“We are very grateful to Mark Zurack ’78 and Kathy Ferguson for funding the position. It has really helped us recruit a world-class faculty member.”
When Kristian Rydqvist joined Binghamton University in 2002, he was determined to put the School of Management in the spotlight. Rydqvist is the Zurack Professor of Finance and Economics, an endowed professorship established through a gift from the Mark A. Zurack and Kathy Ferguson Foundation. Rydqvist was appointed to the professorship after five years at the Norwegian School of Management in Oslo.Read More/Hide Text
One of the first things Rydqvist did at Binghamton was establish a seminar series to build the University’s national and international reputation for excellence.
He noticed that top business schools have seminars to share ideas among scholars, but tend to invite only one another. By asking speakers from other schools to present their research at Binghamton, he figured those schools would then reciprocate and invite Binghamton faculty to make presentations at their events. It worked.
Fast-forward 10 years. Binghamton’s Briloff Seminar Series (formerly the TIAA-CREF Seminar Series) has featured more than 100 invited speakers who are affiliated with some big names: Cornell University, Columbia University, Stanford University and the University of California, Los Angeles.
The series also provides an opportunity for Binghamton’s own faculty to make presentations, on average, once a year, Rydqvist says.
Briloff Seminar topics have included “Decoding Inside Information” and “Pension Plan Returns and the Firm’s Cost of Debt,” as well as Rydqvist’s own “Direct Evidence on Dividend Tax Clienteles.”
Binghamton finance faculty members have been invited to present their work at other academic institutions, too — specifically, on 19 different occasions since 2002.
“The list of outside invitations may appear short in a 10-year period,” Rydqvist says, “but the competition for outside seminar slots is tough.”
Binghamton is given at least one presentation slot and one discussion slot, with priority offered to junior faculty who are less likely to be invited to make presentations at other universities, according to Rydqvist.
School of Management Dean Upinder Dhillon says Rydqvist’s presence at Binghamton has “really elevated the finance area and provided us greater visibility.”
The Zurack Professor has been engaged in several projects that include state-of-the-art research in the finance field, particularly in taxation and corporate finance, Dhillon notes.
“We are very grateful to Mark Zurack ’78 and Kathy Ferguson for funding the position,” Dhillon says. “It has really helped us recruit a world-class faculty member.”
Rydqvist’s work to build Binghamton’s name recognition around the world is far from done.
“Further appearances at international academic conferences will improve the visibility of our school,” he says.
Educating women about heart attacks could save lives.
Professor Pamela Stewart Fahs educates women, particularly in rural communities, about female heart attack symptoms. It’s information that could save their lives.
“Too often, women who are having a heart attack don’t recognize the symptoms,” says Stewart Fahs, also Decker Endowed Chair in Rural Nursing. “They may have a different perception of what a heart attack would be like or they just think, ‘This can’t be happening to me.’”
That’s where the Matters of Your Heart project comes in.
As part of the project, Stewart Fahs, together with Melanie Kalman and Margaret Wells (PhD ’07, rural nursing), professors in the College of Nursing at SUNY Upstate Medical University, developed an educational program to help women in rural and urban communities recognize signs of a heart attack, thus shortening the time to treatment and saving lives.
The researchers have developed and administered a questionnaire to measure a woman’s knowledge of heart attack symptoms and warning signs. Then they’ve presented the informational program and given the questionnaire again, collecting data on how much knowledge is retained.
They found that women were more knowledgeable after the educational program. Currently, they are exploring whether one way of presenting the information, using acronyms, works better than just providing a list of symptoms.
Women can experience a range of symptoms that may not necessarily include the same kind of chest pains that men can report feeling. Some of these symptoms can include chest ache or discomfort, as well as extreme, unusual fatigue, the cause for which cannot easily be explained, Stewart Fahs says.
“It is essential to identify female heart attack symptoms as soon as possible since quick treatment can not only prevent death but also prevent or limit the extreme disability that can occur if the heart muscle is damaged,” Stewart Fahs says.
Her faculty endowment is supported by Binghamton University Foundation funds. She also is co-recipient with Kalman and Wells of a grant from the Rural Nurse Organization to teach women about female heart attack symptoms.
Stewart Fahs notes that in rural communities, fewer people are exposed to these health messages because of several factors: lack of healthcare services available close to home, less Internet access and lack of messaging on displays such as billboards or in information specific to rural women.
Courses foster collaboration with faculty and students at universities in Africa.
Since its inception in 2007, the Lois B. DeFleur International Innovation Fund has provided support to faculty members to enhance research and teaching, and connect Binghamton University with the global community.
With support from the DeFleur Fund, Binghamton faculty members have made their research stepping- stones to establishing and strengthening the University’s partnerships with other faculty and students at universities in southern Africa. The professors traveled there this past spring and summer as part of separate initiatives, taking groups of Binghamton students with them.
Josephine Allen, a professor of social work, and Brian Flynn, director of admissions and student services in the Department of Social Work, took 12 Binghamton graduate and undergraduate students on a three-week trip to South Africa this past summer.
The goal of the Destination South Africa course was to learn from and work with faculty and students at the University of the Free State in South Africa and to participate in a Global Leadership Summit.
The course included an introduction to historical and contemporary South Africa; tours of major institutions and historic sites in Johannesburg, Bloemfontein, Cape Town and smaller communities; and participation in the global leadership summit. The summit included faculty, staff and students from universities in Belgium, the Netherlands, Japan and 14 universities from the United States.
Allen’s research has focused on the transformation of the University of the Free State, a former apartheid university, and the changes that are ongoing. Major issues that she’s explored include social justice, race, gender, class, discrimination and inequality.
She’s learning more about how societies transition from being “very segregated” to becoming more inclusive, recalling her own experiences growing up in Atlanta, where she attended segregated elementary and high schools.
Support from the DeFleur Fund provided “an opportunity to look at these issues in a different context, not just in the U.S.,” she says.
Change, she’s learned, is “agonizingly slow” — especially for the people experiencing it.
Allen also was a Fulbright Scholar in South Africa at the University of the Free State and Fort Hare University in 2008. That award was extended in 2009.
Norah Henry, an associate professor and chair of the Department of Geography, and her group of faculty and students also ventured to southern Africa, but to work with the University of Botswana.
The Study in Botswana program, this past May and June, was open to students of all majors. It featured five weeks of study in the United States, followed by a 31⁄2-week trip to locations in Botswana and South Africa.
There, 14 students from Binghamton and four students from the University of Botswana took comparative classes together that focused on urbanization and health issues. They were team-taught courses by Binghamton and Botswana faculty. Field trips and site visits to a squatter settlement, the Kalahari Desert and a rhinoceros sanctuary gave the students firsthand experience with what they were studying.
“Many of the same problems they’re facing with their urban growth, we faced in the 1800s and 1900s with our urban growth explosion,” Henry explains. “Large influxes of population need services.”
The DeFleur Fund provided critical seed money to begin the initiative. “Without it, this would not have happened,” Henry says.
Talk of establishing a Binghamton-Botswana program began years earlier, Henry says, when Thando Gwebu, a professor at the University of Botswana, served as a visiting scholar at Binghamton. Gwebu also knew Henry and John Frazier, SUNY distinguished service professor and graduate director in geography, from their time together in graduate school at Kent State University.
Binghamton geography Professor Florence Margai and Associate Professor and Undergraduate Director Mark Reisinger also accompanied the group to Botswana.
Plans are under way for another trip there in 2013.