Faculty Duo Receive Fritz Roethlisberger Memorial Award
Date published: August 23, 2017
Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business faculty members Richard Miller, DBA, and
Rosemary Maellaro, Ph.D., were recently awarded the Fritz Roethlisberger Memorial
Award for their research article “Getting to the Root of the Problem in Experiential Learning: Using Problem Solving
and Collective Reflection to Improve Learning Outcomes.”
This award commemorates the legacy of 20th century social scientist and management
theorist Fritz Roethlisberger and is granted each year to the author(s) judged to
have contributed the best paper on teaching and learning in the organizational and
management sciences published in the Journal of Management Education.
Drs. Miller and Maellaro’s research explores the impact of the experiential learning
cycle — or learning through reflection on doing — on management education and combines
academic and industry tools to help educators increase the depth of student learning.
Dr. Miller, an expert in operations, was able to combine his insights with Dr. Maellaro’s
more than 20 years of leadership and organization development experience. The result
was a cross-disciplinary study that paved the way for an enhanced experiential learning
model and became one of the top-read articles from the Journal of Management Education.
The inception of the research occurred in 2012 at a faculty research discussion where
Dr. Miller was presenting some of his initial findings on experiential learning to
his colleagues, including Dr. Maellaro, at the University of Dallas. Despite working
only a few doors away from each other in SB Hall, Drs. Miller and Maellaro were unaware
of just how similar their research specialties really were.
“While listening to Dr. Miller’s presentation, I realized that we were both working
on similar things, just calling them by a different name,” recalled Dr. Maellaro.
This research is groundbreaking in the field for its ability to link two areas of
business not commonly studied together: operations, which is very analytical, and
organization development, which is much more qualitative in nature. While Drs. Miller
and Maellaro have very different professional backgrounds, once they discovered their
shared interests, the colleagues realized the research could be strengthened by working
“Oftentimes we’re a lot more alike than we realize,” added Dr. Miller. “This really
shows the collaboration of the college and our research philosophy — even across fields
as different as operations management and leadership.”
In fact, the unique approach of their research has been one of the major keys to its
success. The awards committee applauded the paper’s innovation “in its combination
of tools used in different functions more common in industry than in education.” The
committee also noted that the paper “offers readers the potential of a significant
learning depth for students in terms of critical thinking.”
Since receiving this award, the circulation of this article has increased dramatically
and has received praise across the academic community.
“This research has made us better educators,” said Dr. Maellaro. “I now have greater
confidence in my teaching process and philosophy because of this research — I know
that it works. It cemented my confidence in the process.”
“We were both doing this research for the goal of increasing our students’ learning,”
agreed Drs. Miller and Maellaro. “Receiving this award is validation that what we
do in the classroom has a positive and meaningful impact on them.”
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