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Human resources major works to make difference for transgender employees

by Emily Reise
Human resources major works to make difference for transgender employees

Meghan Owens

Taking a qualitative approach to her study of transgender employees made University of Wisconsin Oshkosh senior Meghan Owen’s research process more personal and real.

Owens, of Waukesha, presented her research at the UWO Honors Research Symposia in early December, just before graduating with a human resources major and a political science minor.

Unlike others, Owens was paired with two advisers for her research project: Barbara Rau from the College of Business and Elizabeth Cannon from the LGBTQ Resource Center. Owens dove into the multi-disciplinary topic of transgender individuals at work, what it is like to transition (the process of changing one’s gender presentation) and how human resource employees can help this process go more smoothly.

She read post after post on an online transgender board about positive and negative experiences transgender individuals had at work. She documented their experiences and organized them into portfolios so she could later analyze them for patterns.

Owens also read all of the literature she could get her hands on that would create a foundation for her project. 

“What really upsets me and drives me to pursue research in this area is how bad it is for transgender people right now, 41 percent of transgender people attempt suicide at least once compared to less than 2 percent of the general population.” Owens explained.  “There were a lot of other shocking statistics like that also that looked at homelessness and poverty.”

These statistics kept Owens on track with to study and make gains for the transgender community.

“I put the statistics on a bulletin board next to my bed and sometimes when I thought this was a lot of work or I didn’t feel like working on it, I remembered why what I am doing is so important. Some people feel like they can’t go on another day, and that is a crime to me,” Owens said.

Through her qualitative research, she distinguished patterns and problem areas that occurred during the transgeneder transition process. From there, she came up with a set of recommendations for human resource (HR) managers and future researchers to further pursue.

“Something that was encouraging is everyone talked about HR as a major advocate for transgender people at organizations. That’s the next step to train people to deal with these situations because they are coming to us for help”.

Owens is planning to incorporate her research into her future endeavors. She recently accepted a position at UW-Madison in the office of the vice chancellor for research and graduate education as a human resource assistant. 

Other student scholars who presented their research at the symposia in December included:

  • Barbara Bass (chemistry major, neurosciences minor), of Homer Glen, Illinois, “The Chemistry of Iontrophoresis and Its Treatment of Breast Cancer.”
  • Amber Bergthold (English major, Spanish minor), of Ripon, “How Culture Has Shaped the Story of Snow White.”
  • Noah Borchardt (biology major), of Verona, “The Effects of Potassium Titanyl Phosphate Laser Treatment of the Vascular Architecture of Rabbit Vocal Folds.”
  • Melani Debish (nursing major), of Menasha, “Screening for Prenatal Substance Abuse.”
  • Tabitha Dorshorst (anthropology and kinesiology majors, neurosciences minor),  of Rudolph, “Frequency Distribution of Individual Traits within and between Populations of Different Ancestry.”
  • Abygail Grasee (nursing major), of Ripon, “Nursing and Patient Care at the End of Life.”
  • Monika Greco (philosophy and political science major), if Milwaukee,“Two Analyses.”
  • Gabrielle Hass (music industry-music business  and recording technology and vocal performance major), of Neenah,“Music Studio.”
  • Jamie Heberer (history major; German minor), of Cedarburg, “Rhetorical Analysis of FDR Fireside Chats and How They Played into the Neutrality Debate.”
  • Lauren Jares (elementary education major, language arts minor), “of Neenah, Educators Work with English Language Learners.”
  • Corissa Mosher (journalism major, political science minor), of Marshall, “Subjectivity and Ecofeminism.”
  • Kayla Newman (psychology major), of Hartford,“Placing Blame: Attributions for Acts of Infidelity and the Influence of Dark Triad Personality Traits.”
  • Clarissa Rueckert (nursing major), of Albany, “Cognitive Load Theory and Nursing Students.”
  • Jesse Schwartz (economics and finance major, German minor), of Neenah, “What Is the Impact on a Major League Baseball Player’s Performance the Year Following a Large Contract Negotiation.”



UW Oshkosh names new College of Business leader

by News Bureau
UW Oshkosh names new College of Business leader

Barbara Rau

Barbara Rau will take over as leader of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh College of Business (COB) on July 1.

Rau, who currently serves as associate dean, was selected as dean following a national search.

