ph.D. in marketing from The Wharton School; an MSc from Oxford University (where she was a Rhodes Scholar) in nature, science, and environmental policy; and a bachelor’s in mathematics and chemistry from Indiana University.
She is also one of Poets&Quants’ 50 Best Undergraduate Professors of 2022.
PRESENTING P&Q’s BEST UNDERGRADUATE PROFESSORS
Today, we proudly present our fifth edition of P&Q’s 50 Best Undergraduate Business School Professors.
We received more than 500 nominations from students, alumni, colleagues, and school deans taking the time to put into words what these outstanding professors meant to their students, their departments, and the business community at large.
Nominations came from more than 50 of the best undergraduate business programs, including a dozen international schools.
The editorial team at Poets&Quants individually evaluated every nomination. Each professor was assigned a 1-to-10 score based on their research and teaching accolades. Research was given a 30% weight and teaching a 70% weight, with the average making up the final score.
For research, we considered the volume of a professor’s Google Scholar citations, how much major media attention they received along with research and writing awards. For teaching, we considered all nominations, teaching awards, and impacts on their schools and departments.
PROFESSORS FROM 39 SCHOOLS MADE THE LIST
This year’s list features 30 women – the most we’ve ever honored and up from 23 women on our 2021 list. The winners hail from 39 different schools including 11 schools that had more than one professor on the list. The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania had the most winners with three.
Eight schools had two professors on the list including Binghamton University, Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, Purdue School of Management, Singapore Management University’s Lee Kong Chian School of Business, Texas Christian University Neeley School of Business, University of Illinois Gies College of Business, University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School, and University of Washington Foster School of Business.
DIVERSITY IN EXPERTISE, DISCIPLINES, AND BACKGROUNDS
2022’s list of stellar professors come from a wide range of expertise, disciplines, and backgrounds. Our youngest winner, David F. Arena Jr. of the University of Texas at Arlington, is just 29 years old. He studies contemporary diversity and inclusion issues in the workplace, particularly those surrounding stigmatized identity characteristics of employees (such as sexual orientation) or those that may change over time (such as pregnancy status.) He won UTA’s best undergraduate teaching award this spring.
“I think that one of the things that makes me stand out is my empathy for students. A pillar of my teaching philosophy is understanding and acknowledging that students have a variety of things going on with them that extends outside of my classroom,” the assistant professor of management tells P&Q.
“As a general point of practice, I want my students to succeed – something I tell them at every natural chance I get. I make an effort to follow through to enact on this espoused value at every turn, and want to be seen as a resource (not a barrier) for my student’s success.”
Our oldest honoree, Rosa Oppenheim, 73, has taught at Rutgers Business School for half a century. While the vice chair of the Department of Supply Chain Management and self-described Jeopardy junkie is not grateful for the horrors the pandemic has wrought the last three years, she’s relishing the attention it has brought to her field of expertise.
“After decades of being asked, ‘What’s supply chain management?’, it’s nice to now be viewed as part of a ‘cool’ discipline,” she tells Poets&Quants.
When it comes to grading, she thinks her students would describe her as “cruel but fair.” She wears a sweatshirt with the credo to her final exams in homage to Monty Python, and some of her EMBA students created an “Ode to Rosa Oppenheim” song with the lyrics front and center. You can watch it below.
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