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CCU’s Wall College announces 2023 professorships

October 23, 2023

Coastal Carolina University’s E. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business Administration has awarded distinguished impact awards to faculty members who exemplify excellence in teaching, research, and applied engagement. The following impact awards have been awarded for 2023-2024: the Colonel Lindsey H. Vereen Teaching Impact Award to Cari Borisuk; the William J. Baxley Jr. Applied Impact Award to Mitchell Church, Ph.D.; and the James P. and Elizabeth R. Blanton Distinguished Research Award to Blain Pearson, Ph.D.

The Wall College also presented the Ammons Family Endowed Professorship in Free Enterprise to Rob Salvino, Ph.D., and Leann Mischel, Ph.D.; and the James P. and Elizabeth R. Blanton Professorship to Monica Fine, Ph.D., Dennis Wajda, Ph.D., and Sourav Batabyal, Ph.D.

These awards were created to annually recognize professors who positively impact the University community and surrounding areas. The criteria for these awards include publication of original research, demonstration of quality teaching, dedication to service, and appropriate professional and personal conduct; however, each award recognizes a specific area of excellence.

The Vereen Teaching Impact Award was named for the late Col. Lindsey H. Vereen, who was a member of the Coastal business faculty from 1966 to 1977. Vereen was a decorated World War II veteran who earned a master’s degree in industrial management from the University of Pittsburgh. The Vereen Teaching Impact Award recognizes overall impact in the classroom, and, in particular, faculty who demonstrate high-quality teaching performance and can relate real-world business experiences to classroom learning.

Borisuk was appointed Community and Business Engagement (CoBE) Institute director in December 2021. At that time, there were 15 students in the program, and they had completed four projects during that semester. Knowing they were capable of more, she worked to expand the program and client base in terms of both quantity and project variety. In just 12 months, Borisuk grew the CoBE program to 28 students and doubled their projects completed annually to 18, including their first summer project with an international client. Students worked with nonprofits, small businesses, startups, and multimillion-dollar organizations. Under her guidance, the program received its largest ever donation for the students’ work, and hosted its first annual CoBE Classic golf fundraiser. Students in the program are enthusiastic about its direction and value the program structure, letting them rotate across projects and grow into leadership roles with experience and demonstrated performance. They recognize the skills and experience they are gaining, and the confidence the program has developed in them. Borisuk has created an exceptional teaching and learning experience in the CoBE program.

The William J. Baxley Jr. Applied Impact Award was named for the late Col. William Baxley Jr., a longtime CCU business professor and administrator. This award acknowledges overall impact in an applied business setting, including a scholarship that makes a substantial contribution to the application of sound business practices and teaching that relates applied business practices to the classroom environment.

Church mainly teaches statistics and management information systems and has served as chair of the Department of Management and Decision Sciences for the past three years. He teaches his courses with a focus on applied technical skills, incorporating technologies that students will be expected to apply in industry, including the statistical software R, SQL, and Tableau. He moved his statistics class from an Excel-based course to one that incorporates R, the industry standard for analytics and statistical analysis. He added data visualization with Tableau to his information systems class, in addition to the database programming language SQL. He utilizes real-world data in class projects, incorporating assignments on topics such as lung cancer prediction, Etsy shop social media performance, and football player data from EA Sports’ Madden 2023. He brings experts to the classroom to discuss how they use analytics tools in their jobs. He recently invited a CCU data analyst to demonstrate how data visualization is used at CCU and created a class assignment around that discussion. In addition, Church led the effort to develop a business analytics minor in the Wall College, which will launch in Fall 2023. His teaching and curricular efforts are preparing students with a higher level of analytical skillset, which will also benefit their future employers.

Church’s research is in social commerce, and his research output this academic year was exceptional. He published three peer-reviewed journal articles (two A- and one B-ranked), all related to live streaming video gaming and Twitch. This research was featured in an externally focused University-wide publication developed by the provost’s office to improve the national ranking and reputation of CCU. His research, like his teaching, has a strong focus on industry applicability.

The Blanton Distinguished Impact Award was named in honor of the late James P. Blanton, a local businessman, conservationist, legislator, champion of education, and founder of CCU. This award rewards high quality scholarship that enhances the reputation of the college.

Pearson joined the Wall College in Fall 2022, and in his first year at CCU, he published or has forthcoming 13 peer-reviewed publications. This includes four papers published in the industry-focused Journal of Financial Planning. He also gave several academic and professional presentations. Pearson’s expertise is in financial planning and financial literacy; his research focuses on retirement economics and financial well-being. Though too many to list here, his publications include titles such as: “The association between financial literacy confidence and financial satisfaction,” “Financial advice use and saving for children’s college education: A propensity score matching approach,” and “The role of financial advisors in shaping investment beliefs.”

In addition to his research, Pearson is committed to a highly engaged and applied classroom experience in his upper-level finance courses, which include investment analysis and financial analysis. He developed case studies for both courses, in addition to utilizing Harvard cases, and implemented semester-long client projects and engaged students to reinforce learning using tools such as Kahoot and Connect.