Whitman Voices

Introduction

Faculty Stay Connected to Whitman Community by Sharing Expertise, Collaborating Through Virtual Formats

Faculty Stay Connected to Whitman Community by Sharing Expertise, Collaborating Through Virtual Formats

Hands typing on laptop

Faculty Stay Connected to Whitman Community by Sharing Expertise, Collaborating Through Virtual Formats

When the 2020 spring semester transitioned online, the School began bringing instruction online but also wanted to find ways to ensure that faculty, students, alumni, staff and friends could maintain interactions beyond online learning. Following a successful virtual Whitman Day Town Hall hosted by Dean Eugene Anderson in April, staff and faculty saw virtual programming as an opportunity to leverage the school’s core values of innovation, collaboration and excellence to stay connected.

“In a blink, we were all but cut off from one another due to the pandemic. As we considered what our community might want and need, human connection — even virtual — seemed obvious, so we planned the town hall in April as an opportunity to come together,” says Alison Kessler, director of alumni engagement. “As the quarantine continued, it seemed that people simply craved distraction. We knew we could also offer knowledge, so that’s what we set out to do.”

Given the expertise of many Whitman professors on issues that were impacting communities across the globe, faculty discussions and panels were an obvious offering. The programming also led the way for collaboration with faculty from other schools and colleges on campus, as well as the inclusion of alumni and industry professionals.

Keeping the Whitman Community Engaged

Over the summer months, faculty members were able to virtually showcase their knowledge and the pandemic’s impact on supply chain, the economy and the retail industry. During the fall semester, additional topics included brand activism, working from home and entrepreneurship.

Screen shot of the Covid-19 and supply chain webinar

One such event was led by Patrick Penfield, professor of supply chain management practice and director of executive education, who virtually presented COVID-19 and Supply Chain to the Whitman community to discuss how the pandemic shifted the global supply chain in just a matter of months.

“It’s vitally important,” says Penfield of continuing to foster learning and conversation through virtual platforms. “We need to learn and grow and should never stop regardless of these situations. There is so much going on in today’s world, and we need to continue to be lifelong learners in all situations.”

Screen shot of the webinar Perspectives on retail in the wake of covid-19

A similar event was related to retail, an industry that has been hit hard by the pandemic with store closings and bankruptcies. Moderated by Julie Niederhoff, associate professor of supply chain management, the Whitman School hosted Perspective of Retail in the Wake of COVID-19, a virtual forum featuring Ray Wimer, professor of retail practice; Guiyang Xiong, associate professor of marketing; and Lizanne Kindler, CEO of Talbots and a member of the Whitman Advisory Council.

“Discussing this topic with a retail industry leader like Lizanne Kindler, as well as our own academic experts, was a great opportunity to reflect on where we were in that moment and what we expected to change into the near future,” says Niederhoff. “Sharing that discussion with our alumni and students was a unique and valuable experience.

“You can’t go a day without hearing a story of the effect this year has had on businesses, consumers and workers,” she adds. “It’s an important time and relates to so many things we teach.”

Screen shot from the webinar Economic impact of Covid-19

Collaboration Goes Virtual, Too

Another innovative move was showcased by a collaboration between Whitman finance faculty and faculty from the University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. These experts came together to host the Economic Impact of COVID-19, a virtual forum that included panelist Mary Lovely, professor of economics and Melvin A. Eggers Economic Faculty Scholar at the Maxwell School; along with Whitman faculty members Erasmo Giambona, professor of finance and Falcone Chair in Real Estate; and David Weinbaum, professor of finance and Harris Fellow. The forum was moderated by the Maxwell School’s Andrew London, associate dean and professor of sociology.

Students, alumni and other members of the University community were invited to hear the panelists share their collaborative expertise on the macroeconomy and discuss inflation expectations and market volatility.

“Cross-campus collaboration is an ongoing point of emphasis for Whitman,” says Kessler. “A collaboration with Maxwell was a natural fit to offer the audience perspectives from professors in both the finance and economics disciplines. As we continue to plan these virtual offerings, we will collaborate with our colleagues at other Syracuse University schools and colleges whenever appropriate.”

Keeping the Connection Strong

Whitman has leveraged the school’s core values of innovation, collabo-ration and excellence by offering the knowledge of faculty on trending topics to stay connected with and remain relevant to its many audiences. Kessler sees this as an opportunity out of the challenge.

“Our goal is that these ongoing virtual faculty forums not only provide our community members with information applicable to their lives but also maintain a connection and instill a sense of pride in their association with Whitman,” says Kessler. “While we all hope the time for in-person conversations is not far away, our faculty has proven that virtual events can provide a meaningful connective platform.”

Webinars and Virtual Conversations:

Supply Chain Stress: How COVID-19 Impacts the Items You Buy

Presented by:
Patrick Penfield, professor of supply chain practice

Economic Impact of COVID-19

Moderator:
Andrew London, professor of sociology (Maxwell)

Panelists:
Mary Lovely, professor of economics (Maxwell)
Erasmo Giambona, professor of finance
David Weinbaum, professor of finance

Experts Explore Changes in Retail in the Wake of COVID-10

Moderator:
Julie Niederhoff, associate professor of supply chain management

Panelists:
Lizanne Kindler, CEO of Talbots and a member of the Whitman Advisory Council
Ray Wimer, professor of retail practice
Guiyang Xiong, associate professor of marketing

Brand Activism: The Intersection of Social Movements and Marketing

Moderator:
Eunkyu Lee, associate dean for global initiatives and professor of marketing

Panelists:
Tracy Barash ’89, vice president of marketing for Turner Sports Media and a member of the Whitman Advisory Council
Scott Lathrop, professor of marketing practice
Eunkyu Lee, associate dean for global initiatives and professor of marketing

 

All the Lonely People: Loneliness in Individuals, Organizations and Society

Moderator/Panelist:
Lynne Vincent, assistant professor of management

Panelists:
Joel Carnevale, assistant professor of management
Charisse L’Pree, associate professor of communications (Newhouse)

Entrepreneurship in Time of Crisis

Moderator/Panelist:
Maria Minniti, Institute for an Entrepreneurial Society (IES) director and Bantle Chair in Entrepreneurship and Public Policy

Panelists:
Roger Koppl, professor of finance
David Lucas, assistant professor of entrepreneurship
Zach Rodriguez, postdoctoral fellow with the Department of Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises

Karley Warden