“During my 19 years working in our College of Business, I have been humbled by the accomplishments of our faculty, students and staff, and I am honored by the opportunity to serve as their dean,” Rau said. “Thanks to the work of Interim Dean Scott Beyer and our leadership team, the College is poised to pursue new program initiatives, continue its excellent research, and develop innovative ways to teach others what we know about business success. I look forward to working toward these goals by building collaborative relationships across campus, in our community and beyond.”

Rau will take over the COB from Beyer, who is serving as interim dean.

The COB at UW Oshkosh offers both undergraduate and master’s level degrees. The College is made up of six departments, has nearly 50 faculty members and includes several Centers, which help the University connect with and provide resources to the greater community.

In her role Rau will oversee the COB—one of four colleges at UW Oshkosh. The COB has been accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International since 1970. AACSB International is the most prestigious international accrediting body specifically for schools/colleges of business—and a distinction less than 5 percent of the world’s 13,000+ business programs maintain. The COB at UW Oshkosh is the only business program in Northeast and Central Wisconsin offering both undergraduate and graduate degrees accredited by AACSB.

“As a faculty member, department chair and associate dean, Dr. Rau has long been an active leader in terms of promoting academic excellence, fair and transparent personnel practices and thoughtful change,” UW Oshkosh Provost Lane Earns said. “I am confident that as dean of the College of Business, she will employ her collaborative leadership style to usher in an exciting new era for the College, while strengthening ties across campus and with the greater community.”

Rau has been with the COB since 1997—she started as an assistant professor and worked her way through the faculty ranks until she served as department chair from 2013 to 2015 and finally associate dean from 2015 until the present. Prior to her time at UW Oshkosh, she taught at Rutgers University School of Management and Labor Relations at the University of New Jersey.

In addition to numerous presentations at national conferences, Rau has published in academic journals such as Academy of Management and Learning EducationJournal of Human Resources Education and Personnel Psychology. Rau also has served for several years on the Editorial Review Board of the Academy of Management Journal. Her interests include salary negotiations, recruitment, employee relations and work/life balance.

Beyond her role at UW Oshkosh, Rau has been a member of the Academy of Management, the Industrial Relations Research Association and the Society for Human Resources Management since 1990. She has also been involved with the Oshkosh Society for Human Resource Management since 2011.

Rau earned doctorate and master’s degrees from the UW-Madison Industrial Relations Research Institute, specializing in personnel and organizational behavior, and a bachelor’s degree in economics from UW-Madison.

As the first female dean to lead the COB, Rau will join an elite group of women who comprise less than 20 percent of business deans across the country.

College of Business undergrad program director earns prestigious awards

by Daniele Frechette
College of Business undergrad program director earns prestigious awards

Jessie Pondell

Jessie Pondell is motivated by student success in the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh College of Business (COB), which is fitting that her area of expertise is experiential education and professional development.

“I see my role as providing guidance and opportunities for students to learn outside the classroom. I focus on professional development activities like interview prep, dining etiquette, company tours, professional networking, and internships,” Pondell, director of the COB undergrad program said.

Pondell’s career at UW Oshkosh started in 2007 as internship director for the COB. In 2015, she moved into the director position of the undergrad program. As director, she has been recognized for having two National Interns of the Year through the Cooperative Education and Internship Association as well as having her internship program named as a Best Practice by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International).

The award winning and accolades don’t stop there, Pondell recently earned two awards from the Wisconsin Association of Colleges and Employers, Inc. (WI-ACE). She won the 2016 Appreciation Award, which was given to her for time served on the board of directors for the organization. She also won the 2016 President’s Award, given to one member of the organization each year by the acting president for exemplary service. This is Pondell’s second time winning the prestigious President’s award. She previously won it in 2014.

Pondell feels her WI-ACE involvement has been a wonderful learning experience and a great professional resource.

“This organization has provided me two things—an excellent venue to exchange student professional development best practices and to build genuine relationships with college relations personnel from top Wisconsin companies. This gives me the opportunity to personally refer students and pass on critical information directly from the companies during the hiring process,” Pondell said.

As part of her current responsibilities, Pondell works closely with the Business Scholars Program, a recruitment and retention initiative that attracts high-achieving students to the COB. The program is in its fifth year and continues to morph and grow by offering students access to professional development skills they won’t find anywhere else.

“I’m really proud of the COB professional development path. We are the only COB in the Midwest and beyond that both holds AACSB accreditation and has a professional development path that requires an internship for every student before they graduate. More than half of our students receive full-time job offers from their internship sites,” Pondell said.

