MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — There are common threads that run through three West Virginia University’s John Chambers College of Business and Economics faculty members who have been named endowed chairs: a passion for research and using the knowledge generated from their research in the classroom. All three have also created unique, experiential learning opportunities for their students that take them outside the classroom and into the real world.
That sense of purpose and zeal in two different, but related, areas of study have prompted a high level of engagement by their students and a continued demonstration of resourcefulness in taking on the challenges of the business world. As a result, Chambers College leadership worked with Sears Holding Company to reconfigure the company’s support to the college, converting an existing endowed chair into three endowed chairs.
The existing endowed chair was held by Dr. James Brown, who retired last year, and the result of the request was the establishment of two endowed chairs in marketing and one in global supply chain management.
The Chambers College has announced that Dr. Jody Crosno, associate professor of marketing and Ph.D. coordinator in marketing, has been named the Joseph E. Antonini Chair in Marketing; Dr. Annie Peng Cui, associate professor of marketing, has been named the Kmart Chair in Marketing; and Dr. John Saldanha, associate professor in global supply chain management, has been named the Sears Chair in Global Supply Chain Management.
“The approval by the Sears Holding Company for the restructuring of the support provided to the Chambers College shows confidence in the ability of our faculty to continue to elevate their impact in the areas of research, teaching and the student experience in marketing and global supply chain management,” said Javier Reyes, Milan Puskar Dean of the Chambers College. “We are also glad to see that we were able to name one of the new chairs in honor of Joseph Antonini, former CEO of Kmart, an alum of the Chambers College and a member of the Roll of Distinguished Alumni.”
Crosno’s research on the use of governance and control mechanisms in marketing channel relationships provides insights to retailers who manage relationships ranging from a few to hundreds, or even thousands, of suppliers. She is particularly interested in the unintended effects of governance and control.
“Research has found that monitoring a channel partner, for example, may crowd out trust and hinder performance,” Crosno said. “My research aims to gain a better understanding of the conditions under which governance and control are more or less effective.”
Crosno added that the endowment will also benefit doctoral student research productivity, which is key to their future job placement.
Cui’s research and student experiential learning projects have helped West Virginia-based companies develop plans to sell their products globally.
“I strive to make contributions to marketing theory and practice by examining firms’ branding, pricing and international marketing strategies,” said Cui. “These research findings provide insights to help small and medium-sized West Virginian companies tackle challenges in the international marketplace.”
She has also led export marketing classes where students devise strategies for West Virginia manufacturers. Like Crosno, Cui emphasized the importance of doctoral student research. She said working with Ph.D. students to produce high-quality research facilitates doctoral students’ job placement, which, in turn, raises the trajectory of the Chambers College.
Saldanha’s research interests include supply chain uncertainty, prompting him to seek an understanding of how transportation and inventory can jointly address uncertainty, including major disruptions in global supply chains.
“Student experiential learning can benefit from this endowment, too,” Saldanha said. “By engaging more with state agencies, we can address issues of food insecurity and competitiveness as a global leader in energy. Together, we can leverage the diverse expertise across WVU to form multi-disciplinary research teams to pursue national and international funding that would enable us to address some of the major issues facing humanity, such as sustainable food and energy security for the state, nation and world.”
Cui and Crosno both referenced former colleague Dr. Brown, the former Kmart endowed chair who is now retired.
Cui said, “It is a great honor to be selected for the endowed chair, and I am grateful for the support from the Chambers College. I will strive to live up to the standard set by Dr. Brown, the former Kmart Endowed Chair.” Crosno noted, “I am honored to follow in his footsteps and I will strive to continue his tradition of conducting high-quality, impactful research in the area of marketing channels.”
Reyes said, “Drs. Crosno, Cui and Saldanha have all made substantial contributions to the Chambers College, and we look forward to the new opportunities and accomplishments these endowments will help create. It’s a tremendous advantage to have these three highly talented individuals in the positions of endowed chairs, where their outstanding abilities and dedication have even more room to grow.”