Some of Pondell’s other responsibilities that highlight her passion for student success include: working with organizations on ways to partner with the COB, executing the annual College to Career Conference and continually assessing and improving the professional development path in the COB.

UW Oshkosh economics professor’s electronic textbook saves big bucks for students

by Laurie Schlosser
UW Oshkosh economics professor’s electronic textbook saves big bucks for students

M. Ryan Haley

A University of Wisconsin Oshkosh professor who recalls his own days in line at the college bookstore created an electronic textbook that already has saved as much as $1 million in student book costs.

M. Ryan Haley, in 2009, received a Federal Department of Education grant to write a core concepts electronic textbook for economic and business statistics.

The textbook, The Core Concepts of Economic and Business Statistics, was first used in the UW Oshkosh economics department in Fall 2010 and remains in use today. Instead of needing to spend $200-$300 on a book, it has been free to students in a 2.2 MB pdf version and $18 if printed on campus at Copy This! in a 278-page spiral-bound option. The price covers the Copy This! costs.

“Over the last few years, we’re probably approaching 3,800 to 3,900 students who have been in classes that have used this book,” said Chad Cotti, economics department chair.

The standard hardcover book that previously was used currently sells for $280 new. Multiplying $250 by 4,000 students means as much as $1 million saved, though this figure would be somewhat lower if used versions of the text had been available to all students.

“By the end of this year (a sum of) $800,000 to $1 million will be saved by students because Ryan took on this project,” Cotti concluded, adding that each year the book is used, more savings are generated.

The textbook creation process was funded by a $290,000 federal grant. The project involved more than 30 faculty members, staff, students and external reviewers.

The savings to students now far exceed the cost of development.

“Here was an investment in Ryan,” Cotti said, “that led to large savings for students.”

The project was a true win-win, in that students are saving money and soaking up the information. Haley emphasized that the book is concise and has plenty of real-life examples. It is designed to be easily readable.

Haley, in the opening chapter, points out that many statements people make in life have statistical undertones.

“Phrases like ‘the Packers are probably going to win’ or ‘there’s no way you can dunk a basketball’ or ‘I’m just not sure that this romantic relationship is what I really want,’” he said, “exemplify the skepticism of the human mind and its built-in thirst for information that can help make decisions. You have reasons for believing that the Packers might lose; you judge anyone who claims they can dunk a basketball by their height and apparent athleticism; and the words and actions of your partner as well as feedback from your friends and family help you determine the viability of a relationship. The process of collecting and leveraging information is inextricably intertwined with decisions we face in our personal and professional lives.”

Haley said statistics is about the process of “seeking out, organizing and distilling” information relevant to a decision. Economic and business statistics utilize math-based tools that allow professionals to make judgement calls on such decisions as raising or lowering price or whether a widened-highway is warranted, among countless other examples.

The statistics problems included within the book’s chapters were devised by members of departments within the UW Oshkosh College of Business–people the students will be taking classes from later in their major(s). Questions discuss how statistics are used in life and career decisions. Economics and business students are able to get ideas about how they’ll use statistics when they get into classes pertaining to their declared major of study.

Unlike many standard textbooks, the answers have relatively thorough explanations. And students benefit from numerous hyperlinks contained in the book created with the LaTeX software program – a free and very powerful word-processing program often used in math-based disciplines.

“LaTeX is particularly useful for managing large-scale documents, especially when many figures and math expressions are necessary,” Haley said.

Questions relate to local and regional areas of interest.

“A lot of economic and business professors consult in the Fox Valley and they bring some of their experiences into the book,” Haley said. “If we can tighten those connections (with potential employers) the students have an increased advantage when seeking internships and jobs.”

There is pre- and post-test analysis done about knowledge accumulated before and after the book was used.

“This book was giving better outcomes—even as compared to the traditional textbook,” Haley said. “It really worked better than I would have imagined. We generated excellent costs savings and better learning outcomes for students.”

Haley emphasized that there are “zero royalties” coming into his hands or to the department because of the book.

“We get nothing,” he said. “I received a federal grant to create it.”

There are about eight versions of the book: one for each of the professors who has taught the class. Each has had the ability to fine-tune the book to their preference and electronically arrange it in the section and chapter order they desire, or even include sections of their own.

Students who keep the free electronic version or pay the $18 for a spiral-bound print version, are able to use the book in higher-level courses or in their careers. Haley estimates there have been about 10 instances in which former students contacted him about re-emailing the book–and he’s happy to do so.

“These are the type of things we need to be louder about,” Haley said. “The economic and business statistics book worked out really well. That said, there are other ways to lower textbook costs without harming learning outcomes; different approaches may work better in different courses. This worked well in our case, and has promise in selected other areas.”

Renting option can bring textbook costs down

It used to be that students would need to decide whether to purchase new books or used books, but now there are some additional options: to rent new or used; or to purchase online versions.

Kathy Kaltenbach, UW Oshkosh bookstore director, said updates to their systems are allowing them to look at more book titles for rent.

“If students rent, it’s a significant difference in pricing,” she said, noting rental prices are about 60 percent of the cost of a new book. In the bookstore, an economics book that costs $206 to purchase new, may be rented for $123.75.

Kaltenbach said the bookstore has increased its rental options from about 15 titles to around 100.

“Those titles equaled over 2,700 books that were rented for fall semester,” she said. “This was a cumulative cost saving for our students of approximately $100,000, as compared to if they would have had to purchase them.”

The downside of renting, though, is the inability to highlight or mark the text or keep it for future reference.

Kaltenbach said she believes a group of people with mixed interests in textbooks, will come together –perhaps the first part of the second semester–to discuss options and ways to keep costs down.

“We’re doing everything that is most economical for the students,” she said. “We understand how expensive it is for students to attend college. We’re totally mindful of that.”

COB professor researching scholarly productivity on educational research

by Kayde Kempen
COB professor researching scholarly productivity on educational research

J. Ben Arbaugh

Ben Arbaugh, chair of the management and human resources department at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh College of Business wears many hats.

He’s a distinguished professor of management, founding member of the Society of Business and Management Education Researchers and associate editor of Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education. He also researches scholarly productivity on educational research in business schools.

“It’s a lot of archival work … collecting data on articles published in journals in the last 10 years, looking at the author and institution composition, author’s scholarly profile, determining scholarly profiles of respected journals and examining them for content that is educational research related,” Arbaugh said. “Then I examine institutional websites to get a good idea of the size of a university’s business school faculty to see what percentage of them are involved with educational research.”

Arbaugh, who has a doctorate in business strategy from The Ohio State University, a master’s in business administration from Wright State and a bachelor’s of business administration from Marshall University, said he is intrigued by studying educational research in business schools.

“Self-interest initially drove my research, and the idea of discovery,” Arbaugh said. “My own goal is to attract more scholars to this line of inquiry. The second is to change the narrative that is going on in business schools.”

Educational research should drive the development and implementation of curriculum, something he said UWO’s College of Business has been relatively active in.

“That puts schools that engage in educational research to have the narrative to tell external audiences how we develop curriculum effectively,” Arbaugh said. “Why would you not want to send your children, employers, etc. to an institution that is invested in making sure students learn most effectively.”

UW Oshkosh’s College of Business has three departments ranked in the top 50 for educational research. The management and human resources department is No. 1 and both information systems and economics are in the top 50.

In the executive MBA classes Arbaugh teaches, he talks with his students about being better consumers of business literature and they discuss his research.

“Good research is expensive both in terms of time and money,” Arbaugh said. “Without it, we run the risk of having people make less than fully informed decisions about how they go about doing things.”

MBA Student, Karen Landay, Accepted Into Doctoral Program

Karen Landay, UW Oshkosh MBA student and Graduate Assistant in the College of Business, has proven that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. The life of an MBA student is very demanding, but Karen has taken advantage of additional opportunities she’s encountered and is currently preparing for graduation and all the future has to hold.


Karen presented the paper “Dynamics of Innovative Solutions Emergence: The Role of Symbols” at the Southern Management Associate 2015 meeting in St. Pete Beach, Florida. This paper won the Best Track Paper award in the Entrepreneurship/Innovation category. Karen presented along with co-authors Ivana Milosevic, Ph.D., UW Oshkosh Assistant Professor, Mary Uhl-Bien, Texas Christian University, and A. Erin Bass, University of Nebraska Omaha. Karen was also the sole author of “Lost Candidates: Towards an Understanding of Job Seeker Self-Selection” which she presented at the Midwest Academy of Management 2015 conference held in Columbus, OH.


“I am incredibly lucky in my mentors and experiences. Without the support of many members of the UW Oshkosh faculty, I would not be in my current position,” explained Karen. “The combination of all of my experiences to date has resulted in me being much more prepared for the rigors of a PhD program. Conducting my own research and assisting with that of others is exactly the type of work that will be expected of me in my doctoral program, and having experienced a taste of it during my master's will help me greatly.”


Karen successfully defended her thesis “Recruitment Process Outsourcing: One Size Fits All? Firm Reputation and Recruiter Competence Effects” on February 17, 2016 and is expected to graduate with her Master of Business Administration in May 2016. She will also be inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma, an honor society recognizing business excellence.


Karen explained she has been accepted to the University of Alabama doctoral program and has been awarded the Graduate Council Fellowship. She plans to continue her education in business management and hopes to one day become a professor.


“Earning my PhD and becoming a professor will allow me to spend the rest of my life learning, discovering new knowledge, and sharing that through publications, collaboration with colleagues, and of course my students in the classroom,” said Karen. “Being a professor will allow me the ultimate freedom of learning.”

Viessmann - UW Oshkosh leadership development program concludes

The third year of the Viessmann - UW Oshkosh Leadership Development Program concluded with a celebration and luncheon on Thursday, July 16.

20 leaders from the Viessmann Group out of five different countries attended a Leadership Development Program at UW Oshkosh. The group was tasked with presenting a final presentation centered around "Smart Globalization: The Viessmann Project." Read more here. 

Chancellor's Award for Excellence

Two Business Students who exemplify high academic and leadership qualities as well as a deep commitment to serving others have been announced as recipients of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence.

The criteria for this award include academic performance, University-related service and community involvement. Both Angela Dusenberry and Jesse Waldvogel have a strong record of leadership and service throughout campus and the community. They also have have strived to make a difference in the lives of others. Congratulations for earning this amazing achievement!

Angela studies international economics, minors in business and french, is an accounting analyst intern, a committee member of the University Speaker Series, and president of the UW Oshkosh American Red Cross Club.

Jessie is a double major in finance and economics with an emphasis in business analytics. He services as a financial analyst intern, is in the Student-Managed Endowment Fund program, and is a volunteer teacher for Junior Achievement of Wisconsin.

We are so proud. Congratulations once again!

Joseph Mann named FEI "Outstanding Student"

The Finance and Business Law Department has selected Joseph Mann as the Financial Executives Institute (FEI) "Outstanding Student".

Joseph is a senior undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh majoring in Finance.  His hometown is Mount Calvary, WI – a small town on the east side of the state.  Over the past year, he gained interest in investments and valuation after being involved in two courses – Student Managed Endowment Fund and Security Analysis.

In his spare time, Joseph enjoys volunteering, being outdoors, playing and watching sports, and spending time with his family and friends.

Joe is the kind of student that other finance majors should aspire to become. He began his undergraduate studies at MSOE (Milwaukee School of Engineering) but transferred to UW Oshkosh. According to his professors, Joe excels in his classes. He also has done phenomenal in the SMEF program and Steve Huffman, who officially nominated Joe for the award, can attest to that.

Joe has been actively recruited to join the CFA Investment Research Challenge team. The CFA Investment Research Challenge is a competition where student must create an original research report (which is graded by professionals with the CFA designation) for a publicly traded company (this year's company was Rockwell Automation) and then present their results to a panel of judges (who also have the CFA designation).

Joe also was part of this year's CFA Investment Research Challenge team that finished second to a Madison team fielding five graduate students (UW Oshkosh's team fielded five undergraduate students).

Congratulations, Joe!

Professor Hagen's Publication in the "Journal of Taxation"

Professor Will Hagen is frequently cited for his numerous publications in a variety of prestigious journals. His most recent publication, "The Tax Court's Arbitrary Determination of the Value of Facade Easement Contributions," appears in the October edition of the "Journal of Taxation."

UW Oshkosh College of Business Professor Will Hagen has quite the list of credible citations of his publications! Prestigious schools such as Yale, Harvard, Florida State University to name a few, have cited Dr. Hagen's works. HIs most recent publication, "The Tax Court's Arbitrary Determination of the Value of Facade Easement Contributions," appears in the October edition of the Journal of TaxationThe article is about taxpayers' deduction of donations to charitable organizations and the regulations and procedures involved with those deductions. Read the entire article here.